I love to participate in NaNoWriMo, but this year for the first time I'll have a full-time job during November. Is it feasible to write less on weekdays and "make up" for it on the weekend? Should I try to squish in extra time during my lunch break, or do all my writing in the evening and risk not getting to bed on time? Should I do extra prep work to try and combat writer's block? I usually "pants" my writing because if I plan overmuch my brain starts to trick itself into thinking "You already wrote that, this is boring" and refuses to actually flesh out the details. Any advice?
Do not put pressure on yourself by saying "Oh, I can write more at the weekend to compensate what I've missed during the week." You will throttle your motivation, you will strangle your creativity. You will get, what you fear most: writer's block.
Should you write in the evening and risk to get not enough sleep? Well, why do you think they call it "Thirty day and nights of literary abandon"? They mean it.
Don't do prep work, just write. That's what it is all about. Write when you find time. Learn to say "no" to people who want to interrupt. If there is no emergency (fire, injury), write!
How can you achieve your daily goal? First you have to define one. You have 30 days, 50,000 words to write. With a rough estimate of 220 words per page you have to write 7 to 8 pages per day.
Do that. Sit down in the evening and if you haven't written enough during lunch break, write till you have 8 pages. It doesn't matter what. If you think it does not make sense, keep writing. If you think it does not fit to what you wrote yesterday, keep writing. If you know for sure, that the world will laugh at you for this moronic nonsense you are producing, keep writing.
If you cannot make 8 pages for what reason soever, don't sweat it. Try to write 8 pages the next day. Do not try to add the missing pages to the work goal of the next day. The worst thing that can happen is, that you have on December 1st only 40,000 words written. Then you missed the goal, yes, but you have 40,000 words you would not have written otherwise.
The way Nanowrimo is designed, you are supposed to write by the seat of your pants. The idea is you just write, without analysing or thinking much. You can create a short 1-2 page plot summary, but plotting the whole story and all the characters will take too much time.
The reason for this is- most people fail at writing not because of poor plotting / characterisation, but because they fail to complete their book.
I used to write at lunch, but it attracts too much attention (especially if you bang on the keyboard like me :) ). Unless you are willing to answer a lot of questions, I suggest you get a laptop, and find a quiet place.
If you get writer's block, just write about not being able to write! Regards it getting boring- just add variety. Add humour, even if your book is serious, add romance, even if you are writing a zombie novel, add kung fu fighting to a literary novel. Since the goal is just to write, it doesn't matter if the story doesn't make sense.
Sounds like you shouldn't try to plan tho story since that tends to block you.
I've won Nano twice. Both times I wrote by hand in whatever scrap of time I had--not typing it up until the month was over. (You'll want to type up a page or two to figure out how many words you write per page, though.) Don't worry about messy handwriting or misspelled words or editing your handwritten stuff. Just keep going.
Unlike one of the previous responses, I think you should add missing pages to the next day--or better, keep track of how many words you have to write each day to finish on time. You start at 1,667, and if you miss too many days, you'll soon find yourself having to do 3,000 a day. That's a good motivation to not miss.
I actually did NanoWriMo during July and it wasn't that hard. Thinking it over via Mathematics, a person would have to write 560 words, 3 times a day for the whole month of November. It usually took me about an hour to write 560 words and whenever I felt stuck, I usually type what I have written on paper to the computer, also to save my hand from cramping. Making NaNoWriMo into small chunks makes it easy, now its just up to the person to decide if they are will to stay committed.
I am participating for the NaNoWriMo for the first time this year and it seems exciting with the way it has pumped me up. There was also a contest where I had to submit a 1500-2500 word story which I almost couldn't until the last moment. I decided that no matter I will...and I did. The very last day when I was travelling to work, I typed the whole story out on my phone and made a submission.
I think for NaNoWriMo too, it is the motivation and devotion that you are willing to put in. I started off yesterday with just 501 words, but that's okay. I go on, everyday and not put stress on myself solely relying on the weekends.
Everyday, whenever you get time, rather make time, to write, as much as you can. Just keep in mind that you don't have to completely force yourself to it but enjoy the process for you are given a chance to make something beautiful. Also, if you think you are repeating yourself, it doesn't matter, you can give yourself the editing time and rephrasing time later. Any details that come out definitely has some value and you just pour in, into words.
All the best!