NaNoWriMo Nov Day 23: Sarah Rubin
It's day 23 of NaNoWriMo November! And joining us today on the blog is the wonderful Sarah Rubin, author of the Alice Jones mysteries – Sarah is no stranger to NaNoWriMo, and you can check out her awesome blog post about everything she's learned from taking part here. But for now, here are her top 5 tips for aspiring writers!
What would be your five top tips to budding writers?
1. Everyone will tell you this, but it’s so important I’ll say it again. Sit down and do it. Very helpful, I know, so my next four tips will be my tried and true tricks for tackling the very scary BWP (Blank White Page).
2. Start with what you love. For me, this is dialogue. A lot of my first drafts look like plays, with characters talking and the bare minimum of physical description. I like to write people talking, I hate to write what a place looks like and what everyone is doing (unless, of course, it’s important to what they’re talking about.) Everything else I come back and fill in later.
3. Don’t look. Cover your screen with a sheet of paper and type. It makes for awful alphabet soup, but for some reason it helps me get those first few paragraphs down without deleting and rewriting a million times.
4. Try writing in sprints. Set a kitchen timer for 5 or 10 minutes and write until it pings. Don’t stop typing no matter what. If you get stuck, write ‘I’m stuck, I’m stuck, I’m stuck’ until you’re not. Often if I start writing why I’m stuck I come up with a solution.
5. Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. That’s what editing is for. My first drafts are littered with notes to my future self about things to fix, plot holes I’ve just encountered and cryptic instructions such as MORE HERE. Turn off your automatic spelling and grammar check if they distract you and just tell me the story. How does it start? What happens next? And then? And then?
For those hoping to take part in NaNoWriMo or enter the Times/Chicken House Children’s Fiction Competition, what would be your best tip for writing something every day?
Do it first. It's so easy to let writing slip to the bottom of your to do pile. When I'm in serious get-words-down mode it always helps to make writing the first thing I do in the day (besides coffee ... and feeding my children). I won't check my emails or go online until I've hit my word count. If you've got school or a day job this might mean getting up early, but the satisfaction of knowing you've already done your writing as you tackle the rest of your to do pile is worth it!