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NaNo-2015-Participant-Badge-Large-SquareCome Sunday, it will be that time of year again. The time of writing meet-ups, all-nighters, and frantic pounding at keyboards to meet last minute word quotas. There is something exciting and addictively nerve wracking about joining people across the country and even the globe in getting to that 50k word mark. No pressure, right?

I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month for two or three years now with pretty good success overall (if I do say so myself). Due to my (clearly vast and indisputable) experience, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve learned from participating this glorious tradition.

1. It doesn’t have to be perfect.

The whole point of NaNo WriMo is to write a draft—a draft. Drafts just need to be done. It’s okay to focus on word count for the next 30 days. Those plot holes, halfway character development, and inconsistencies can wait for now.

2. Actually, it does have to be perfect.

While you should not stress about editing during this phase, you do have to be sure and do it later. The months following NaNo WriMo mark a veritable deluge of questionable submissions flooding the inboxes of literary agents (almost all of which are deleted without a second glance). If you’re looking to publish traditionally, take a few months to polish up your work before submitting. If you’re looking to self publish, definitely take all the time you need. You’ll have a better finished manuscript and your characters will thank you for it.

3. Hang in there.

You may not write the requisite 1,667 words everyday and it’s alright. Slow progress is still progress and you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself.

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Yes, I totally stole that post title from a meme.

4. It’s supposed to be fun.

Forget about Little Mr./Miss Goody-Two-Shoes over there who’s done halfway through the month. I promise you, most people will be struggling with their word count just like you and I. Chat with other writers. Make friends. Relax and enjoy yourself a little. Kick the green-eyed monster to the curb.

5. FUN, I tell you!

Even if you don’t make it to 50k, that doesn’t mean you aren’t on your way to a great story or becoming a fantastic writer. Remember that the whole point of this is to express your creativity and self—to have fun.

If you’re participating this year, I’d love to be writing buddies! Friend InkspelledFaery here.

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