I do recommend having at least a basic plot + outline of your novel. Having this makes it 1000 times easier once you sit down to actually write! Planning and outlining haven't been my strongest writing talents, but I am working on it. This year I do have more of an outline than I have the past 2 years and it makes me really excited to get in and write my book. I also hope that having more of it plotted out will make my writer's block less, but we will see. If you need help on how to outline your novel, I highly recommend this post by Paper Fury.My novel this year is a NA comtemporary about two best friends and their last summer together before one goes to college and the other.. um. well dies from cancer. Yes, I'm very nice to my characters.
Don't worry about editing while you write, you can do that later.
I really do need to get better at going back and editing the books/drafts I write, especially during NaNo. My big goal for this year (besides writing 50,000 words) is to go back and edit my book in January (I let my words rest for at least a month + December is super busy with family and holidays and my birthday. But my goal is to actually take the time to edit, but not while I'm writing. This goes along with my first point, just get those words written!
It's actually really fun to see how many words you can write during a single month.
I don't have a 'word count' goal most of the year, so when November rolls around, I'm able to write a lot more than usual because my focus is my novel. I tend to read a bit less and watch a lot less TV because my sole focus is getting that draft finished! Woo! It's a real rush. I think I find it so exciting because it's only a month long, and when the month is over I (hopefully) have the first draft of my novel complete.Writing first drafts for me is so so so so hard. I hate it actually. I love coming up with the story, the details, and the plot. And I think I'll actually enjoy editing and making the story better, but for some reason, I often hate that first draft. I know I'm not alone in this, but the funny thing is that during November, I LOVE WRITING THE FIRST DRAFT. Like who am I? I don't have answers.I do think I'm even more motivated to write during November simply because so man other people are writing too and I'm like woo, I'm not the only one making my way through a first draft! And it really is exciting! Anyway, does anyone else get excited to see how much they can write during November?
You get to meet lots of other writers.
Really though... writing is hard. But I also think it's fun, why else would I be doing it? Enjoy this fast-paced writing month and make connections with other writers! Support each other and cheer each other on! This writing thing is hard, but we have a whole community of writers! Add me on the NaNo website, I'd love to be friends with you and cheer you on from there and on on Twitter! One of my favorite parts about NaNo the past couple of years has been all the other writer friends I've been able to make, and this year I hope to meet even more of you.
Switch it up.
If you get stuck (and you just might) take a break from the computer and pull out a notebook and a pen. When I get stuck with a writing project, I always take away the screen and start writing with pen and paper. For some reason, this makes it easier for me. I don't feel quite as much pressure and I'm able to get back in the flow of writing. I do go back to my computer, but if I get stuck this is what I do! And if you're struggling, I highly recommend switching things up for a little while!
Have lots of snacks.
Writing is hard, it takes lots of energy. Stock up on your favorite snacks + lots of healthy options. You'll need your fuel!! I usually keep my snacks in the kitchen. This means I have to get up and stop writing and take a break to eat them but that's usually a good thing.
Writing 50,000 words in a month is a lot. At least, it is for me. So, make sure you have plenty of breaks. Read a few pages in a book, binge watch something on Netflix and just enjoy time with your family or your friends or your dog. Breaks are healthy and wonderful and always give me more motivation to write.
Just have fun.