You’ve got #NaNoProblems this November, and we’ve got solutions:
Problem: Your MC seems dull and lifeless, and you are much more interested in the subplot of a minor character.
Solution: Demote your main character and shift the focus to the plot you are finding interesting. A lot of the fun of NaNoWriMo is discovering the real story buried in your intentions. While a background character who only speaks in Heroic Couplets may have been initially added for comedic effect, their exploits might prove to be much more interesting than what you planned out (or pantsed out). You can go back and edit the beginning in December, but for now pick up the new narrative thread and keep going.
Problem: You are epically behind on your word count and feel there is no recovery.
Solution: We’ve all been there, and week two always feels like you are staring down a long corridor where the exit gets farther and farther away the more you rush forward. Even if you haven’t written anything AT ALL, there is still time. There are people even more daring than you and I who wait until the end of week two to start writing because they love the intense pressure of being that behind. There are even people who write two novels at once, or set their goal to 100,000 words instead of 50,000 and lap us all. The point of bringing your attention to these brave daredevils is to show you that there is always hope. Use the weekends to make a significant dent in your word deficit. Butt in chair, fingers on keyboard is the only way to get through the month.
Problem: Your immune system is breaking down because you’ve only been sleeping three hours a night and have become a permanent fixture in the drive thru of your local fast-food establishments.
Solution: November is a precarious month for your health and the added stress of trying to write a novel in under a month is only going to add another layer of danger. Invest in some travel hand sanitizer and wash your hands often. Try to prepare more fruit and veggies type snacks for writing and boost your intake of healthy, vitamin filled foods. Try not to let your writing time cut into your coveted sleep time. Writing time is important, but if you fall victim to Zombie Plague it will severely hinder your productivity (more so than taking it easy will).
Problem: You are bored of your writing space and feel like if you have to spend one more minute at your desk looking at your computer you will go insane.
Solution: Take this show on the road! Pack up your laptop or grab a pen and notepad and hunt for a change of scenery. Be it a coffee shop, a dimly lit bar, a park, or an art gallery, getting out of your space and into a new environment will reinvigorate your writing mojo, and provide the added bonus of people watching and eavesdropping which could help fuel the dialogue for the tricky scene you are working on.
Problem: You are too distracted by Twitter and keep falling into a Tumblr black hole every time you sit down to write.
Solution: Disconnect. The. Internet. Hear me out! I know it sounds crazy, but without the constant alerts you will be 300% more productive and you will be unable to stray from the task at hand. Put your phone on airplane mode and leave it in another room while you’re at it. If Internet blackout seems to extreme, another technique is to set your word processor to full screen mode, which will block out the rest of your desktop and allow you to focus on writing.
Problem: I am having X, Y, Z problem with my plot, character, dialogue, pacing…
Solution: Since there is no catch-all solution for the minutia of your complex novel, feel free to tweet your questions to @HouseofAnansi using #NaNoProblems and we will do our best to creatively dig you out of plot holes and liven up your heroes. We’ll be tackling writing problems all weekend on Twitter so don’t be shy! We’re here to help.