The only advice you need for NaNoWriMo. Period.

National Novel Writing Month, known as NaNoWriMo to its fans and detractors, kicks off today. The idea is that in 30 days, anyone who sets his or her mind to it can write a 50,000-word novel. That comes out to about 175 pages -- short for a novel, but not easy to pull off in a single month.

So there are many people who seek -- and offer -- advice on how to make it happen. I'm one of them, and I've got all you need:

Get off the Internet.

You still here? That's all right. Let's continue.

One of the genius things about NaNoWriMo was that it used the new technologies of the Internet to connect people who were all trying to do the same thing at the same time. In the 13 years since it was founded, NaNoWriMo has developed a robust website that has very useful prompts, words of encouragement, places for sharing frustration and finding others doing NaNoWriMo who are the same age as you, or writing in the same genre as you, or living in the same town as you. This you can use. You can go to Then...

Get off the Internet.

Do not go to Facebook. Do you need to see pictures of babies in Halloween costumes? No, you do not. Do you need to see wall posts about the election? No. Take time to vote, but don't let Internet-style politicking get in the way of NaNoWriMo. Do you need to get an invitation to your friend's karaoke birthday party next week? No. You can't go, you'll be writing. And those photos of the awesome parties you missed while you were hard at work? Better not to look. Why torture yourself?

Get off the Internet.

Maybe you have friends and family who are suffering from super storm Sandy. Yes, go on the internet to communicate with them. But do not get sucked into news organizations' photographs of the devastation -- they'll be there when November is over. So will the stories, tragic and heartening, about people who were hurt by the storm and the people who helped them. When December first rolls around, you can find out what happened to that dangling crane. Now, however, you actually don't need to know about it.

Get off the Internet.

Stop looking at Twitter. Do you know how frequently people were tweeting about #nanowrimo on Nov. 1, Day One of NaNoWriMo? One about every five seconds. That's 720 tweets an hour, 17,280 tweets a day. If you took the time just to skim a portion of those, do you know how much writing time you will have lost?

Get off the Internet.

Listen, I love the Internet. And I love NaNoWriMo -- I started once, but didn't finish. I tried: I made new routines that prioritized writing, didn't worry about things like cooking and laundry, postponed social obligations. And still, I ran out of steam. Because getting 50,000 words into semi-coherent sentences in just 30 days with characters and dialogue and plot and a beginning, middle and end -- that's hard. It's going to be really, really hard, and there's no time to waste. So...

Get off the Internet.

Here are things on the Internet you might want to click on. I suggest, that for the next 30 days, you do not. Jane Austen's handwritten manuscripts, digitized. A picture from Mars. Discovering the reason behind Octomom checking into rehab. Tattoos inspired by "Watership Down." Amazing cave photos. Maru. The debunking of "Ancient Aliens" on the History Channel. A 19th century mousetrap and other odd inventions. Yoda with human skin color. A photo guide to the locations in "Tale of the Genji." The Chronicles of Narnia (Lazy Sunday) video again. And yes, Jacket Copy. All will be here when you get back. Now, for one last time:

Get off the Internet.

And good luck.


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