I have a number of excuses for my ridiculously long absence from both this blog and the Teens Writing for Teens blog. Well - mainly two. One, I caught the flu just as Ramadhan was wrapping up (two weeks into September) and it clung to me like nothing else for three weeks. I managed to recover, but just in time for midterms. I have one midterm left, and then after that I have two papers to write. So things are calming down (papers are infinitely preferable to exams) but things are still a little hectic.

Anyway, National Novel Writing Month (better known as NaNoWriMo) is approaching. I thought I'd give out a few pointers to having a successful NaNo given that I've failed twice and succeeded once (you live and learn, right?).

Have an Idea: Some people might disagree with me (especially those that are really good at winging it) but having an idea, even a vague one, will help you so much. This way you have some kind of direction that you want to take your story in. Remember, NaNo is all about time. You don't exactly have time to sit and reminisce on where exactly you want to take your story. Knowing is key.

Set Goals: It's in your best interest to have clear goals in order to stay on track. Like I said before - NaNo is all about time - if you fall too far behind it's going to be really, really hard to catch up (and I speak from experience). I've found that it's good to set your goal a little higher than the per day average (and try to meet it as consistently as possible) because then if you fall back a few times, you'll have a buffer and a little more time to catch up.

Set Time: Make sure you actually have the time to complete NaNo (or like me, are willing to sacrifice crucial parts of your life for it, lol). If you don't have time to write 50k in a month, lower your goal or spread NaNo out for yourself over a greater amount of time (for example: November/December). I've said it before and I'll say it again: NaNoWriMo is all about time.

Have Fun: I know it sounds ridiculously cheesy, but the greatest part about NaNoWriMo is how much fun it is. If it stops being fun for you and becomes a job or a bullet point on a never ending to do list that you're dreading, then you aren't doing right. So, take it easy, have fun and remember: there's always next year!
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