Until a week before November 1st, I wasn't even sure I wanted to take part. After quitting early last time, I was wary. Besides, I write every day anyway, so why would I need to be a part of this craziness? Because I quit early last time, and so the challenge was on. This is what worked:
1) Taking inventory of what went wrong the last time. My 2012 project was Spring Fever, the third part in the romance series about Callie and Rebecca. The first book in the series had just been released, the second accepted for publication. The fact that Autumn Leaves was also my first published book, may have been a distraction, but I realized it wasn't good timing for writing the third in a series. I know other writers who work on a continuation for NaNo, it just wasn't for me. I did write Spring Fever, and it will be released early next year. For NaNo 2013, I picked a completely fresh project.
2) Accountablility, individually and in a group: During workdays, I aim at an average of 2,000 words. That's enough to win if you do it every day of those 30 days. I started with 6K on the first day, knowing there was no way I would keep up that pace, and that there would be a day here and there of no writing at all. For this NaNo, my goal was to have 2,000 by noon, and then add whatever I could. Plus, I found an awesome group of authors to have writing sprints with (some of which you can find over at Women and Words), often added another 1,000.
3) The story. I'm a political junkie, I admit it. I read many articles about Women's and LGBT rights, and I read the comments more often than I should. That once sparked an idea I held back until there was time for it, and when I started writing, the story just poured out.
4) Callie and Rebecca. My last excuse not to do NaNoWriMo this year would have been the fact that I was almost done with the first draft of the 4th and last book about the two of them. They had given me a tough time with Spring Fever, but writing the Summer part, it became very obvious that I'll have to let go of them at some point--and I didn't want to, not yet. Exodus, the NaNo story, allowed me to stall a little bit longer (not that much longer though. Now that I've won, they'll be back on top of my priority list soon).
In the end, it's only one thing that'll work: Write, write, write. Take a breath, write, enjoy, write, curse, write, have some chocolate, write, write, sit down to have a cup of tea with your wife, and then write some more.
By the way, on December 1st, I'll be celebrating the launch of my recent release, Secrets. This is an open Facebook event, so I'd be happy if you come celebrate with me! There'll be prizes. :)
Happy Thanksgiving & Happy Hanukkah!