NaNoWriMo Tips from Edward Cox

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Calling all NaNoWriMo participants! We are very happy to bring you a special guest post from Edward Cox. Nominated for the British Fantasy Society Award for best fantasy and best newcomer, Edward Cox is the author of The Relic Guild trilogy. Today, he returns to the blog for some very important NaNoWriMo writing tips. 

It’s November again, and that means it’s NaNoWriMo time! Can you write 50,000 words in a month? (Good Lord, I wish I could write that amount every month!) And did you know that the fabulous Gollancz editors are opening their doors so you can submit your masterpieces? Well they are, and details can be found here. NaNoWriMo waits for no one, so here are five writing tips, which, in my humble opinion, will help to keep those fingers typing.

1. Write. Sounds obvious, doesn’t it? But I wonder how many times this has to be said before it is fully appreciated as the most fundamentally important piece of advice a writer can be given. NaNoWriMo is a short and intensive creative period, and no one is going to write your novel for you. So, sit down (or stand, as I do) and write. Then write some more. Only by writing can your story be written. Obvious, see?

2. Discipline. No matter how much you want to watch the latest box-set on Netflix, or how desperately you need to get back to that computer game that was made just for you, focus your mind and energy on your novel. Force yourself to make a start. Push through the procrastination, switch off social media, disconnect the internet and your smart phone, and attack the blank page with gusto! Once you make a start, not only will you surprise yourself by how quickly and easily you get into it, but also: see No.1.

3. Don’t listen to the demons. For they will eat your brain and drag your soul to hell. All writers suffer a lack of confidence at some point; all writers can hate their work at any given moment. But keep writing. Creating a first draft is the goal here. In truth, I would die of shame if my editor ever read my first drafts, and he’d probably never publish me again if he did! But the point of a first draft is to have something completed if not finished. You can redraft and edit and make your story shine and dance later, but for now, you did it! And always because of No.1.

4. Listen to the angels. For they will cover your face with kisses and sing your soul to heaven. Harness the good feels, those moments when you know you’ve got this, when you believe that no one else has ever created such a profoundly original work of literature in the history of the written word. These moments might not last, so it’s important that you let them inflate your confidence to keep moving forward. When No.3 comes calling again, try to remember how it felt to believe that Shakespeare didn’t have anything on you. And never ever forget No.1.

5. Write. Yep, this one again. You’ve probably spent a long time thinking about your story, making notes, plotting and planning, doing the research. Now it’s time to pool your knowledge and write your story. Personally, no matter how much planning I do, it’s always the surprises, the unseen aspects of my stories, which provide the best moments. Do not be afraid of your imagination. Do not dwell on the fixed plot that you think you have outlined. Just write your novel and follow wherever it leads you.

And good luck. NaNoWriMo lasts for the whole of November, and I wonder what tales will be weaved that might make it into bookshops soon. It’s exciting! (Also: No.1!)


Edward Cox is the author of epic The Relic Guild and The Cathedral of Known Things. You can follow him on Twitter @EdwardCox10.

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