Tips for NaNoWriMo 2013 from Esteemed Portsmouth Writers and Authors

by Crystal Paradis-Catanzaro

On the cusp of NaNoWriMo 2013, approximately 20 people gathered at the Portsmouth Public Library this evening to get advice and inspiration from published authors and past NaNoWriMo participants. This is my third year participating in NaNoWriMo, but I always find helpful tips at these gatherings—tips that pop into my head as I stare bleary-eyed at the words of my novel as they fill the screen at at a pace altogether too slow for my liking.

My third NaNoWriMo year!
First to the podium was my pal Jeff Deck. Jeff published The Great Typo Hunt a couple of years ago, and is in the process of finishing up his next book. He did a great job setting the stage, answering the “Why?” factor. There are many barriers to writing—jobs, houses, pets, children, relationship, sleep, etc.—so if you have a story to tell, you need something to push you into the telling: and that’s what NaNoWriMo is all about. Jeff would know—he’s done NaNoWriMo 11 years in row!


Jeff makes the case for NaNoWriMo in the PPL Levenson Room

Former Portsmouth poet laureate Maren Tirabassi was next. She suggested looking at the calendar and finding five days in November that writing would be the most difficult (e.g., Thanksgiving) and crossing those out, leaving 25 days with a round 2,000-word goal. This eliminates the guilt of falling short of a daily 1,666-word goal.

Maren Tirabassi gives her NaNoWriMo tips.

We also heard from Tammi Truax and Terri Bruce—both published authors who have previously participated in NaNoWriMo, but have used it as a way to accomplish custom personal writing goals without necessarily being tied to the 50,000-word novel. Tammi said that NaNoWriMo has taught her that she can do more than she previously thought possible. She now writes in 750-word blocks, something she never did before NaNoWriMo. Terri has used NaNoWriMo to glean tips and meet other writers, and as a lunching pad for new projects. She completed 24,000 words her first year and 17,000 her second year, which made her very happy.

View my full notes from the Kick-off Party over on SlideShare, and join me back in the Levenson Room later this month for publishing talk!

The Portsmouth Public Library is a NaNoWriMo Come Write In site for the 3rd year in a row!

Are you ready? Excited? Find me on twitter at @laughtercrystal and let me know if you’re taking the NaNo plunge—or ask me how I’m doing! I need to be kept accountable…

Write On!