Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo Tip #2

(*"Friends"--get it?)

Day Two of National Novel Writing month. Chances are you’re still on a high from the work you did yesterday. Prose is singing in your head. You can’t wait to get back to the story you worked on, the scene fresh in your memory. The characters are like the best kind of new friends(*)—so funny, so charming! You can’t wait to be in their company again. You’re kind of in love with them. But you know the task ahead of you. You know this is a marathon, not a sprint. And if you aspire to be a professional writer, you might as well have that saying tattooed on a part of your part that you can look at easily, twenty times a day. In writing, it applies to more than the writing. It applies to every aspect of your career: it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Valerie Patterson is a middle-grade author. Patterson’s debut, The Other Side of Blue, is a literary novel with “a story tender and true...each word seems to shimmer”-- Han Nolan, winner of the National Book Award. Val’s website is here, and she is hard at work on her next novel.

“A key to productivity is making the most of your non-writing time.  That's right--your non-writing time.  When you're commuting or cooking or doing anything that doesn't involve sitting at the computer writing, be thinking about what happens in your novel.  Take notes.  Draft snatches of dialog.  Before you go to sleep at night, put to your subconscious the puzzle of a plot conundrum  Let your sub-conscious work for you in the off hours.  All of this non-writing is geared to enhance flow when you do sit down to write.If nothing else, NaNoWriMo is all about maximizing flow.”

My tip of the day has to do with editing:

“Editing when you’re writing? Many pro writers start their daily writing session by rereading and editing the material they wrote the day before then writing the new material. It’s sort of like taking a running start at the day’s word count AND helps to reduce the editing/revision workload to come. Should you do this during NaNoWriMo? Depends on your discipline, and the amount of time you’ve set aside for writing every day. If you’ve met your word count and still have time, try polishing up a rough section.”


  1. I love this advice: "be thinking about what happens in your novel. Take notes. Draft snatches of dialog" I need to do more of this. I edit while writing....all the time...but for me it becomes a hindrance during NaNo. I think its the editing brain that is always on at work. I need to learn to turn it off.

  2. Serena, thanks for the comments. I know what you mean about turning off the editing mind sometimes. If only there was a switch...

  3. Great non-writing time advice!