Young Writers' Week 1 Advice

Posted by: Chris Angotti on 11/02/2012

We asked you for your best Week 1 advice, and you delivered. From procrastination, to brain food, to word wars, here are some of our favorite NaNo start ideas.

Just like with our NaNoPrep advice, keep in mind that everyone has a different way of starting this month of noveling. Borrow the best bits and do what feels right!


Figure out how many words you have to do each day to reach your goal and set reminders on your cell phone, pasted around the house, and written on your hands. If you miss a "deadline," remember to do double the next day so you don't fall behind. – oliviam02


Just stay inside your novel's world. This way, you always know what is going to happen! – UnperfectGoddess


Write! Don't wait until the end of the month, silly! – scarlettpen


While the ideas are still fresh in your head, HAVE AT IT! Pound those fingers on the keyboard, move that pencil as fast as you can! If you don't have writer's block, you should be WRITING! – zoe9467


Start with the beginning. If you can't think of anything but the first sentence, don't worry. Just write it down and think about what would happen next. Just don't freak out about anything. – Double_O_42


Ready, set, WRITE!!! Or not...

Sometimes it's hard to get started. After all, a blank page is pretty scary. It's kinda like a zombie—only instead of eating your brains, it eats your creativity. I wouldn't be surprised if, second to writer's block, a blank page was a writer's worst enemy.

Okay, so let's say you walk away from the blank page. If you were about to attempt killing a dragon, would you stand in front of said dragon thinking about it? NO! You'd hide from the dragon, and not come out until you knew what to do.

So, walk away, do something else. But while you're doing that think, think about it. And when an idea comes to you, sit down and flesh it out in your mind. And when you've got that scene ready, run and put it on that blank page as quickly as you can. Don't hesitate, don't stare at the page, type it out. And then run around yelling about how you conquered the blank page. Okay, so that last part is optional. – Princess Kitten


Write as much as possible. Those first days are a frenzy of excitement over finally being able to write something and you should ride that wave until you crash-land at the beach, your head in the sand that is Week 2. You will need those extra words, believe me. – Pleuche


Drink, eat, and please do remember to do homework. If you don't, you may spend time either at the doctor (or worse, hospital) or in the principal's office. – acbiskit


Head over to the Word Wars and Writing Prompts forum. These are usually really active, and ESPECIALLY active at the beginning of the month—so use the opportunity to stop by! Whether you win or lose, I guarantee they're loads of fun.

Stop by the forums for motivation (not procrastination). I know how easy it is to get lost in the forums, and leave your writing for later. Be wary of them. They're awesome and great for some support or even a break, but don't get too carried away. – the_doctors_fez_is_cool


Don't do word wars yet! Last year, I did a first-day word war, and I was intent on winning. I did 10K in one day, and to start off NaNo like that was a mistake. I was dizzy for the longest time, and every day after that I could barely churn out 400 words. Don't write with all your might until you need to! – RosieCottonsDancing


Stock up and suit up! Buy food to gnaw on when your brain dries up or when you get writer's block. Try to write a chapter or so every day. Make sure you plan out your story so it doesn't die a slow and painful death. – PhoenixBird42


Let people know what you're doing! I wore a pin on my shirt every day with my updated word count. I knew I was letting people down if the number didn't change the next day, so it never happened. – goomgirl


I once read this in an essay during my PSAT: "A writer must be ready to write all-out any time the story requires it. Hold back and you produce what just about any literate citizen can produce, a 'pretty good' piece of work." I think this is awesome advice for us Wrimos! We have to be ready to spurt whatever we can when we novel during November. – tomboytrouble


It is really fun if you have friends to work with, so have plenty of writing parties! But try to stay focused during them. – DarLynne


Don't freak out. It's amazing how many words you can churn out when you slather butt glue to the chair, sit down, and actually write. – MaryUnger


Start off strong, at 12:01 am on November 1, if your parents will let you stay up late. Otherwise, insist that they provide a special snack for when you get home from school that day so you can get right to work. – elkinsji


Just keep calm and write on! – MockingjayWriter


Don't worry if your ideas seem like huge blobs of jelly right now. Just get them down and you can worry about rearranging them and reshaping them into delicious novel PB&J sandwiches later. – Bunnilover


Sometimes, the best ideas come from your own history. On the first day (or fifth, if you're late like me), Just brainstorm ideas from your past. Think of books that inspired you to become an author and work from there. – Author15


Focus on your past experiences and chose a bizarre or unusual memory, change a few things, start writing, and then watch as a story as unique as you unfolds! – GigglyWriter


Sitting in class? Write! In the car? Write! Eating lunch? Write! Thinking of hanging out with friends? WRITE! Doing homework? Take a five- (or ten-, or ninety-) minute break and write! Take advantage of weekends, and THANKSGIVING BREAK IS YOUR FRIEND. – Yoda-of-Networking


Take a deep breath and let yourself go. Spelling? Grammar? Pfft, that can wait till the end. Enjoy it; you do this because you love it, so embrace the challenge. – Patch9891


Stick to your time set aside for writing and DON'T PROCRASTINATE!! This isn't school, so it should be easy not to procrastinate! – Salamanca Tree Hiddle


Try to get ahead while everything still seems glorious and golden and glittering and full of inspiration. Those extra words are really helpful on the rough days. – these_elegant_crimes


Don't care about how good it is; don't go back and check for mistakes. The only things you should worry about are A. Getting it done; and B. Sticking with the plot (to a certain degree). It can be tempting to write pages and pages of dialogue and character-driven scenes, but people get bored quickly and you have to remember the plot. And you do not want to bore your audience.

Boring your audience = your reader throws the book out the window = your reader has to pay for the neighbors' broken window = reader not happy = reader sends evil minions to strangle your characters. – OliveTreePrincess


Exaggerate your thoughts during the day to get ideas for writing. For example, your thought is, "I'm hungry." The exaggeration could be "[Character] felt close to death. He/She laughed deliriously and inched toward the rotten apple, going painfully slow." or "[Character] wondered when lunch was. He/She ambled into the kitchen, not knowing how important each step would be." – Amanda Vo


Don't be shy! Novel whatever your imagination wants. – katie819


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