1,667 words per day if they're writing every day.
2,273 words per day if they're only writing on weekdays.
6,250 words per day if they're only writing on weekends.
Either way it's a pretty hefty feat, and not something to walk into unprepared. Even if you're a "by the seat of your pants" type of writer.
So this year, instead of doing a basic what is NaNo and who's going to participate in it journal, we're gonna switch it up and give you some pointers on what you should be doing and what you definitely shouldn't be doing before and during NaNo.
The best place to get advice is from the people that have tried NaNo. Notice how I didn't say "and succeeded?" That's because this time around, if you didn't succeed, you still have valuable information that needs to be passed along. Knowing how NOT to attempt NaNo is just as good as knowing HOW to attempt NaNo.
Let's not dilly dally any longer and jump right into it.
Where to start?
Almost everyone I've messages, noted, chatted with or talked to has said the same thing.
That's right, even if you don't normally work on your plot in advance, when it comes to NaNo, you need to have at the very least a basic outline. You'll need to know how you want to start and how you're going to get to the end. It's best to start this as early as possible (I've been plotting since August and I know others that started even earlier than that).
What else should you be doing before and during NaNo?
Some of the grandest tips I've come across when it comes to focusing on your writing and motivating yourself to continue on even when you're having a brain fart.
Have a story you want to work on. Something you're excited about. You're stuck with these characters for the month. Make sure you like them. Or at the very least, like torturing them.
Know your characters. Make them friends. Even your villain. You wanna know everything there is to know about your characters BEFORE NaNo starts.
Be consistent. It's a marathon, not a sprint!
Figure on not working Thanksgiving (for the Americans), and figure some off days for the rest of the world. You're not gonna end up writing every day for the entire month. Plan your time wisely. Know what days you have doctor appointments or previous engagements and work around them.
Believe you can do it. And have a good support system. A critique group. Local writing group, or bunch of friends (dA or otherwise) that will support you and push you to finish NaNo.
Treat Yourself. Write for half and hour and nom a small yummy treat. Repeat.
Write on schedule. Writing at the same time will train your brain to want to write and be most creative at that time.
Spend a little bit of time before NaNo starts figuring out how, when and where you're going to write. Don't try and figure out your perfect setup on November 1st because it'll be too late. Know where you're gonna sit, how you're gonna have your prep material.
Carry something (notebook, smart phone, iPod, iPad) with you at all times so if you get a spare moment, you're prepared to use it properly.
Have daily writing targets and try to meet/exceed them every day. Getting ahead is not a bad thing.
A blog or side diary to track progress and keep your mind sane.
Keep an eye on the Twitter hashtags: #wordwars and #NaNoWriMo for others.
@ is your best friend. When you're stuck on a description, dialogue passage, character reaction or pretty much anything just type @ and then what you want to include there. Examples: description name dialogue. Then once you figure out how you're going to handle that part just search for the @ sign in your word processor. This works for both NaNo and regular writing.
Make sure your research is done before November hits. Otherwise it'll be your excuse to stave off writing. And that's bad.
Word Wars and Write Ins. They're a grand place to get lots of words down. I'll be running a few chat events in the CRLiterature chatroom. So keep an eye out for the chat schedule which should be coming out soon.
Make sure the people you live with know you're doing NaNo. This way they won't be offended when you're completely ignoring them. If you have small kids, make sure you have a spouse to take care of them [if you don't, quick, you still have a couple weeks to snag one] or family/friends that are willing to help out.
And above all else, have fun. There is no reason to stress over NaNo. It's supposed to be fun and challenging. Not heart attack inducing.
A HUGE Thank You to All the Deviants that Made this Feature Possible
TarienCole, WTFgirl, AzeeraTheNinja, kittykittyhunter, forbiddenhero, Thy-Robocop, damina, AeternusVotum, TMCanada, MeganLawler94, Loza-Muse, thorns, TheSkaBoss, SkysongMA, PinkyMcCoversong, Nekolai, ozzla, BloodrainFireDawn, The-Monoblos and AspiredWriter