What? Right even more during NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days? Are you crazy?
Actually, many people blog their NaNoWriMo experience on their blogs. Some even publish their daily writing on their site for their fans and community.
So many people are worried about sharing their novel idea or plot, it becomes almost a paranoia. Relax. There is much you can share without giving the whole thing away.
The fun of sharing your NaNoWriMo experience every day on your blog means you are part of a community. You are sharing your experience, the struggles, challenges, joys, discoveries, and lessons and techniques learned that might help others.
Here are some tips to help you cope if you choose to blog your NaNoWriMo experience.
Share The Journey
No matter what, share the journey.
We love learning how you got there, the good, the bad, the ugly. By sharing your journey with others, they will hopefully learn from your mistakes, but also feel inspired by how you overcame the challenges of writing 1,677 words a day for 30 days.
Just as you would jot down a description of your day in a journal, take 10 minutes at the end of the day or after you’ve completed your NaNoWriMo writing for the day, and consider the journey.
Was the writing easy today? Why? Was it a challenge, the intimidation of the blank screen getting to you? What happened? What made a difference?
Did someone say something or give you words of encouragement that impacted your attitude about your writing and your story?
Define the obstacles. What got in your way today? Was it family? Friends? Work? Illness? Or the story itself? The clearer you are in defining them, the faster you can prevent such interference going forward…sometimes. At the very least, by sharing, others may commiserate with you.
Find a new trick, tip, or technique? Share it and explain how it helps.
Let your readers and community know how you are doing so they are taking each step of the journey with you.
Crowd Source Your Stucks
“I hate my stucks,” a writer complained to me. “The stucks suck.”
We all get stuck when writing. Sometimes it is as simple as knowing the word but not finding it in your brain, or coming up with a great plot twist but it may require you learning about something you know little or nothing about.
Or there are those times when the characters aren’t talking to each other nor you, and you have stuck them into a situation you know not how to escape.
Share your stucks. Let your readers know if you get stuck and ask them how to get out of it. You don’t have to take their advice, but sometimes crowd sourcing the stucks breaks the damn, freeing your characters and your writing.
Seek a Kick in the Ass
A writer who does NaNoWriMo every year tells me that she the one year she didn’t blog her NaNoWriMo experience was the worst year for her writing. “I couldn’t get started, nor finish what I started. I needed a daily kick in the ass.”
When you blog your NaNoWriMo experience, other participants often find you and they will cheer you on when they detect you dragging, as you may for them. That’s why the meetups and social events in and around NaNoWriMo are so good for many people.
By being surrounded by determined folks who have been there, done that, wrote the writing, they know what it is like and they will lovingly kick you in the writing ass and keep you on track when you need it.
Or you can ask for it.
In “How to Shake Off Writer’s Fatigue” on the NaNoWriMo site, they recommend:
For the first few days, showing up to write every day is easy. The shiny factor hasn’t worn off yet, and the excitement over your story is almost palpable.
Then there are the other days, where the drive to write isn’t there. Adding words to your story feels like getting out of a warm, blanket-filled bed into a cold world: you don’t always want to do it, but it’s step one toward the journey ahead. Maybe you’ve written your characters into a corner with no ideas on getting them out. Or maybe you’re bored of your story but still have thousands of words to write before reaching the magical 50K…
We all go through it. There are the NaNoWriMo forums where you can find other participants to support and cheer you on, and you can blog about it and instantly feel better.
At least you wrote something in your blog. Does that count toward your daily word count? It might. 😀
Stop Writing Your Story and Build a World
Do some worldbuilding on your blog. Open the door to the world you’ve created in your novel and invite others in.
Let them ask you questions? Let them test out the furniture. See what happens when you throw open the gates to your imaginative world and watch people wander in.
They might help you build stronger walls, floors, ceilings, and gardens.
- Schedule time to blog. You’ve scheduled time to write, now add just a few minutes, 10-15, to each day to document the day’s achievements and challenges and write it out on your blog.
- Remember categories and tags. When we are in a hurry, putting thing where you can find them again gets set aside. Don’t mess up your site.
- Keep it simple. Write short posts, focusing on the day’s writing activities. This isn’t the time to write a 3,000 word tutorial or technical article. Pick one topic from the day’s events to share with your experience.
- Keep pictures to a minimum unless they matter. Save gratuitous images, pictures that serve as pretty and do little else, for the other months of the year.
- Use lists to order your thoughts, points, and items. Unordered lists are bullet lists and numbered lists count down, making it not only easy to write but easy to read.
- Be honest with yourself and others. And take a breath. NaNoWriMo can get crazy, stress you out, and make you want to throw your computer across the room. Be gentle on yourself and others and breatheeeeeeee. Remember that you love writing and every word you write is a labor of love.
Blog Your NaNoWriMo Woes, Joys, and Triumphs
We love to hear the good side of an experience, but most people like whining and complaining. Remember to include both in your NaNoWriMo posts not just to maintain balance with your readers but also within your self.
In “13 Ugly Truths About Nanowrimo,” Daniel Swensen explains why November is the worst month to do this in, but also offers up the reality of NaNoWriMo.
Nanowrimo can be a real blast, a useful experience, and a great utility for pumping out a first draft. But it’s very easy to take it too seriously and let the images of the purple bar, the winning trophy, and the approving faces of your friends coalesce into a harrowing vision of guilt and shame. When this happens, just sit back and remember, it’s just Nanowrimo. Winning is great, but it literally only means as much as you let it. Bailing out doesn’t make you a failure, or a bad writer, or a lazy no-good mutant. Sometimes, goals are just beyond our grasp for the moment.
But if you can, take the knowledge that you can walk away from Nano, consequence-free, and use it to rekindle your love of the game. You’re not here because you have to be. You’re here because you want to be. Because you love the exhilarating, exhausting, fun-as-hell rocket ride of Nanowrimo.
This isn’t a job. This is a choice. It is a learning experience. Learn it well, and the lessons will last a lifetime.
Just make the memories good ones.
Who is Blogging NaNoWriMo
There are many people blogging their NaNoWriMo experience. Here are some bloggers to monitor during November to help you see what they are doing and learn from their experiences.
Don’t have a blog? Go to WordPress.com to get a free blog and get sharing your NaNoWriMo experiences.