“With all first novels, you have to work and work, sentence by sentence,” D’Aguiar said. “Imagine taking a walk and being aware of every single step you take, it makes for a long walk. It can be a bit of a grind, but it’s rewarding once you’ve done the walk.”
D’Aguiar has written both novels and short stories about slavery in the U.S. as his primary theme, wanting to write historically from the perspective of the silent and dispossessed. His first novel was written in 1994 and titled “The Longest Memory”.
Writers who take on the challenge of NaNoWriMo are likely to also face unforeseen problems, like those that Garrett is dealing with.
“My problem right now is that I’m using real life as inspiration, and I’m finding myself writing things as they actually happen, rather than using them as inspiration,” she said. “I’m trying to get away from that and make more of my own, rather than transcribe a real life event.”
To stay on top of her goal, she has a writing schedule.
“Just write,” she said. “Try to make sure you meet the daily word count, because it’s very easy to get behind very quickly.”
Despite being unable to participate in NaNoWriMo, Lower is still taking part in another writing challenge to write for 10 minutes a day. In addition, she is trying to be supportive of her friends who are participating in NaNoWriMo.
“Scheduling is one of the most important things you can do,” she said. “Figure out when you work best, what time of day that is and what time you’ve got down time, and use all those spare moments that you might otherwise use checking Facebook, updating statuses, that kind of thing.
“And just really focus on the minutes you have in a day, because sometimes it’s not so much about making word count as it is about finding the time.”
In addition to scheduling, Lower suggests that writers who are trying NaNoWriMo should find themselves a community of friends who are also participating, who can provide support when things get tough.