NaNoWriMo is one of the most popular annual challenges that aid and motivate writers from around the world to write and publish their novels in just one month. Though thousands of enthusiasts take the challenge head-on, not all of them end up with a manuscript in hand by the end. Even worse, several writers don’t even finish their first chapter, or give up even before they start.
In this article, we will discuss the top 10 NaNoWriMo mistakes that can hamper your progress, and how you can avoid them.
Let’s dive right in!
10) Beginning Without a Plan:
This is one of the biggest mistakes that people make when participating in NaNoWriMo. Without a concrete plan, it can be difficult to stay on track and achieve your writing goals.
A good way to plan your NaNoWriMo is to come up with a goal for the month, break that goal down into smaller goals, and then create a daily plan that will help you reach those goals.
9) What’s the Plot?
Before you commit to writing a full-fledged novel, it is important to scribble a rough draft of what it’s going to be like. Lay down the main plot, highlight important character roles, and include any notable ideas or information that you already have about the project.
A lot of writers skip this step and start writing their story directly, only to feel stuck or uninspired midway.
Be as specific as possible as you brainstorm the structure of your novel. By doing this, you’ll already have a map to follow, and can come back to your notes for inspiration anytime you feel stuck during the challenge.
8) Not Setting a Daily Word Goal:
Another common mistake is not setting a daily word goal. This can lead to a lack of progress, and ultimately, failure. A good way to stay in the habit is to set small, personal rewards for yourself for accomplishing each day’s task. This will help you stay focused and achieve your writing goals.
You will be one step closer to becoming a successful novelist each time you reach your goal for the day, and seeing your story progress on a daily basis will give you the boost to complete it.
7) Not Taking Breaks:
It is essential to take breaks during NaNoWriMo if you want to stay fresh and focused.
Breaks can include taking a walk, getting some exercise, or just relaxing for a few minutes. Also, be sure to get enough sleep. This will help you stay energized and productive.
One useful method of taking breaks is the Pomodoro technique. This technique recommends writing for 25 minutes and then taking a 5-minute break. Repeat this process four times and then take a 20-minute break. Every time you finish a particular writing goal successfully, do something else to enjoy or unwind.
6) Not Using a Timer:
Using a timer is another way to stay focused and achieve your daily word count. A timer will help to keep you on track, as well as prevent you from spending too much time on one task. A lot of people get overwhelmed or frustrated simply because they couldn’t manage their time effectively.
With a challenge as intensive as NaNoWriMo, it is crucial that you time your breaks as well as your writing time to prevent negative outcomes.
5) Not Writing Every Day:
Obvious as it sounds, not writing enough is a major cause of writers dropping out of the challenge well before time.
Remember, the goal of this challenge is to create a consistent practice. If you don’t write every day, it won’t be easy to reach your goal; but if you do, it will reward you tenfold even after the challenge is over. So, try to write at least a few paragraphs every day to stay on track. Setting a daily goal and using a timer as discussed above will help you in this process.
However, it is essential to note that not everyone is a fast writer, and it is OK to write less on some days. Don’t beat yourself up if you can’t meet your goal every day. Just do the best that you can and keep moving forward.
4) Not Editing Your Work:
Editing is an integral part of the writing process. Many people don’t edit their work because they’re afraid of criticism or don’t have enough time. However, here’s the good part: editing can be done in stages.
Edit for grammar and spelling mistakes in the first stage. Next, check the content and flow. Lastly, in your third stage you will be editing for style. Know that this process can take time but it is essential to make sure your work is the best that it can be.
3) Not Having a Support Group:
One of the best things about NaNoWriMo is the support group. A support group can consist of friends, family, or other writers. This group can help to keep you motivated and on track. You can share your struggles, get helpful feedback on specific parts, and celebrate your wins. This will help you navigate through the month easily, and you might even make some friends along the way.
Sometimes, writers who avoid participating in such groups miss out on the community factor. Not only that, the support groups offer potential collaboration opportunities later on which can prove useful for budding writers.
2) Quitting NaNoWriMo Early:
Quitting NaNoWriMo early is one of the biggest mistakes that people make. This can be due to a variety of reasons such as not having enough time, lack of motivation, or not reaching their daily word goal. If you find yourself struggling, try to find ways to overcome these obstacles. Don’t give up on NaNoWriMo easily. Besides, you don’t want to miss out on the fun and excitement!
So, set a realistic goal and be prepared to work hard. You owe it to your dreams!
1) Not Finishing Your Novel:
The biggest of all NaNoWriMo mistakes is not finishing your novel. Once you’re done writing your novel, take it up to the next level by proofing it. You may want to look for a good beta reader to give you feedback, editor to proofread content, and a publisher to finally turn your writing into a book.
Now that you have come this far with your determination and hard work, it’s only appropriate that you don’t give up on the final stage. A lot of people stall at the next steps, but with some research and willingness, you can stay ahead of the game and decide the fate of your new masterpiece.
NaNoWriMo can be a challenging but rewarding experience. By avoiding these top 10 NaNoWriMo mistakes, you will be able to stay on track and achieve your writing goals faster and smarter.