Happy All Saints Day! Or in the writing world it is better known as DAY ONE for NaNoWriMo! That is National Novel Writing Month. It is a race against time to write and complete that pesky little novel that has been floating around in your mind for a while. Hopefully, you’ve already gotten your notecards or Scrivener set up and are ready to roll. But in case you haven’t, here are some tips for veterans and newcomers alike to begin your November right.

1. November 30th is not a deadline, but a goal line. Strive to finish by the end, but if you don’t, no biggie. In writing it is better that you finish well, not first. If the date of November 30th helps you focus then wonderful, but don’t let it get in the way of your story.

2. Procrastinators (I say while looking in the mirror) November 23rd is not the best time to start your work. Instead, you may want to outline your novel first and break it down into chunks that work well with your work and home schedule. (Yes, I’m talking to you, mom in the back row). Rome wasn’t built in a day and your galactic civil war won’t be written in a day either.

3. When your story changes (and it will) don’t panic. I wish I could tell you how many times I’ve sat down to work on my baby and hated everything that came after chapter two. It’s okay to let the story move a little, or a lot. But don’t give up on it. Just because you decided to erase that character in chapter five, you know, the one who makes chapter eighteen make sense, doesn’t mean your project is finished. Have faith in your story and in your ability to write what you are imagining. Remember, you are the only person who can tell this story and December 26th we will need new reading material for our tablets.

4. Don’t forget to stop and smell the fresh, warm, buttery rolls. Thanksgiving falls late in the month this year. You need to pace yourself and don’t forget to spend time with the people in your life who are important to you. And tell them to buy your book because you can’t afford to give out freebies (unless they want it as a Christmas gift.)

5. Keep a blank notebook nearby. It never fails, as soon as you start writing your story, a beautiful, shining pearl of a new book idea begins floating around your head like a fifteen pound butterfly. Too often this distracts from the story you are already writing. Capture that idea in the notebook, then close it. Knowing you have the idea on paper and won’t forget it, you can move on with your current big butterfly.

6. Sleep. Dream. Live. Go outside and see the sunshine. Keep living. Writing may be a big part of you, but it is still just a part. Don’t neglect your other parts.

Keep on writing. You’ve got this. I believe in you. And until next time….oh, excuse me for a second. I’ve got to capture a fifteen pound butterfly.

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