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15

It varies a lot - and by type of writing. I can do casual non-fiction writing fairly quickly, but more structured or formal work takes me longer (not just in the editing, but in the actual writing process). The professional writers I know point out that burning out is a bad thing (as above: 1000 words each day - or even 250 words a day - is a lot better ...


12

There is no harm in starting Nanowrimo with a basic plot outline. Writing without plotting is very hard, and few people other than Stephen King can pull it off, as I said in another answer. The reason many people fail at writing is because they fail to finish anything. Everyone has great ideas, about books that will become best sellers, movies that will win ...


10

I think NaNoWriMo is a great idea for beginning writers, those who just need to get their butt-in-chair time taken care of. But I don't see a point to it for established writers who already have a system in place that works for them. What's your ultimate goal for the project? Do you want something publishable, or are you just trying to get words on a ...


10

The rules say that if you think of it as a novel, it counts as a novel. If you don't think of the whole 50,000 words as a novel, it doesn't strictly fit the rules. I've known lots of people who write 50,000 words of short stories and call it good. It may not strictly satisfy the rules, but so what? You wrote 50,000 words of short stories and had a lot of ...


9

An apocryphal story about Joyce A friend once found him sprawled across his desk, a figure of utter despair. "How many words have you written today?" he asked him. "Seven," the great man answered. "But that’s good for you, isn’t it?" "I suppose so," Joyce answered. "It’s just that I don’t know what order they go in." Copied from here I think ...


9

Do not put pressure on yourself by saying "Oh, I can write more at the weekend to compensate what I've missed during the week." You will throttle your motivation, you will strangle your creativity. You will get, what you fear most: writer's block. Should you write in the evening and risk to get not enough sleep? Well, why do you think they call it "Thirty ...


8

One planning task I find useful is listing out all the chapters and a 1-2 sentence overview for each of what happens. If I have a better idea of what it'll be about, I'll also say what I want to reveal in that chapter, eg. Shows Character A's weakness for peanuts. What you end up with is a pretty good idea of the plot and how it progresses, but it's still ...


7

There are a lot of different ways you can overcome a lack of motivation, here are a few that I've come up with. Write somewhere outside of your usual places. This can be a coffee shop or a home office, but it has to be the sort of place you don't do other things at. The idea is to take you out of the familiar places where you can fall back into the usual ...


6

There is absolutely no reason not to start the book with NaNoWriMo. In a recent discussion I was having about the writing process, someone brought up the idea that there were two types of writers, those who write like architects, and those whose writing style mirrors a plant germinating out of a seed. The architectural style requires a great deal of ...


6

No, actually, I think it's perfect. NaNoWriMo kills your excuses for Not Writing. You've done homework, you've done plotting, you've done character sketches, blah blah blah fishcakes, just start writing the bloody thing already. The benefit of NaNoWriMo is that it encourages/forces you to dump onto the page. Don't worry if it's any good. Seriously. Just ...


6

The way Nanowrimo is designed, you are supposed to write by the seat of your pants. The idea is you just write, without analysing or thinking much. You can create a short 1-2 page plot summary, but plotting the whole story and all the characters will take too much time. The reason for this is- most people fail at writing not because of poor plotting / ...


6

It depends. Personally, I aim for one to two thousand words a day. I know of one professional writer who goes for three thousand words a day (but, as she pointed out to me, this is her day job).


6

So you like NaNo's credo, you embrace the idea, that you are allowed to write a crappy first draft. But it looks like you haven't understood it. I do not know you, but interpreting your question you sound like someone avoiding the real stuff (writing) by finding an excuse that sounds reasonable (prep work). In reality it's only the little sucker in your ...


5

NaNoWriMo would never ever work for me, because without the prep work, it's just logorrhea. But if you're trying to use the butt-in-chair time as a motivator, then instead of "when timer dings, start typing your book," maybe it should be "when timer dings, start working through your prep work." If all you want to do is get into the habit of writing, then ...


5

Perhaps an appropriate amount of prep work would be to establish your main character (or characters). Then you can put them into a series of situations and explore what happens to them, while keeping true to the characterizations you initially set out. Each chapter can be a different situation, follow the characters as far as you can. Situations: ...


5

I was under the impression that I was a great pantser and had little to say on this matter. Then I realised. All my "pantsed" efforts used to run into the muck about 20k in and many never came back from that terrible limbo. So when I first sat down to do Nano I was determined to find a method for making sure I made the magic 50k. Here is what I did: I ...


5

This may be an extremely subjective answer, but i find it easiest to get a chapter or two done, rather than a word count. It means there is a complete section to get a family member to read over, and if there is spare time in my sitting, i can go through and edit it. If you don't finish the chapter, just try finishing it (and the next chapter) the next day! ...


5

Do I need to go as far as doing all the prep and planning I would for a "regular" novel-writing effort? It depends. If you really just want to develop the daily habit of sitting down and spitting out words, then you don't need any planning at all. If you want a usable draft at the end--one that you can revise into something that meets your usual ...


4

I find this a lot with projects I work on, and not necessarily just novels. I have this problem when starting software projects, websites, pretty much anything creative. Usually, the problem I have, is that I just don't know where to start, and that is because I don't have a plan. If I sit down and properly think about what I am trying to achieve in the ...


4

If I have other things on my mind, I force myself to write two sentences before getting up from the computer/writing desk/typewriter. At least half the time, two sentences is enough to get me into some sort of rhythm. Also, I do a variation of the 10/2/5 rule (work/write 10 minutes, do something anything else for two, repeat 5 times to total an hour, take ...


4

There is no reason for you to not do any advance preparation for this. If you are more comfortable working out a full outline and developing out your characters, then you can do all of that in advance. The primary objective is to write your novel during the month of November. Any advance preparation you do for that will only help you to succeed at that goal. ...


4

I keep a second word processing document open where I scribble down ideas and thoughts which don't fit into the current point in the story. This document is a grammar-free, style-free zone. I record the ideas as quick as I can type them, then jump back to the main document and dive back into its tempo and style. I make no promises to the ideas in ...


3

Sounds like you shouldn't try to plan tho story since that tends to block you. I've won Nano twice. Both times I wrote by hand in whatever scrap of time I had--not typing it up until the month was over. (You'll want to type up a page or two to figure out how many words you write per page, though.) Don't worry about messy handwriting or misspelled words or ...


3

I don't like having pending tasks (I use Outlook for them), so a good way I found to motivate myself (for doing anything actually) is adding tasks to it. Before doing anything else I try to complete these tasks. Adding tasks for writing at least a few paragraph (to start) would be a good way to accomplish it.


3

On the extreme side, Lester Dent was able to write a whole Doc Savage novel in about two weeks, perhaps less. We're not talking great literature here, but he is generally considered to have written the best Doc Savage books (all of them were published under the name "Kenneth Robeson", and they came out monthly). They weren't all that long, so figure about ...


3

I had to laugh when I read the header of your question. We try to encourage people jumping into NaNoWriMo and just write, and with that we unsettle people who are already well prepared. One Monkey started to counter the other answers, so I will continue this wonderful practice :) First, his advice to start NaNo with a new idea for practicing is a good one. ...


2

To counter the other answers (although I still believe they make some excellent points) I think there's something to consider here as an opportunity. Most other writers I encounter, not all but a good proportion, have the work in their mind; that one piece they're backing to reach whichever heady heights they're aiming for. All the other writers, myself ...


2

Change of scene is good, I think. Maybe a park? (I have the same problem, though it's more about being too busy at home with family/housework. I write on the train too.)


2

It depends on what kind of writer you are. NaNoWriMo doesn't have anything to do with it. Some people are "pants" or "discovery" writers. Whether they write the whole thing in a month or a year or a decade, they sit and type to see what happens. Some people are plotters. Again, the amount of time they spend to get a word count is irrelevant; they have to ...


1

The answers I find most useful for productive writing times are also the answers to other writing maladies: Routine, routine, routine. Set up a schedule to write at the same time everyday. Try to follow the same routine not just with scheduling, but with whatever little rituals work for you (I sit down with a cup of coffee in the same place, start my ...



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