Writing a novel in thirty days is an entirely different endeavour than simply writing a novel. In order to accomplish the goal of 1557 words per day (or 50,000 total), you need to schedule your writing in a way you might not normally have to. This means that the regular writing advice (e.g., “write from your gut” or “take lots of time to proofread”) won’t work here. Instead, you need to focus on plotting your novel and carrying off your goals in just one month.
So this week’s collection of writing advice may sound a bit different from what we normally espouse here on the Endpaper Blog. These tips have been specifically selected to help you get to 50,000 words. After all, the editing can wait until December.
1) Will Self
Always carry a notebook. And I mean always. The short-term memory only retains information for three minutes; unless it is committed to paper you can lose an idea forever.
2) Michael Moorcock
Introduce your main characters and themes in the first third of your novel. If you are writing a plot-driven genre novel make sure all your major themes/plot elements are introduced in the first third, which you can call the introduction. Develop your themes and characters in your second third, the development. Resolve your themes, mysteries and so on in the final third, the resolution.
3) Ernest Hemingway
There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.
4) Matt Marinovich
I write really fast, not worrying about making mistakes when I’m working on a first draft. I think novice writers make a mistake when they worry too much about where their novel is going, or get buried in too much outline. Surprise yourself, sentence by sentence; don’t worry about the next chapter. In reality, the first page of your novel is the most important of all. It’s where you define the pace and mood of your story.
5) Katherine Howe
That being said, a finished project is better than a perfect project, because there are no perfect projects. Be a finishist, not a perfectionist.
6) Richard Wright
The artist must bow to the monster of his own imagination.
7) William Faulkner
Get it down. Take chances. It may be bad, but it’s the only way you can do anything really good.
8) Jack London
You can’t wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
9) Zadie Smith
Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.
10) Maya Angelou
What I try to do is write. I may write for two weeks “the cat sat on the mat, that is that, not a rat,”…. And it might be just the most boring and awful stuff. But I try. When I’m writing, I write. And then it’s as if the muse is convinced that I’m serious and says, “Okay. Okay. I’ll come.”
For more advice on how to keep up the pace this November, check out our “5 ways to Keep Up Your NaNoWriMo Momentum.”
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