Preparing for NaNoWriMo – Step 7 – When in doubt, write.

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month
Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

This sounds like a no brainer.  But in practice, it’s tough.  I remember the first time I participated in NaNoWriMo, I felt like I was going to run out of words and time.

Depending on formatting and length, my finished NaNoWriMo manuscripts are between 175-190 pages. My format of choice is 1″ margins all the way around the page, 12 point font, double-spaced lines.

Two years of NaNoWriMo manuscripts
Two years of NaNoWriMo manuscripts

I can’t get to page 190 without having been through page 189, 188, 187…first. NaNoWriMo is written one page at a time.

Sometimes things feel bleak on the page.  If you feel stuck, set a timer for less than 10 minutes.  You’ll be surprised what you can get done in 10 minutes.  And the point is to write the whole time.  Fingers tapping away on the keyboard, pen to paper, keep writing.  Natalie Goldberg details how in her classic, “Writing Down the Bones,”

1. Keep your hand moving.
2. Don’t cross out.
3. Don’t worry about spelling, punctuation, grammar.
4. Lose control.
5. Don’t think.  Don’t get logical.
6. Go for the jugular.

All you have to do is write for ten minutes, just get through.  This is the part of writing where you’re just putting words on the page – don’t judge it, don’t edit.  Keep going, write quickly, burst ahead.


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