Writing is hard. Participating in NaNoWriMo is harder.
Yet, there are many things you can do to control whether or not you reach your goal.
1. Write what you think is right for you
Camp NaNoWriMo is way more flexible than NaNoWriMo in November. During November you have to write 50,000 words of a brand new novel. Of course, not everyone does that and neither should you. Are you in the middle of writing a novel? Then keep going. Add 50,000 more words to it. Are novels not your thing? Write 50,000 words of poetry or short stories. Write something that you want to write, something that you’ll be in love with all month long. Otherwise, you’ll lose momentum and that 50,000-word goal will slip from your grasp.
2. Find your time
Are you a morning person? Write as soon as you get up. If you have work, wake up a little earlier to get some writing done. That’s what I do. If you work better in the afternoon or at night, then set aside a certain time to get your writing done. I write from 5:45-6:45/7 in the morning every weekday. I write 2,000 words in that time and then I’m done for the day (unless I feel like writing/have the time to write later on). Having the same time of day every day helps your brain get into that creative mode.
3. Embrace the mistakes
Can’t figure out how to spell a word? Don’t worry about it, that red line will remind you to fix it later. Need to research something? Put it in bold and make a note to look it up later. All first drafts are terrible. As long as you get your ideas down on paper, that’s all that matters.
4. Use prompts
Feeling stuck on what to do next? Are your characters tired and coming to a halt in action? Look up some writing prompts and include them in your novel. You may or may not like them, but it will keep you writing and you can edit it out later.
5. Accept encouragement and give support
The world of writing has the best community ever. Meet some writer friends through NaNo and cheer each other. Find some writer friends in real life and relate with one another whether they do NaNo or not. Don’t do NaNo alone and don’t let others do it alone.
6. Reward yourself
Did you meet your daily word count? Did you reach 25,000 words? 50,000? 50,000 in two weeks? Reward yourself! Give yourself small rewards for reaching your daily goal and give yourself something big when you reach the end and win. I always buy myself a new video game if I reach 50,000 words. Video games are expensive, they’re something I love, and something I don’t buy myself often. I think it’s a great reward for NaNo.
7. Take breaks
Making a lot of typos? Falling asleep at the computer? Are you starting to feel a bit dizzy or maybe your eyes are crossing from the bright screen? Walk away from the computer and take a break. Your body and mind needs to rest, no matter what your word count is.
8. Be proud of what you’ve accomplished
Whether you wrote 50,000 words in 30 days or 500 words in 30 days, be proud. You took on a tough challenge, you met new people, came up with new ideas, and wrote something. Whatever you write is more than what you would have had if you didn’t participate in NaNo. Don’t feel like a failure if you don’t reach 50,000, be happy that you tried and you did your best. Remember, November is a busy month. Holidays, family, friends, sicknesses, and life in general, get in the way.
What tips do you have for writers participating in NaNoWriMo?