So with NaNoWrimo now upon us, now what?
Well, a couple of things:
First: Be prepared. Back yer stuff up. Get a USB Stick, Dropbox, iCloud, Google Docs, some sort of easy to use cloud and or physical back up that you can easily carry around with you. Emphasis on easy and portable because you don’t want your gear to crash on you loose all your work. This also means going into the word document preferences and adjusting your auto save to every three minutes or less and making sure to create a backup of the document as well. Triple redundancy is your friend.
Second: There is no need to work on some epic that has eluded you for years. NaNoWrimo is and is not about story.
Third: Find a word war buddy. Yes, that means step 4.
Step 4: Go to your region‘s bulletin board and find a local Write In. Meet people. Be friendly. Ask someone if they will poke you every so often so you won’t fall behind. The comments from people who have never gone to a Write In and suddenly find their writing output going through the roof is always nice to hear. Sure, this draft is going to suck but it’s 50k words, you can edit in January.
Fifth: Why wait? Because NaNoWrimo is fun exercise to rub your sticks of creativity together and see what it’s like if you decide to do this writing thing full time.
Sixth: Edit in January. Seriously. Just put it on the back burner and worry about the holidays then come back to it.
Seventh: If you find M$ Word is too expensive try Scrivener (Mac/PC) or Storyist. They both may have a learning curve but it’s better than having to go through several folders trying to find that little tid bit you were looking for.
Eighth: Find a writing group. Check Meetup.com or find an online writing course like Gotham Writing Courses. The general idea is to get other people looking at your work to find the errors and to give advice. This leads to the ninth step.
The Ninth Step: Get thick skin quick. Your first few stories aren’t going to be home runs. As the old adage goes: How do you get to Symphony Hall? Practice, practice, practice. It takes time and effort. And, if anyone could do this then everyone would be doing this but they aren’t. If you enjoy this, if you can take the critique and the feedback then on wards and up wards.
Lastly and this will probably irk some people but fan fiction can only take you so far. I started writing Robotech fan fiction and received some good advice about playing in my own sandbox instead of someone else’s. Sure, Fifty Shades of Gray started off as Twilight FanFic but sometimes a fresh idea starts with reading a magazine article.