Whipping Out The Words

Participating in NaNo forces us to channel Speeedy Gonzales, the Tazmanian Devil, and the Road Runner at the same time so we can burn up the keyboard with word counts.

But dear LORD, how do we do it?!?!?!

Here are some tips on how to put your nose to the ACME anvil and grind out the pages:

  • Practice with Write or Die. This website sets up a timed session. If you don’t reach a certain word count in a certain amount of time, your words will be DELETED! (I’ve never been brave enough to try this myself, but lots of writers LOVE it!)
  • Make your Word document window 1-2 lines long and use a large font. You’ll only be able to see a couple of sentences so you can’t go back and re-read and re-read and re-read and…well, you get the point. (My dear friend, Mary Lindsey, came up with that one. Her book SHATTERED SOULS comes out SOON!!!!!! I can’t WAIT to read it.)
  • Connect with some writer buds and do a write-off. Pick a chat room, keep tabs via Twitter, use direct messaging, anything that’ll keep you in real time communication with others so you can all sit down together and challenge one another to pound out some words. (Lynn Rush, Rachel Firasek, Ciara Knight, and Kendall Grey like this route.)
  • Join a group on the NaNo website. (You’ll see a lot of familiar faces–er, avatars–there. Capitalize on it!)
  • Don’t think of all 50,000 words in one chunk. It’s like staring Mt. Everest in the face and thinking you’ll reach the summit in one step. Yeah, not gonna happen. Instead, remember that you only need 1667 words a day. That’s a doable number. A few pages. Half a chapter. A couple of scenes.
  • Now is NOT the time to edit. Don’t worry about nailing description, smoothing dialogue, or capturing an action scene in cinematic detail. Get the essence down and MOVE ON.

What tips do you have to keep the words flowing?

Check out Sarah’s response to whether or not a pet/person/plant inspires her writing. ๐Ÿ˜‰

19 comments on “Whipping Out The Words

  1. Sarah says:

    Wow, these suggestions are really interesting. I’d never heard of Write or Die, but it sounds kinda horrifying! I guess that would be pretty motivating, though! I don’t do any of these things because this is one problem I don’t have (I have plenty of other problems to keep me busy), but these are clearly useful for anyone who struggles with that pressure of building up so many words so quickly. I love these NaNo posts you’re doing!

  2. Zoe says:

    Great tips! Not doing NANO m’self; more like REVISINANO. Sigh.

  3. Karen Lange says:

    Great tips! These really can come in handy anytime, not just for NaNo, you know? I need to heed the last one. I am always editing and sometimes I just need to let things spill out and go back later. Good post! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Arlee Bird says:

    I have such a hard time not editing as I go and can’t seem to break myself of it. So far it hasn’t kept me from meeting the NaNo goal. Gonna have to try that Write or Die website–sounds cool.

    Tossing It Out
    Please see my guest post at:
    So You Want to be a Writer?

  5. Lynn Rush says:

    Awesome tips, Laura. I love Nano. It’s right up my alley with the pounding out the words super fast. Something about that just gets me itching to write. Of course, there is a lot of clean up after, but to have the main story written and down on paper…that’s awesome. It’s such a great motivator. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Lydia K says:

    These are such great ideas. You are really making me wish I was doing NaNo…

  7. Good luck with nano. I shall be thinking of you guys as I’m lazily sitting on the couch watching television during November (while hanging out on twitter).

  8. Not participating in it this year, but am tweeting for my friends who might be. Great advice! Almost made me want to give it a go. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Krispy says:

    These are all great tips! I just tried writing sprints (like your write-offs) this summer over Twitter, and the pressure helped me clamp down on my internal editor.

    I’ve heard of Write or Die and want to try it, but I too am still too terrified to do it!

  10. akossket says:

    Did I tell you this already? Well if not, just know that right now I heart you so much for this post.
    I’m going to need supernatural like strength to power through Nano if I jump onboard on November 1st.

  11. Catherine Johnson says:

    Great tips for Nano Laura. I hoped you’ve stocked your cupboards too!

  12. Linda Gray says:

    Had to drop in for my NaNo pep talk–this is a good one, thanks! Joining a group on the NaNo website, for example, may be an obvious thing to do to people in the know, but for us newbies it’s great to hear the suggestion.

  13. Ciara Knight says:

    I’m so hoping to participate but I’m thinking major edits will come in from my publisher at that time. We will see.

  14. I’m thinking of doing NaNo this year and I’m a little scared, but we will see. I will check out those links. THanks.

  15. roguemutt says:

    Huh huh, whipping out.

  16. aparnanairphotography says:

    Good music in the background. Priscilla Ahn. “Lullaby”

  17. Great tips, sounds stressful though. Good luck with it!

  18. Vicki Tremper says:

    Great advice! I can’t wait to try it all out (except Write or Die – I’m definitely NOT brave enough to risk losing what I’ve written).

  19. kmcambion says:

    I actually bought the computer version of Write or Die. it was worth every penny.

    Here’s another one: If you get stuck, don’t be afraid to do something stupid. Have the character hump someone they normally wouldn’t. Get them high. Have them have a severe reaction to cinnamon and hallucinate they’re in a fantasy world. Sin in November, repent (and edit) in December.

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