5 Keys To Write 50K Words Within 30 Days
NaNo is just a couple of days away and everyone is going nuts preparing for it. And why not? It’s the biggest writing festival of the year!
Last year I participated in NaNo for the first time and having no idea how to write so much in 30 days I failed miserably with less than 2000 words. It was my very first attempt to write my first book (or for that matter anything substantial.) I hated NaNo from the bottom of my heart and decided never to take part in it ever again. Sigh! If writers are one thing, it’s dramatic.
Well, after a few months, I came to know about JuNoWriMo and decided to give it a try as it is not as huge as NaNo, so I thought “What the heck, let’s do this.” Having failed in NaNo at least this time, I knew what was my weakness. So I chalked out a rough plan and went headfirst with loads of determination and a solid outline for my novel. As the end result, I not only completed the first draft of my book with 52K words but also developed a habit of writing 2K per day.
After that the very next month I took part in Camp NaNoWriMo in July and won it with another 64K words!!! My second draft. Since then I’ve been writing 3K per day, which is quite good especially for a beginner.
In this journey from 0 to 3K words per day, I learned a lot of lessons. And now I’m really looking forward to this year’s NaNoWriMo with a rough outline for my second Novel. Today I have something that I didn’t have last year, and that is confidence. Now I know what it really takes to get 50K words (or more) in 30K. And to help others who are struggling to get those dreaded 50K words done this NaNoWriMo, I’ve come up with 5 key elements that are the most important factors for cracking NaNo and even to write a good amount of words daily even after NaNo.
So, here’s the deal:
5 Keys To Write 50K Words Within 30 Days
I used to think that I’m a pantster, but it took me almost 8 months of pantsing to realise that I’m a hardcore plotter. Pantsing is not something that people really understand. Most of the people like to believe that they are one because pantsing does not require any preparations. They think that it is easy. But what they don’t know is that pantsing is not as easy as it seems. You really need to be a pantster from your heart otherwise you’ll be staring at a blank screen.
If you are struggling with your writing then more that 90% chances are either you think you are a pantster or your planning is falling short. Now when I say planning I’m not talking only about outlining your novel. Nope, planning means decided what all you need to get done in the next 30 days. It can be as easy as making a simple bullet point list of stuff you need to get done in the above said 30 days.
Remember, the more you plan the easier it will be for you to write. At the least you won’t be facing the blank screen syndrome and wondering “What the heck should I do now?”
Note: If you ever feel stuck somewhere you can try mind mapping and brainstorming.
Just setting a goal or a deadline won’t work if you really want to hack this 50K code. You need to really think the goals through.
Everyone knows the average wordcount they need to write daily in order to get the 50K done in exactly 30 days. But how can you be so sure that you’ll be writing each and every day for the next 30 days?
My advice (at least to novices) is to keep at least 4 off days (zero word days – ZWD) while planning because you’d need at least 4 days off if you want to write efficiently (especially if you’ve hardly written anything at all regularly before.) I write 2K to 3K words daily, even in non-NaNo months, still I prefer keeping 4 ZWD. It’s always better to be prepared for the worst.
And get this, even if you don’t need all the 4 ZWD while actually writing, you’ll end up writing more than 50K. (I wrote 64K in Camp NaNo this year.)
So instead of having a goal of 1.6K per day (50K/30), try writing 1.9K or yet better 2K per day. That way even if you don’t feel the need for any ZWD then you’ll be writing 50K in just 26 days.
If you feel that you are under some sort of writing pressure, then use one of your 4 ZWD and take that day off (if you’re following my way then you have the absolute liberty to take it easy and enjoy for 4 days.) Go out and watch a movie. DO NOT sit in front of the laptop and sulk watching other’s progress because it will lead to writer’s block. Just relax and forget about writing for a day. The next day you’ll be surprised to see that you’ll be ready to write again and that too with a renewed sense of excitement.
Writing In Intervals Or Slots:
I love this way of writing and I prefer to call it SLOTTING. I’m not sure about everyone, but so far I’ve interacted with more than a hundred authors and what I’ve gathered is that writing in slots is always better and more effective than writing in one sitting. Now there are exceptions but I’m talking about the most common cases.For slotting, you can write either in word-slots or in time-slots.
Eg. of word-slot – In one sitting I can easily write 1K. So, if I sit 3 times a day to write my novel or any other project for that matter, I can easily write 3K a day. And that is exactly what I do. I always settle for 3 slots a day. Morning, afternoon and evening. This way I can write without stressing out and can easily get other stuff done too.
If you want to write in time slots, then start with a 1/2-hour slots, 2-3 times a day.
If you are a beginner and want to write 2K per day like I explained in the previous point, then you can go about it like this: Write 500 words in one sitting, 4 times a day. But 4 times is a lot, isn’t it? So what you can do is write 500 words, then take a 20-minute break. Do not write in these 20 minutes. You can either read something or do a house chore or better yet take a nap. Then after 20 minutes write another 500 words. Repeat this in the evening. This way you’ll be writing 2K per day very easily.
This is where most of the people balk, especially in the long run. You really need to be determined about writing and completing your goals. Don’t let anything come in your way of writing. Write like you ass is on fire and the only way to save it is by writing (cheesy eh? Not so much.) Just write!
If you’re struggling with a particular scene, then leave it off and move on to the other one before you get irritated and stop writing altogether.
If you like quotes then I’d suggest you write some of your favourite ones on a post its and put them up on the wall just above your study table, where you can see them while writing.
If you want to quit at any time, think about why you started writing in the first place.
Also, you’ll have to be determined to achieve all the goals you’ll be setting for yourself. Instead of focusing on writing 50K within 30 days, try and focus on writing 2K every day. It will make all the difference.
Ah! Now this is an important one. Sometimes we get so excited about writing that we totally forget about other things and just write madly. It’s okay to do this if you have some really great idea that you just can’t miss but doing this again and again is not as good as you might think. Trust me it’s not a healthy practice. If you choose to go on like this, then sooner or later you’ll be overwhelmed and develop a writer’s block. And we don’t want that, do we?The only solution to this problem is to prioritize stuff.
Remember, each and everything is important. If you’re writing that doesn’t mean that you have an excuse to leave the house dirty or make other family members do your work.
Nope, it’s not acceptable. Once in a while it is okay but being a writer is not about writing in November only. You have to write each and every day of the year, so set aside time for everything that you are supposed to do. Remember you won’t get the time, you’ll have to make the time.
Writing is your craft, don’t make it a punishment for others.
I’m a fitness freak so along with all the house chores and writing I need 2 extra hours for my walking, jogging and yoga. So, I get up at 5:30 and make it a point to finish my exercise and yoga routines by 8:00. And then I carry on with my day like any normal day.
So, all you need to do is prioritising stuff while making sure that you do all the necessary things.
Remember: NEVER STOP YOURSELF FROM WRITING! Don’t stick to the plan to an extent where you don’t write more than the word count for a day when you really want to write. When you think you want to write more, just write and let the world set on fire. And if you write 5K in a day, don’t let it affect your next day’s word quota.
Make sure to not let anything at all make you deter from your minimum words per day.
One really important advice: Don’t even try to edit what you’ve just written! NO WAY!!! Do it only after writing 50K.
Note: All the pictures used in this articles have been taken from Pixabay, unless stated otherwise.
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