My NaNoWriMo tips

Since it’s National Novel Writing Month I’d thought I’d take a moment to write a post with a few tips, should you be participating in it this year. I participated in 2005, and even though I had a few issues, I still got it done a full day early.

November 6, 2005

The scream heard around the world ….

….. or at least by all other NaNoWriMo Participants.

My Palm Pilot crashed. The last hot-sync was at 4:30 p.m., Friday, November 4th. Word count at that time was roughly 9,000. Word count seconds prior to the crash at 9:30 a.m., Sunday, November 6th: 12,500.

I lost it all. All 3,500 words. I had been saving, but not hot-syncing.

I think I might die.

Do I have any volunteers to rewrite Chapters 7, 8, and the beginning of 9?

Do you think NaNoWriMo is giving extensions?

Okay, seriously, YES I actually typed out my novel on my Palm Pilot for a few weeks. I had a keyboard that I connected it to and it worked really well. And then it crashed. Lesson. Learned.

Tip #1. Don’t write your novel on your Palm Pilot.  Do they even make Palm Pilots anymore??? In all seriousness, make sure that whatever you are writing your novel on that you have the ability to save it a zillion times a minute.

November 9, 2005

My laptop

It pays to have a Hubby who works in IT (that’s information technology, not ‘it’)!!! Today I was presented with my very own laptop, that I get to keep for as a long as I want, but ethically speaking do not own. It’s been on his desk for months now, taken out of service by his company. It’s new home is here with me. However, when I’m done with it, I have to give it back, to the company that pays half of my mortgage, and will deny existence of this lovely laptop because it’s been taken out of service. So, it’s mine, but not really. And I have never been more excited to be kinda, sorta given something before!

I’m up to 15,335 words, and as soon as I’m done writing this post, I’m going to write some more, in the hopes that I get to 17,000 before I go to bed. Chicago is waiting for me on Saturday. If I want to go to Chicago, I have to keep on writing!!

Tip #2. Take the total amount of words you need to write and divide it by 30 days. It is easiest if you write every single day. If you plan on taking a day off, either double up the day before, or divvy out the words over the few days prior. Don’t even let yourself get into the habit of playing catch-up, it will only frustrate you.

Tip #3. Don’t let your cat chew your laptop power cord. Make sure your power cord is working. I lost quite a bit when I left my laptop unattended while I put my kid to bed, the cat took this time to chew through the power cord. And then the battery died on my re-purposed laptop. ALL BEFORE SAVING MY DOCUMENT!

Tip #4. Email yourself a copy of your novel at the end of each day. It was the best way I found to make sure the latest copy was available to me should anything fail. It was 2005, auto save works much better in 2012, but trust me it’s a great fail-safe trick in the event your laptop is stolen or your thumb drive is corrupt.

Tip #5. Don’t worry about what you are going to write. Just write. Let the characters come to life in your mind. Let them converse with each other. Imagine what you would say if you were them.

So there you are, my tips for NaNoWriMo. I hope to participate again someday, but this year I’m finishing up my capstone paper for my MBA instead. Total pages 45, total word count 9015.

Kimberly writes and podcasts at Outside My Head and That's My Answer.

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