NaNoWriMo has arrived! A month-long challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. Day 1 of NaNoWriMo is the most important and often the most dreaded day of the month. But this does not mean that you are on the verge of failure. A few simple tricks will keep you going strong. The novel that is inside of you wants to come out and NaNoWriMo is your opportunity to do just that. Do not let the pressure of the first of writing stop you from reading your writing goals.
Day 1 of NaNoWriMo
Though the challenge spans thirty days, by far the hardest day is the first. Despite spending the previous days, weeks or even months getting ready for NaNoWriMo, day one presents a unique challenge. Many writers are familiar with it. It is the dreaded curse of a blank word document and the flashing cursor. That little line flashing repeatedly is begging for you to start writing. Yet, putting those first few words down can feel like an impossible task.
How does one even start writing? The first sentence is so important if I mess that up, the entire book is ruined!
Trust me, I have felt this way before. In fact, my biggest struggle with writing has always been right at the start. I feel like that first sentence or paragraph truly sets the tone for what the rest of my writing experience will be like. If I can’t get that done perfectly then all is lost.
However, it’s not true. While it does feel near impossible to get those first few words down, they will not prevent you from writing your novel. Besides, the thing to remember is that NaNoWriMo isn’t about writing a perfect draft. It is about writing fifty thousand words. They do not need to be ready to publish the second that you are done with writing. That is what editing is for. So, what does it take to get through your first day of writing? It all boils down to just a couple of things.
So, how do you get around this first hurdle?
For me, I find that two things help.
Firstly, write down the title of your project. Don’t know what to call it? There are a few options. You can put “NaNoWriMo 2019′ or simply go with ‘Title’. It’s not the most glorious start, but at least there are a few words on your screen now.
Secondly, is the chapter. At this point, it will either be Chapter 1 or Prologue.
Now that there are a few words sitting there, that first sentence will be a bit easier to write.
You don’t have to write your novel in order
That’s right. You do not need to write from page one to the end. If the middle of your story is fresh in your mind, start with that. More often than not, I start my writing at the middle point. I often find that this helps me get into the writing mindset. Putting your character smack dab into the middle of it all can help you better develop them in the first few chapters.
Some writers will actually start at the end and work backward. There is no one right way to do it. You need to find your writing rhythm, but once you do, the words will quickly add up.
Don’t forget to take breaks
You may want to spend every minute of day one writing, yet doing so will cause burn out. It’s great that you want to get a solid start on your story, but remember to take breaks. Step away from the computer or your notepad for a few minutes. Get outside and take in some fresh air and sunshine. A short change in scenery will not only gives your eyes a break but can even reinvigorate your desire to write.
Stay hydrated and remember to eat!
It’s so easy to lose focus on everything around you while you put that first bit of work into your novel. However, you must remember to eat and drink. It’s vital to keep you going. Take a drink of water after every paragraph or two. Be sure to use your break time to get some food into you as well. Remember that survival kit you make full of snacks and drinks!
Get ahead if possible
While the goal is to write 1667 words each day, it can be truly beneficial to write as much as you can. Especially on that first day. There is something satisfying with knowing that you wrote extra that day. It gives you a boost the next day to do the same. Plus, this will help you counteract any days when life gets in the way and your writing is forced to take a backseat.
Whether you have already started writing or are just getting ready to sit down for day 1 of NaNoWriMo, these tips can help you. Let those words flow, bring that story to life and most of all have fun. You are going to create an amazing novel, so get out there and write!