Day 1 – NaNoWriMo – Tips, Advice and Story


1creative commons candy 

WOW! That felt good! 

My characters are born!    

I have spent the past hour or so OFFLINE completing my NaNo write for Day 1. I have managed 1893 words (1667 needed) and have left it part way through a scene – not quite mid sentence but a good place to pick up tomorrow.

I have these tips to share with you from Day 1;

  • Don’t leave it too late to start your daily write…
  • at the same time – make sure it is the optimum time for you – when you feel ready and willing.
  • Set yourself up first, I had the laptop on ready then got my notebook and research (images) to hand, opened the word doc. and started…
  • Take a break if you have to. (I didn’t)
  • Although you need to focus on the writing (especially in the light of no editing rule) make sure your mind stays 1 step ahead of where you are writing (if you can.)
  • Keep breathing.
  • If you are tiring – check your word count – you may find you are closer to the end of today’s writing than you think.
  • Push for more as long as you are not feeling the burn. My initial word count revealed I had managed 1644 words, I could have stopped – nearly 1667, but I had more story left in me and know that there will be days when I struggle to pass 1000 words, so as I was

a) still awake

b) still running with an idea

c) not hungry

I carried on and eventually reached 1893, so close to 1900 I could dance with glee!

  • Work offline if you can (I did) and avoid all distractions. (I have spent the past hour and a half shut in the lounge on my own, with only the sound of rain for company.)
  • Increase the size of your viewing screen. I treated myself to 200% tonight – no need to squint, like reading big print library books, but keeps mind focused on the words without a subconscious cell trying to identify the letters!
  • Have plenty of light. A well lit room is a MUST. Our pumpkins are burning away with tea-light energy next door, I have the main light on in the lounge.
  • Save your work in separate folders or at least separate documents. This will make organisation and editing much easier post-NaNo… yes, there will come a time when you are NOT writing 1667 words a day!
  • BACK UP! You must back up that writing – external hard-drive is the ideal. I have used a memory stick and the hard drive!
  • ENJOY! The moment you don’t – take a break!


Nanowrimo Resources

Nano Survival Tips

Nano Song

My 1st NaNo

Nano The Real Reason Writers Keep Notebooks

Nano Posts Begin

Here are some tips from James Patterson direct from the NaNoWriMo inbox;

Cup NaNoWriMo

Here are some tips on making it to December 1 without going crazy or giving up. (Though if you have to do one of them, I’ve always found sanity overrated.)

Outline. If you already have: gold star; proceed to the next piece of advice. If you didn’t, don’t worry, because it’s never too late to go back and make an outline. An outline isn’t something to be scared of, it’s just a chapter-by-chapter description of the scenes that, lined-up together, make your book. On the count of three, tell me the story that unfolds in your novel. All the way to the last chapter. Now write that down. There’s your outline. Easy, right?

Lie to yourself. Honesty is a great quality, but we’re writing fiction here, so you’d better get used to a little light lying. Tell yourself you can do this. Tell yourself your book will be great. The world will love it and you’ll be the next J.K. Rowling, J.D. Salinger, Art Spiegelman, or whatever flavor of author you hope to become.

Get into a writing routine. Think it’s hard to write every day during NaNo? Most professional writers keep this kind of pace all year round. Holidays, birthdays, vacations—you name it, we’re writing. The trick is making writing into a daily habit. Same time. Same place. Same hot beverage of choice. Every. Single. Day. Again. And. Again.

Don’t do it alone. If you live with somebody, tell them to be unpleasant to you if they see you doing anything else during your writing time. Buy them a water gun. If you live alone, have friends call and check on you. And if you have no friends, you will have no trouble writing a book in 30 days. What else do you have to do? (I’m not knocking friendless people. We’ve all been there.)

Don’t stress. I don’t mean to undermine the above, but remember this is one month, not your entire writing career. Try hard, learn from it, and if you don’t get to 50,000 words, figure out what you did wrong so you can get there next time.

Stop reading this. Start writing. Now. (Or at midnight your time.)



James Patterson writes suspense and thriller books for kids, teens, and adults. He holds the Guinness World Record for the most New York Times bestsellers of any author.


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