Well, folks, it’s that time of year again! National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) starts in November. This is the magical time where so many of us writers will try to achieve the lofty goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. I’ve got five tips for y’all that will help you survive.
1. Let yourself be creative. You are not going to get words written if you are constantly second guessing yourself. If you are a planner, don’t be afraid to veer of course. If your story starts taking a turn you didn’t expect, just go with it! Let your imagination run wild. This is a time to really revel in the joy that comes with the creative process. It’s easy to get caught up in word counts and publishing goals, but don’t forget why you love writing in the first place.
2. Turn off the voice of the critic. Everyone has an editor or critic voice in their head. This is the voice that constantly says things like “this is boring” or “all of your characters sound the same” or “is this too much like TWILIGHT?”. NaNoWriMo is not the time for that voice. So tell her, “thank you for your input” but don’t listen to her. Put her away in a little box and when November is over, put away your draft for a month or so, and then take her back out when it’s time to start revising.
3. Find some inspiration. You want to keep yourself in the zone where you feel excited about your characters, your world, your story. Make a Pinterest board with images that remind you of your characters or your settings. Make a Spotify playlist of music that gets you in the mood to write. Watch movies with the same themes. Keep yourself inspired and in that creative mind frame.
4. Stay healthy. Don’t skip out on sleep because you need to stay up to get that word count in. Don’t skip meals or trips to the gym because you need to write. I promise you the writing will go a lot better if you are keeping yourself healthy. Even if you can’t manage to get to the gym, make sure you take little walking breaks here and there or try using an extender that allows you to stand up when you write. Have healthy snacks handy like fruit, nuts, granola bars, yogurt, etc. And don’t forget to drink lots of water!
5. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you get to the end of November and you’ve only written 30,000 words, you may feel like a failure. But you have still written 30,000 words!! 30,000 words you may not have otherwise written. Don’t feel like a loser because you didn’t “win” NaNoWriMo. Anyone who writes anything at all for NaNoWriMo is already a winner in my book. So celebrate every word you have managed to get down and keep writing!
For more tips on NaNoWriMo, check out the #ProjectWriteTube 2016 playlist. #ProjectWriteTube is a video series put together by Tamara Woods where a bunch of us WriteTubers create videos with tips about writing and NaNoWriMo to get everyone pumped up. I did a video last week about whether or not NaNoWriMo-ers are real writers. (Spoiler alert – they totally are.) Check that out, and check out the whole playlist! There are some really great videos on there. Speaking of WriteTube, I know it’s been a while, but I recently updated my WriteTube list so check that out too!