XVII. Find a Writing Buddy
This might be somewhat difficult to attain, but listen up. You don’t actually need someone to be writing alongside you. If you have a friend (or friends) doing NaNo with you, and you can set up a time when you can all meet up and write together, that’s awesome.
However, most of us don’t have access to such luxuries.
For instance, I don’t personally know any other writers in my immediate area. Granted, NaNoWriMo has a good community setup where you can meet with your fellow writers and have writing sessions. Unfortunately, this doesn’t work quite as well with Camp NaNoWriMo, which is considerably smaller than the November event.
For myself, I write while my girlfriend studies or does homework. If you have a friend/girlfriend/boyfriend/brother/sister/godson/whoever who has something to occupy themselves while you write, the two of you can encourage each other just by getting stuff done in the same vicinity. It’s sort of a camaraderie thing of “we’re in this together.”
Even if you’re doing completely different activities, the fact that you’re making yourself sit down and you have a friend to share the time with will be helpful to you. In fact, this is how the original NaNoWriMo went down, with a bunch of friends scheduling times to meet up at a cafe and just write.
XVIII. Make a Writing Playlist
Sometimes, it’s impossible to find a quiet environment. If you’re writing in a cafe, or a bus station, or even at home, there’s a possibility you’ll have noise and people talking around you. I, for one, can’t read when I hear people talk around me. It doesn’t apply to writing as much, for some reason, but nevertheless I still have to tune out the ambient noises around in order to focus on my writing.
Make a playlist of music that you like, preferably without words. Or with words, if you’re the type that can tune them out. I prefer video game music, personally, with a mix of moods to the music.
If you want to get really into it and you feel like taking the time, you can even make various playlists for different parts of your story. Dark and ominous music for a bit of mystery, fast and energetic for a chase scene, something sad for while your character is dying. It can be a lot of work to make such specific playlists, but it can also be quite worth it.
For those interested, I use a playlist of songs from Mass Effect when I write.
XIX. Your Story Is a Living thing
Recently, someone asked where the rest of a certain story of mine could be found. I told her I had abandoned the story because I didn’t like the way it was going. She told me I could always change that, and I told her that my stories have a mind of their own.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say my stories write themselves; that would discount me as a creator. However, I like my stories to happen organically. Because of this, I kind of let the story take over as I write it.
It’s hard to explain what I mean unless you actually experience it yourself. But sometimes your fingertips just take over and the story appears in front of you. Yes, I willed it to be there, but the thoughts and actions were all from the characters I had created beforehand.
Sometimes, a planned event just doesn’t seem natural the way the story is going. So I change it. Maybe a little, maybe a lot, but it changes either way. This is a response from the characters telling me they don’t like where things are going.
So, when in doubt, let your story take over. You may be surprised at the choices your characters make, and you may actually like what they decide to do.
XX. Sit Down and Do It
Now, as much as I’d like to end this with some cheesy line about how the most important thing is to have fun, I just can’t give you that. The most important thing is to write. You might think of it as work – I know I do sometimes – but that doesn’t mean it can’t be rewarding. The fun is up to you and your writing.