For the past three years, I have not only been a NaNoWriMo participant, but I have joined the leagues of people who regularly aim above 50,000 words in 30 days. For years, people have looked at me like I was crazy when they hear either my ultimate goal or how many words I’ve managed to write in a given day.
There are several factors to achieving an impressive word count. Free time is a factor. The year that I had the freedom to write at work, I had a personal best for November. The year I had a full time job, I still managed to get past my goal and finish the story. It just took longer.
The second factor in reaching my goal is dedication. You have to be committed to your ultimate goal: finishing the story, hitting X amount of words, completing both story lines, etc. The year that I became an overachiever, I had one goal: finish my book. I didn’t know as I wrote that the book would be much longer than 50k. As my numbers rose, I was happy, but I was also keeping in mind the length of the story. I may have penned 5000 words in a given day, but I was still in the beginning of the story. I finally penned the final chapter the day after Thanksgiving. My ending total was 98k. I was disappointed that I hadn’t hit 100k, since I was so close. But I was done, which was my goal.
The last thing that has helped me write more than a normal NaNoer is how I manage my time when I’m not writing. When I am forced to leave the computer and interact with actual people, part of me is still thinking about the story. As I’m washing the dishes, I’m running through what happens next. I’m contemplating the next conversation as I’m taking out the trash. I’m planning the next two chapters as I’m driving down the road. I think about where the story will go before I fall asleep. I am focused on the story when I’m not at the computer typing.
This minimizes the time that I spend in front of my computer, staring at the blank page, willing words onto the page without my fingers moving. I do my fair share of that, too. But because I’ve spent my free time planning what I do know takes place, those moments are at least fewer than they could be.
While I usually have the most impressive word count in my local NaNo group at the end of the month, I am not the fastest typist. During the all-day events, my ML and her husband put my goals to shame. Last time, they both hit 12,000 in 9 hours. I had about 7,500 in the same period.
I’ve included that information to illustrate that you don’t have to be the fastest typist in your group in order to reach your goals. Slow and steady wins the race. Just keep on going, and you will reach where you want to be.
That is how I top 50,000 words in 30 days. Time, dedication, and planning when I’m not at the computer. Anyone can do it with a bit of practice. Don’t believe me? Try it during your next NaNo. See if it helps.
Speaking of the next NaNo season, the second session of Camp NaNoWriMo begins tomorrow. Pick your word count goal, find a cabin, and start writing! Check it out here!