NaNoWriMo 2010 Day 10: Survival Tips

Week 2 of NaNoWriMo is often thought to be the hardest week. Many people give up this week and decide writing a novel isn't for them - which is ok!

But if you want to stick with it, here are a few tips for reaching 50k that worked for me in the past. They might also help any time you want to quickly write a first draft.

-Don't delete anything! If you know something needs to be removed or rewritten, change the font to a different color so you know it should be edited later. I prefer light gray, some people like red, while others like white so they can't see it anymore.

-If you decide you need to change something big (the setting, a character, a plot point, etc) in an earlier chapter, don't do it now. Make a note of it in brackets or in another color and then keep writing as though you have already made the change.

-If you're having trouble with a scene or can't figure something out, make a note in brackets and then keep writing. I like to make notes like [fight scene here] or [cool object] or [needs more research]. 

-If you're stuck because you don't know what happens next, skip to the next scene you DO know about. Write the scenes that you get you excited and that you can't wait to write. You can always fill in the gaps later.

-Try to write something every day, but don't beat yourself up if you don't meet your daily word count. 10 words is still 10 more than you had yesterday.

-Plan for a few days near the end of the month when you can devote time to catching up. Trust me on this one. I usually plan to write 5k a day or more during Thanksgiving weekend.

-Back up your work! I always email myself my file or upload it to Google Docs every time I finish working on it. Yes, every time. You don't want to write 45,000 words and then lose it all due to a computer crash!

Do you have any other tips or techniques for writing a draft quickly? Let me know!