This will be my thirteenth time doing NaNoWriMo, looking at getting my eleventh novel finished. I have a plot, an idea, and some disasters to deploy, and even a way to include the Travelling Shovel of Death. I have a few tactics for surviving the event:
Donate to NaNoWriMo
If you donate, you are more likely to finish your novel. You also purchase good novel-karma and fund the deployment of guilt-monkeys (a crucial motivational tool). NaNoWriMo runs on donations, and even a $10 donation gets you a halo. You’d look great in a halo.
Output before input
No reading books, no watching TV or movies, no surfing the internet until your words are done for the day. My goal is 2000 words a day, with a 3k goal at weekends.
Pick a 50k prize for yourself, and do not allow yourself to have that prize unless you reach 50k. Husband bribed me one year with a season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer DVDs, which were kept with receipt in a cupboard until I hit 50k.
Practice tactical slacking
During NaNoWriMo, it is OK to order pizza instead of cooking a sumptuous handmade dinner with carved butter in the shape of swans and three fish courses. Figure out what you’re going to give up to carve out time to write, and stick with it. Maybe your reward can be a visit by a cleaning service in December.
Write on schedule
My writing schedule is a bit before work, more at lunchtime, and finish up after work. Every single day. No exceptions. Figure out what your schedule is and hold fast to that commitment.
Separation of concerns
My novel lives on my personal Macbook Air in Scrivener format. Novel info lives in a Dropbox folder, or in a notebook and index cards. Novel stuff does not touch the work machine, or any other machine.
Have a roadmap
As of now, my plot is four pages of handwritten notes, 12 index cards (one for each chapter), and some loose notebook pages. I have a rough idea of where I want my novel to go, and what happens in the end. I expect the plot bunny to throw a wrench in my roadmap, but that’s OK, I have enough to get moving.
Introvert in company
A local NaNoWriMo meetup, or write-in, is a great way to gather a bunch of introverts so we can ignore each other in company. Write-ins are also fabulous places when you have a plot problem, you can just say “Hey, my female lead is stuck in a mine shaft with a sack of rubber ducks and a shovel, how does she escape the cave trolls heading her way?” and get several answers.