A lot of people join NaNoWriMo. Not many accomplish the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel in a month, though. I think it's something like 15%. My first novel, LOSING FAITH, was written in 21 days during NaNoWriMo 2007, and I've completed the challenge every year since (and several of those books are going on to be published). I get asked all the time how I do it. Most people who write think it would be impossible to reach such a lofty goal. Plus, my new book, FAST FICTION (which will be out in February) focuses on the topic. So I wanted to offer a few tips of how I have been able to win the Nano challenge year after year.
1. Always write forward. Don't look back at ANY of your story until you reach the end. Your subconscious mind will bring back any details you need to work in as you need them. Each day you sit down to write, scroll to the end of yesterday's writing and start there (or on a new page below there). This helps keep your inner critic at bay so you can come up with lots of new and creative ideas for your story.
2. Write every day. No matter what. Write. Every. Single. Day.
3. Start first thing in the morning. Even if you only have five minutes, try to spit out a hundred words in that five minutes. Then if, by chance, you can't get back to your writing at all that day, at least you have that hundred words under your belt. At least you've kept your mind in your story and kept the momentum of writing it going. (But I'll bet that after writing five minutes, you'll want, and feel capable, to write more that day).
4. There are no bad ideas. A thirty-day challenge is for trying anything and everything. When you have an idea for an obstacle, throw it at your main character and see what happens. I come up with a very loose outline ahead of time, but many times I have strayed from that plan and worked my way back to it later in the story. The result has always given me something new and great for my story (even if it's just a nugget of greatness within a bunch of rubble) but more importantly, it has rejuvenated my enthusiasm for writing and for my story.
5. Set a goal and stay accountable with it. Find at least one person who will hold you accountable throughout the month. Check in with them every day. If you're stuck for someone, ask on Twitter or Facebook. My best accountability writing friends hang out under the hashtag #wipmadness on Twitter and you're welcome to join us.
What are your best writing tips for NaNoWriMo? I'd love to hear them!