In my third year participating in NaNoWriMo, I set a goal of writing 10,000 words every three days until I reached 50,000 words, and I beat that goal by reaching a word count of 50,020 words within the first two weeks. The following year during National Novel Writing Month, I wrote 100,126 words within the 30 days of the challenge.
You might be asking how I did it? To be honest, I'm not entirely sure how I did it, but I will share with you some of the strategies I used while writing my novel for NaNoWriMo. (I originally shared these on my Imagine! Create! Write! blog.)
But first, I will remind you that it is highly doubtful that any of you in this particular challenge need to write as much as that, and the challenge is a 31 day challenge, not 14 days. However, the strategies I used still might help you during the Chapter Book Challenge.
1. Split your focus between different parts of the story-line. I decided, on my 50,000 words in 14 days story, that, instead of writing a one-story-line novel, I was going to write a novel of short stories. Because of this, whenever I felt stuck on what I was writing or just needed a break from it, I was able to switch to a different story to write about. This can work when writing a one-story novel as well. When you get stuck on a certain part of the story or just need a break from what you are writing, start on a different scene within the story. You can always go back to finish the one you started with and when you do, you will feel refreshed and full of new ideas.
2. Set aside as much time as you can spare for writing. You may find, as I did, that you can sneak more writing time into your day than you originally thought was possible. I wrote when my kids were at school, when my youngest napped, and again when all of the children went to bed. Sometimes I had to stay up late, but it was worth it. I even took a notebook with me and wrote while on the bus.
3. Get rid of distractions during your writing time. Many things constitute distractions. My kids are very distracting, so I wrote when they were in bed or at school. The TV is distracting, so I made sure it was off when I was writing. Facebook and Twitter are distracting, so I told myself that I would reach a specific word count before allowing myself time on either site.
4. Challenge yourself. Try and beat your best record for word count in a day. Or look at how your friends are doing and try to beat their word count. Think of a daily word count that seems slightly out of reach for you and then challenge yourself to find a way to reach it that day.
5. Believe in yourself. No matter what obstacles seem to be in the way of you reaching your word count goal, believe that you will overcome them. Because you can.
6. Make writing a priority. There may be a lot of things that have to be priorities in your life, but if you are reading this, then there is at least a part of you that wants to make writing a priority too. So do it. Make writing something you will not allow yourself to set aside.
7. Get rid of your internal editor. Just write without looking back. When you finish your novel, you can go back and edit what you have written, but just let it go while you are in the middle of writing.
8. When you are not writing your novel, talk about it with others. I used to talk to my husband about my story while we walked the dog every evening. Not only was he helpful in coming up with new ideas or ways for me to think about my plot, but also, just the act of talking about it helped me come up with new ideas on my own.
9. Give yourself a break from writing every now and then. Sometimes a change of scenery is all it needs to give yourself fresh ideas and keep the writing flowing.
10. And the one thing I think it the most important is to have fun with your story! Enjoy every second of the world you are creating!
K. M. Weiland has generously offered to offer a copy of her book, "Structuring Your Novel: Essential Keys for Writing an Outstanding Story" as a prize. All you have to do is comment on this post to be entered in the drawing. Must be a signed-up member of the Chapter Book Challenge to qualify. Comment before noon on March 16th, 2014. Winner will be chosen by a random number generator on March 18th, 2014 at noon.