Should You Write Your Story in Chronological Order?

I wrestled with this question leading up to NaNoWriMo this year. Should I attempt to write my story in chronological order, even in the first draft?

You see, until the story I wrote for NaNo, I had not yet written any fictional story in chronological order. In fact, it’s rare that I write much of anything in order, including essays for school or documents for work. I tend to start with what I know or what seems like the most fun part to write, and then I rearrange later as I shape the work and figure out what I want it to be.

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Winning NaNoWriMo

I did it. I won NaNoWriMo!

I wrote 50,035 words, and I did it in the span of 30 days. And honestly, it doesn’t feel real yet. Even though I’ve scrolled through all of that text — all the good and the bad, the parts I love and hate. Even though I know that quite a few hours of my November were spent writing, I’m still in awe. Me? The procrastinator? The “I don’t write fiction” girl? The one who used to say “I don’t have time to write”? The same person who frantically wrote 15K just this weekend because I wanted to win? Yep. That girl. Somewhere, somehow, and quite possibly by magic, I did it.

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NaNoWriMo 2014: Week One Check-In

It’s hard to believe one week of November, and thus, one full week of NaNo is already behind us. I can’t believe it. Next thing I know, it will be over and I’ll be putting up a Christmas tree!

So, how’d week one go? Well, for me, it went better than expected, all things considered. This week was busier than I thought it would be. (I thought this was going to be my “quiet” week in November. Oh, how wrong I was.) Thus, with not anywhere near as much time on my hands as I had hoped, and only two dedicated writing sessions this week, I’m happy to report that my word count is not abysmally off par.

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My Plans for NaNoWriMo This Year

Throughout the month of October, I’ll be posting a few blogs about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which is in November. As I had such a positive experience last year, I’ll be talking about why I recommend it and how to survive it. #WhyNaNo

Now that I’ve talked about why you should do NaNoWriMo and how to survive it, what are my personal plans for NaNoWriMo this November?

Before I answer that, let’s take a moment to examine what’s led up to now in the past year.

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6 Tips for Surviving NaNoWriMo

Throughout the month of October, I’ll be posting a few blogs about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which is in November. As I had such a positive experience last year, I’ll be talking about why I recommend it and how to survive it. #WhyNaNo

The main way to survive NaNoWriMo is to just keep writing. NaNoWriMo’s point is to produce a first draft, not a brilliant masterpiece. Sit down and write, every day, and fifty thousand words or not, you’ll be somewhere you weren’t a month before. Aside “just keep writing,” here are six tips for staying on track.

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5 Reasons to Participate in NaNoWriMo

Throughout the month of October, I’ll be posting a few blogs about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which is in November. As I had such a positive experience last year, I’ll be talking about why I recommend it and how to survive it. #WhyNaNo

1. Seriously, why not?

NaNoWriMo!This question propelled me into NaNo last year. In college, I said that I would write a book before I turned 25. As that birthday approached, I realized I had done nothing to try to obtain that goal. NaNo seemed like as good a way as any to write a novel.

And honestly, it’s just 30 days. That’s what I told myself. If this goes horribly wrong and I hate it, what have I lost? A few evenings and weekends in one month? I figured that was a small price to pay to see if I could accomplish something I’d always wanted to try.

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Campfire Stories

After participating in NaNoWriMo in November, I wasn’t sure if I would also gather ’round for their “camp” sessions, which are less structured, and can have any target word count. I thought I should save up that kind of marathon energy for a once-a-year event.

By the time April rolled around, though, I knew a deadline was all that was going to motivate me to knock out some crucial scenes for the novel I started in November. I figured, why not just a little campfire story? Surely I can work time for that into my schedule. (And maybe sneak in a few chocolates and marshmallows while “camping out” with @NaNoWordSprints, my favorite writing prompt buddies!) So I set a small goal of 10,000 words, which I handily achieved.

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NaNoWriMo 2013: I feel like a winner!

By the numbers, I didn’t “win” NaNoWriMo. I didn’t clinch the prize of having a draft filled with 50,000 words, and I certainly do not have a document that is in any way ready for publishing. But, I feel like I won. I attempted something that I would have typically considered impossible, and just the fact that I was able to get somewhere with it … Continue reading NaNoWriMo 2013: I feel like a winner!

NaNoWriMo 2013: Sprints can surprise you

If you’ve ever competed in a sport, you probably know that your body can surprise you sometimes, especially when you push it to the limit and a prize is in sight. Writing sprints are no different from a physical sprint. It’s just for your brain. You tell your brain, “Hey, guess what? We’re gonna go FULL POWER NONSTOP and see what happens!” At first, your … Continue reading NaNoWriMo 2013: Sprints can surprise you

NaNoWriMo 2013: I’m doing it!

I don’t often get motivated enough to write in my spare time like I dream of doing in my head. In order to put an end to that, I’ve finally decided (after many years of saying “next year”) to dive into NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writing Month. This is also how I intend to honor a promise I made to myself in college as an … Continue reading NaNoWriMo 2013: I’m doing it!