NaNoWriMo - novel writing and advice

This year I successfully won NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). The goal is to write 50,000 words in the month of November.

In October I started drafting an idea and researching my story. I wrote about Penny, who lived in the United States after it was decimated by chemical warfare. There were only a few other people in existence and the families were gathered into a city that was circled by the wall. Penny's parents grew up in the town and Penny is part of the second generation in the city.

The chemicals in the ground started to get citizens in the town super powers, such as super intelligence, flying, walking through walls and going invisible. Penny's town is lead by two men who exploit the Supers, making them into soldiers. Penny's brother is in the training camp and they find out just how badly the leaders are treating the Supers.

Penny and her father are working to create a serum that removes the gene from Supers, allowing them to live life without the fear of being put into the training camp. Penny also meets a boy, Austin, who ends up being close to one of the leaders and has some tough choices to make.

I have started NaNoWriMo before, but barely started and only a few thousand words before I gave up. This time I stuck to it and had a few friends that were also writing. I took my Ipad and keyboard with me where ever I went and even would write on my phone when waiting for appointments or with downtime. My husband was amazing and let me sit every night, bundled up on the couch writing.

I learned some valuable lessons during the month and I thought I would share for those aspiring writers or someone who just wants cross of a bucket list item:

Turn off your self-critic - it was so hard to write sometimes because I hated what I was writing. I had to keep trucking along to get the daily word quota done, but it was hard. I finally just had to start enjoying what I was writing, getting into the story and just letting it flow.

Back-up a million times - I used multiple programs to write since I do not have Word on my Ipad. I just found out the hard way that without an internet connection, Evernote and Google Drive are unpredictable and you can lose your work easily. I still have yet to find the perfect program, but something that saves constantly, like the IPad Note app might be your best bet. I lost thousands of words a couple times and it was devastating.

Write without distraction - I tried to write with the TV on and it was not the best idea. I was easily distracted and it would take hours to get through 1600 words, but when I would write with only music or at a coffee shop I could get a lot more work done.

Reward yourself - share every milestone, it was amazing how many friends and co-workers were excited with my progress. Share your word counts, page numbers and reward yourself with the encouragement your friends and family give you.

Read the pep-talks - with NaNoWriMo they had pep talks sent to your mailbox all the time. It was awesome to get encouragement and words of advice from popular writers. It made you feel special and gave you advice to get through those trying periods.

Get connected - I found a Facebook page for NaNoWriMo writers in Fargo/Moorhead and the NaNoWriMo website also has regions so you can find writing groups and get together with others to write. I wasn't able to go to any of the write-ins but it was nice to have resources there if I needed extra encouragement or help.

Keep writing - I started this blog to keep writing and to share my love for books. I have to be honest that I have not finished my book yet, I am close and just trying to get back my momentum for writing. It was a lot easier when I knew I was doing with 300,000 people. I really want to finish so that I can officially say I wrote a novel and I want to keep writing.

I started a Pinterest board with writing prompts and am going to try to do at least one a week. Some I will share here and some I will use to just keep up my craft. The more I write the better it becomes. I also would really like to take some writing classes.

So I totally encourage you to do NaNoWriMo next November! You have almost a full year to prepare - so start thinking of ideas! I will also share the writing prompts I found if you need some ideas!