Kick-starting NaNoWriMo on Day 1

It’s National Novel Writing Month again – an event I’ve supported annually the past few years, and so I’m re-running a few blasts from the past to help participants along. Starting with…

Five ways to kick-start NaNoWriMo on its first day

OK, so there you are with the plan you’ve made for your National Novel Writing Month story – all 50,000 words of it. You sit down at the computer. And –


What now? That winking cursor and blank page isn’t going to go away by itself.

NaNoWriMo isn’t really about word count – it’s all about output to time. That’s a basic skill any professional writer must learn – and learn early – if they are to be successful.

Sticking on starting is also normal. It happens to writers a lot. And there are ways around it. Why not try:

  1. Look at the plan. You – er – did write a plan…didn’t you? Is there a place you could start writing other than the first page? Chapter Two for instance.
  2. This technique works at any level. Stuck on the first words? Leave a blank space for the first sentence or two. Start half-way through the first paragraph. Then back-fill, later.
  3. Write the last paragraph of the book, first? This has all sorts of advantages of itself, not least being that you know where you are going.
  4. If you’re still stuck, write something else totally different – a blog post, an email. Anything. Just as a quick draft, maybe for 10 minutes. Then go back to your NaNo book.
  5. If you’re really, really stuck, start anyway. Write anything that sort of expresses what you want as your first sentence. It doesn’t have to be artistic. You can always change it later. Hey – that’s what word processors are for. This is the brute force method, and it’s one journalists sometimes fall back on when deadlines press.

A lot of the problem with getting ‘stuck on starting’ happens because it takes time to get into the mind-set you need to write. Once ideas begin flowing – certainly for me – they tend to keep flowing.

Good luck! And let me know how you get on.

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Meanwhile, if you want some top writing tips and hints, acheck out my quick-start manual How to get writing… fast. Available on Kindle.

Copyright © Matthew Wright 2015 and 2017