November is Writing Season! Tis the season of good creativity, bad literature, extreme word counts, and the smiling satisfaction of unleashing the Muse. It's time for National Novel Writing Month! That's when one writes an entire novel in the month of November. And it is ridiculous lots of fun.
This is year 3 for me. I won the last two--meaning hit the 50k word count by the end of November. Yesterday at the kickoff a man was filming a documentary on NaNo locally in PDX for Northwest Film Projects. He asked me some questions about how to reach 50k words in 30 days on a limited schedule. Here's what I told him. YMMV
"Don't think: Do!" (advice from Ray Bradbury's Zen and the Art of Writing) Don't worry about writing poo, whether your grammar stinks, if your plot makes sense; don't worry about why your MC has suddenly killed his BF--just keep writing!
NaNo is made for the Muse, not for the Editor. Like the Greek poets of yore, invoke your Muses! Let them tell you a story! You can invoke the critics in December, but for now, keep your editor-brain out of the book. The Editor thinks, doesn't do (see previous point). The Muse does!
Small sessions add up to big word counts. Write during your morning coffee, on the bus, waiting at the dentist, or other similar times when you have a small bit of time that's not otherwise filled.
If you have a day off, use it for writing. If you don't have a day off (this would be me), pretend you do have one and use a chunk of it for writing. This is just for one month. You can go back to doing whatever else you usually do on your days off come December 1st. (Unless that's also writing ;-)
Remember you will be graded purely on word count alone. Huzzah! NaNo is about quantity, not about quality. That's one of the reasons why it's so much fun. When else do you have full permission to revel in an orgy of words without any cares for repercussions?
Take advantage of the social aspect of NaNo. Attend write-ins, participate on the forums (but not so much that you don't write your novel!), stay tuned to the competitive word-count-wars between your region and another--whatever pushes and motivates and guilts you into keeping your fingers moving. Write-ins are also great for creating dedicated writing time. Some include fun word-count challenges and games and competitions. This is another part of what makes NaNo so ridiculously fun. (Note: This item is coming from someone who struggles so much with social events she gets official permission from bosses to work through mandatory social events. The write-ins are very friendly for introverts and people who prefer parallel play!)
Give yourself over to the freedom of writing without rules. The Spirit of NaNoWriMo indiscriminately loves everyone from larking first-timers and hard-core career-published professionals. The recklessness and risk with words that can only come with having to create 50,000 of them in 30 days is a unique opportunity for anyone's purpose, from finding your poetry, to finally finishing that project you always dreamed of, to jotting the first sketch of your next best-seller. The Spirit of NaNo gives permission to explore and despises preciousness. Get caught up in its whirl!
"Don't think: Do!"