Tomorrow is going to be a scary start to November. Personally, it’s because I’ll be amping up my 500-words-a-day goal to about 1600 words a day. Bis später, free time. ‘Tis the NaNoWriMo season, and lots of people are gonna write the crap out of their novels.
I gave a presentation at work about NaNoWriMo (I know, pretty sick) and I wanted to share what motivational tips I can to show you why at least participating in NaNo is worth the stress during one of the most stressful months of the year (especially for students) and how you can get the most out of this goal.
Know Your Reward
If writing like a fiend every day doesn’t fit into your normal schedule, what kind of rewards or accomplishments would make the sweat and tears worth it? Here’s just a short list of what there is to be earned through being a NaNo participant—especially if you win:
- Multiple platforms to self publish (e-books and print).
- Free self-help e-books from NaNoWriMo on what to do with the manuscript.
- Scrivener and other computer programs for writing are 50% off.
- 50,000 words you didn’t have before.
I personally believe that you have to pick something that is worth striving for to really make it; know what is most important to you and go and achieve that thing. For example, my goal is to either reach the 50,000 crossing line or finish the novel, Speechless—whichever comes first. The complete manuscript is what I want. What do you want? Remember that you get to determine what you consider your achievement to be—and remember that the only person you should aim to please is yourself.
Have a Writing Buddy
You can’t go in there alone if you want to make it out alive. Find your Sam to your Frodo, people.
True story: last year, I got sick during the first week of NaNo. The first week. It was a struggle. Because I didn’t write during that time, it meant that I was always behind for the rest of the month. I was able to pace myself, but I know that I would’ve given up too early had I not had enough people asking me about the goal, as well as my now-husband who actually made sure I was writing.
The purpose of writing with others is to remind you that your idea for a novel is awesome! Halfway through, you might question whether or not the idea is good enough to finish or why you bothered in the first place. For me, if I know someone else believes in my work, it makes it easier to overcome these feelings of self-doubt.
If you find a writing buddy, come up with a time each day or at least once a week where you can sit and write together. When possible, support each other’s accomplishments—either with public shoutouts or delicious snacks.
If you want a lot of support online, you can definitely count Travis and me in. You can find Travis and Whitney on NaNoWriMo. Add us as writing friends! We’re always interested in hearing what others are up to.
A writing buddy will ultimately make this month more fun, and at minimum—survivable.
Just Write the Dang 50,000 Words
If you read our last post, then you’ll know there’s some merit to flash fiction, or simply writing on a timer. You can follow @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter to get official sprints. They’ll announce the beginning and end of a sprint. You’ll be surprised at how many decent words can arise from 30 minutes of writing and only writing.
If you need some kind of structure, meet up with your regional group. Travis and I went to a few group meetings at our local library. It was a great environment to just write and get it done.
This is also a time where you’re not allowed to edit. Please, just don’t do it to yourself. Heavy words from an editor, I know. If it helps, just write things in a block of text and quickly fix it up it once you’ve hit your daily word count.
Please also take care to BACK UP YOUR PRECIOUS PRECIOUS NOVEL. A coworker shared the ultimate horror story during my presentation: all of his writing was on his laptop and it was stolen from his car during the challenge. The project and years’ worth of writing were lost in an instant and he couldn’t bring himself to write for quite some time. That’s a burden that no one should bear.
Also remember to just pace yourself with a calendar or manageable daily goal to get you gradually there.
Hopefully, this helps you grin and bear your November writing goals. This post was just as much for us as it is for you. We hope that you do well this month—whether you NaNo it up or not. What suggestions would you have for first-time participants? What are your goals for this month?