NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month and takes place every year for the month of November. People from all around the world put their writing to the top of their priority pile and tell their families that yes...they really do need to sneak away from this awkward conversation to write. (Don't discount this as an awesome excuse to hide at uncomfortable family gatherings.)
To "Win" NaNoWriMo you need to write 50,000 words in 30 days. And if you're in the USA, this falls during the same month as Thanksgiving, and tends to mean family time, travel and all kinds of other distractions. The creators did this on purpose. If you can write a complete novel in November, you can do it any month of the year.
Is it easy? Nope. But NaNoWriMo got me to my very first "The End", and after that, I was hooked. If you follow me on Facebook, Twitter, or even Instagram, you will probably see a lot of writing related content from me next month. And pics of my animals in my office. Because they love to help me out by looking adorable next to me.
This will be my fifth year in a row participating in NaNoWriMo as "Roxy Mews". Yes, it's a penname. No, I'm not linking my old profile. ;) I have 4 wins under Roxy's belt so far, and I plan to make it 5 with this year's novel. If you want to be my buddy, you can find me HERE. I do check my NaNoMail, but not as regularly as my gmail, so if you drop me a message give me a few days to get back to you.
Intrigued? Already signed up? Keep reading for my TOP 5 NANOWRIMO TIPS.
1. Practice Butt In Chair
I'm not saying you need to write everyday, because that's not always realistic. As someone who works 12-hour shifts every Sunday, I understand this. But I do check in everyday. I look at my NaNo site graph. I look at how my buddies are doing. And I check in with my NaNoWriMo group.
I started running a NaNo Crew for my RWA chapter, and I continue to do it because it keeps me accountable, and seeing everyone else reach their goals is just as fun as smashing my own.
But my point is...I'm thinking about it for at least a few minutes a day. Every day. Even if my words are making a note on what happens next in my story, or a bit of dialogue that came to me while I was in the check out line at the grocery, having a moment every day to think about my novel keeps it fresh in my mind, and when I can write, I hit the ground running.
2. Get a Crew
As you can probably tell by the fact that I run a NaNo group myself, I think having people around you during this time is important. And I'm not just talking about the nice friends who will tell you "It's okay" when you don't get your word count in.
Befriend a bitch or two. Buddy up on the NaNoWriMo site with some overachievers. Some folks are in the 100k club, and I won't be able to catch their numbers anytime soon with the way my schedule is, but I follow them. Why? Because if that bitch can knock out 10k in a day, I have NO excuses not to put 250 words down.
I have friends who write slower than me. I have friends who are weekend warriors and hit 15k in the span of a couple days. Between those two extremes, there is someone I can lift up, and someone I can chase. Find the people who you need to battle and make sure you check in with them.
3. Bribe Yourself
This is one of those things you need to figure out for yourself. What motivates you? Candy? Stationary? Netflix? What is something you can withhold until your words are on the page?
Since Halloween Candy goes on sale November 1st, I buy a couple bags. I give one to the fam and the other I hide for me. If I'm struggling, I set a reece cup in front of me, and I don't let myself dig in until the words are there. Sure, sometimes my characters will wax poetic about the way chocolate tastes melting over their tongue during this time, but hey...words are words.
I also order myself Death Wish Coffee when I hit the 25k mark. It's my favorite coffee so, I race to that milestone. There's something so damn satisfying about cresting that word count hill.
Worried about your willpower? This is another instance when you need to befriend a bitch. Give that bitch your Netflix password, and have her change it. You only get to binge watch Supernatural after you get your words in for the day. Bitches are the best.
4. Plan Ahead
Now this isn't the plotter vs. pantser debate. (If you're not sure what that means, here's an article I love by Chuck Wendig to get the scoop. Fair warning, he's a converted pantser.)
What I'm talking about is scheduling your time.
Are you a plotter?
You need to get your ass in gear. It's almost halfway through October. Need some help? Search YouTube for "PrepTober". Here's one of my fave videos by BohoBerry.
Both styles need to get what I refer to as your AWC or Adjusted Word Count. Am I going to write after working a manual labor job for 12 hours? Nope. Am I going to really get a full writing session in after dealing with in laws on Thanksgiving? I wish.
So look at your calendar. Cross out the days you know you have something big going down. Now count the number of days and divide that into your 50k. What's your new total? I have 21 writing days in November. So.... (50,000/21 = 2,381). Meaning when I sit down on any day that doesn't have that black X on it, I need to get not 1667, but almost 2400 words. That's my AWC. One of the biggest things you can do to plan, is calculate yours.
5. Believe You Can Do This. Because You CAN.
Now before you start rolling your eyes, I'm being serious. I think I lost the first three or four NaNoWriMo attempts, because I let myself get psyched out. Then one year, I hit 40k. It struck me how close I was, and something clicked. I could do this.
Write down affirmations and read them out loud to yourself every morning. I don't care if it sounds hokey. It works. (If you need some ideas, I have a few pinned to a board on Pinterest.)
Rather than thinking what I was doing was pointless, I saw the story coming together. Rather than thinking what I wrote would be crap, I practiced my typing skills, and story technique. And most importantly... I told myself this was the year I would finish.
And I did. Now, of course, life gets in the way of any plan we put into action. ALWAYS. But there's a difference between getting into a car accident, and your kid's sleep schedule getting thrown out of whack. Unless there is something physically standing in the way of your writing, stop making excuses. Because I was where you were.
Do you want to get your ass into the winner's circle of NaNoWriMo greatness? Do it. The only thing in your way is you. So head on over and declare your novel on the NaNoWriMo.org site. Fill out the profile and look at all the pretty badges you can earn throughout November.
I'll be back later on in the month with some of my favorite hashtags, websites, and YouTube channels to browse. But let me know...are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? What are you doing to get ready? I have a whole folder of memes ready to unleash on my NaNo Group. And even a little bit of plot that has my pantser ass all shook up. It's going to be an awesome November.