From over at Terrible Minds, an awesome post on the Dos and Don’ts of NaNoWriMo. I especially like “Consider this a Zero Draft” and “Think of this as a very powerful outline or story bible.”
I think that your “success” with NaNo (and I don’t mean getting to 50K) depends on knowing what you’re going to accomplish and avoiding unrealistic expectations. 50K is not a complete novel. And what you end up with at the end of November is not supposed to be perfect. Once you wrap your head around those two things, you really take the pressure off of yourself. I know it worked for me. What I’m doing is writing the big scenes in the book, the things that I KNOW are going to happen. Smaller scenes spring from those. I’m not even going in any particular order, but skipping around in the book as the mood hits me. Working this way is keeping me from wanting to run back and edit what I’ve written. When the dust settles, I’ll put everything in order and fill in the blanks. So far, so good.
That being said, I’m behind on my word count — and that’s okay. Yep, you heard me right. It’s okay. My sister and nephew came up this weekend, so needless to say, no writing got done. I only get to see them once or twice a year, and I spent good, fun, quality time with my family. This Saturday, I’ll be spending the day antique shopping with my friend Robin — a girls’ day out. I need it, I’m taking it, and I’m going to have fun. No guilt.
In my opinion, the point of NaNo isn’t to kill yourself getting to 50K, the point is to get you in the habit of writing every day. That’s how you can be productive — and get published. Writing in fits and starts only when the muse visits isn’t going to get it done. You need a routine, daily writing is best. But on those days when you can’t write, never beat yourself up. Writing is supposed to be fun, not consume your life. Take the time to HAVE a life. Your writing will thank you for it.