Monday, October 31, 2011

NaNoWriMo Tip #1

National Novel Writing Month is upon us again! The time of year when writers take the pledge to write a complete novel--or a very big chunk of it--for 30 consecutive days. It's like running a marathon, so to give you a little encouragement, or inspiration, or just because misery loves company, some of my writer friends and I thought we'd share with you some things we learned over the course of writing our novels. Check back every day for a new tip or two from some of your favorite authors. And please feel free to leave comments, let us know how you're doing, something about the project you're undertaking. Believe me, by day 30, you're going to be a little giddy crazy. Let it out.

Our first tip is from Sarah Pekkanen. Sarah has two wonderful novels out now--The Opposite of Me and Skipping A Beat--and a third, These Girls ("Bittersweet, laugh-out-loud funny and painfully real"--Jodi Picoult) coming April 2012. You can find out more about Sarah and her books here. Or follow Sarah on Facebook here, or on Twitter here.

"If you have a good writing stretch, try to replicate the exact environment the next time you sit down to write. Steven King recommends this as a way to "trick" your brain into writing and avoid procrastinating, and it really works! I wandered into a coffee shop one morning while my son was in preschool and got a chunk of writing done. Now I hit that same coffee shop three mornings a week - I even go in through the same door and try to sit in the same table. And I've rarely been so productive, which is a good thing, since I'm under a tight deadline for my new novel. Another benefit of this coffee shop is they don't have Internet access - which saves me loads of time, since I'm not tempted to go on-line."

And here’s my tip of the day:

"Best time of day? Whatever time of day you’re currently getting your writing done. Now is not the time to switch if you’re already in a groove. But generally, pro writers seem to write first thing in the morning, and there’s something to it. The head is clearer, fresh thoughts bubble to the surface. And like exercise, it’s easier to get it done before life intrudes. I wrote The Taker at night, however, while my husband, a musician, was at gigs and the house was quiet. The lesson here: do whatever works for you NOW, think about changing your schedule when a. it stops working for you, and b. you have the disposable time on your calendar to ease into a change."


  1. I agree mornings are a good time, because once the kids are up and the house is alive its hard to get that peaceful zen feeling again.

  2. All of these are great pieces of advice. "If you have a good writing stretch, try to replicate the exact environment the next time you sit down to write." Stephen King is just so wise...and I like the idea of changing up the time of day...unfortunately for me, the day job eats up my most productive hours of writing...though I guess I should sacrifice TV for early bed time and earlier rising -- maybe 3 am?!