Six tips for writing shorts for Nanowrimo

As I mentioned in my last blog I’m busy doing Nanowrimo this month. But as usual I’m writing 50k of short stories in November not a novel. This is more useful for me, being as shorts are my day job. I thought I’d share some of how I work with you – in case it’s helpful. Here are my top tips.

  1. Keep them all in one document. I call mine Short Story Bonanza 2015 (Nano likes a title). And it’s easier to keep a word count if they are all in one place. I do start a new page for each story and I head it up with the date. (I don’t often have a title when I start a story.)
  2. I don’t necessarily start a new story each day.  I try to finish the one from the day before. After all, the object of doing Nano is that I write saleable stories and they have to be finished at some point. So I finish as many as I can in draft. But there might still be the odd one unfinished. And that doesn’t matter. Very freeing.
  3. Make Nano the first thing you do. I tend to get up early at least every other day and start at 6 ish. That way my words are often done by nine and I can get on with the rest of my day. I can’t tell you how good that feels!
  4. Use prompts to get going. I love A Writer’s Book Of Days by Judy Reeves. It has a prompt for every day of the year. Fabulous.  I’m not a plotter. I never have been. I sit at my desk, and I start typing. I trust the process. The main thing which stops us writing is us. Our lack of confidence. Our internal editors. Switch off these negatives and just write. You can do it.
  5. Do not use any Nanowrimo time for editing. Always do your daily word count first. Edit later. I edit most of my Nano stories in December. I like editing and it’s a lovely thing to do in December.  I do edit some of the Nano shorts in November. But I take them out of the main document and save them as a new document. I’m always cutting when I’m editing so I don’t want to be cutting any of my nano words, do I?
  6. Nano with a friend. I’ve got a writing friend coming over later today and we’re going to have a go at writing a story each, using the same theme. This makes it so much more fun. And it’s inspiring. And we can get feedback straight away should we want to edit the story and send it out before the end of Nano.
  7. Oh and one last bonus tip.Make sure you’re stocked up on coffee or biscuits! Or whatever you need to reward yourself! (cake in my case). We deserve it.

And if you’d like any help with writing short stories, please do check out my book, The Short Story Writer’s Toolshed. £2.49 for kindle or £4.99 for the paperback.

Happy Writing!


This entry was posted in ideas, Inspiration, NaNoWriMo, Tips on writing, Writing and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Six tips for writing shorts for Nanowrimo

  1. Julie Lees says:

    Great tips, Della. I’m struggling already, but I can see you’re ploughing along. Can’t get out of the habit of constantly stopping to edit when I’m writing. Need to regroup, and carry on.

  2. Tracey Walsh says:

    Excellent tips. I’m not doing Nano but I’m trying to write a short-short a day. I think the “not editing” tip will help 🙂

  3. Patsy says:

    No 3 is one I need to adopt, I think. If I don’t start off the day with writing, I might never get round to it.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.