NaNoWriMo is a great thing if you’re trying to get used to writing every day.
It can also be a bad thing for those people who have no desire to edit and instead publish exactly what they wrote two days after they win.
But let’s not go there.
If you completed NaNo, congrats to you! You learned the importance of keeping to a schedule in writing, and how easy it can be to write a bit each day. But upping the word count is never an easy thing, especially with a deadline looming. And it gets even harder when real life gets in the way.
This was the trouble that one author, Rachel Aaron, had when she started writing professionally. While struggling to find time with a new baby to write, she happened upon a few neat tricks that upped her word count from 2,000 a day (your basic NaNo goal) to around 10,000 a day (NaNo done in 5 days, anyone?).
The basics of it go something like this:
1: Do a basic outline of what you plan to write that day. It can be anywhere from a few lines long to three pages of scribbled notes. Get the basic ideas of how the scenes are going to flow, both in themselves, and together to create a cohesive whole. This ensures that you don’t spend time agonizing over where you are going next in your story, and that you can keep writing, as you already have most of it planned out.
2: Keep a record of what you are writing, Word Count-wise. This lets you see where you are more productive, and gets you to sit your ass down in the chair to write. It may not be possible to dedicate an entire day to writing, but do it when you can. Writing three hours at a time will boost your count by a lot, as you get more and more involved in your story to the point where the characters are telling it, you’re just the one writing it down.
-I have a personal experience with this one. I went to a Write-In three days before NaNo was ending and got into a word war with the local ML. We spent 20 minutes just typing, and the story came, because that was all we were concentrating on. No internet to be a distraction, no TV in the background, just us, our computers, and our novels. We both cleared close to 1000 words in those 20 minutes.
3: WANT to write your book! Getting to scenes that you’ve had in your head since you started it is a great way to bump up your enthusiasm, and that bumps up your count. You want to tell this section of your tale, and the words often come pouring out. But how can you get through the boring scenes? After all, if you’re getting bored writing them, we’ll get bored reading them! The answer here, according to Rachel, lies in the first basic: your scene sketching. Find the one scene in what you sketched out that you can’t wait to get too. Figure out teh plot hooks, and let in play in your head like a movie would. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll want to write what was once a “boring” scene.
-Personal Experience again, writing my novella during Camp NaNo (I used it as a time to finish projects rather than start new ones), there were some scenes that seems to drag on forever, and others that flowed out so perfectly and wonderfully that, when I look at them now, I’m still impressed that I was the one who wrote them. Make these moments become the norm. If you have to, skip around in your novel to write. When you get bored with one scene, move onto the next. You can always come back and work on the first one later, when you get bored with the second! It makes sure you are always writing, never wasting any of that precious writing time.
Rachel goes into some more details on her blog about this, and gives her own personal examples. I highly suggest taking a look at it, as it’s something that we could all benefit from. Even if you don’t hit 10,000 a day, you’ll at least help yourself figure out how you best write, making you a better author.