How is it going!? Can you guys believe that Nanowrimo is just THREE days away!? (And that’s counting today!!!) Who is SUPER excited right now!? Who is freaking out!??!
Safe to say, I’m a bit of both! My novel is all snowflaked out (as some of you guys may know, I recently began using the Snowflake Method to plan my novels). However, admittedly I am not a big fan of the ending- fingers crossed a Brilliant Idea for a better ending will strike my brain halfway through November!!! #PlantserProblems
Wait… What is Nanowrimo again?
A frenzied month where novelists and aspiring novelists take on the ambitious and crazy goal of writing a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. For more information, check out the official website.
(And YES, there is still time to commit to Nanowrimo if you haven’t yet!!)
As you guys know, the traditional Nanowrimo goal is broken down into two parts:
- Completing 50K words, AND
- Starting and finishing an entire novel.
Many people stick to this goal, although there are also plenty of “Nanowrimo rebels” out there who are continuing an existing WIP or choosing a different word count goal that works for them.
As for me, I am going with the 50K word count goal and I am starting a new novel. Though I am fairly confident that I can complete the 50K word goal, my novel will likely end up at around 80K. So…………… I’m going to be ambitious and try to finish my novel in November as well. (gulp!!!!)
This is going to be my fourth year doing Nanowrimo. So today I want to share with you guys some tips & tricks which worked for me! I also want to share some self-care tips as well- since we don’t only want to survive but come out sparkling like vampires :’)
10. Stay on track
To finish 50,000 words in 30 days means a daily target of 1667 words… which is CRAZY. It requires a lot of dedication and sheer will-power, but since we signed up for it, we got to do it.
From my experience with Nanowrimo and Camp Nanowrimo in the past, once I fall behind, it becomes so much harder to catch up. So the best thing we can do for our novels and our sanity is to stay on track and do those 1667 words per day (or more!)
9. Keep ahead of the game
There are going to be days when we feel super inspired, when we power through 1667 words like it is nothing and we feel like we can do a bit more. On those days, ride that wave of inspiration and keep at it! Write 1800 words, or 2000 words or 2500 words- however many you have time and energy for! It is going to be super helpful to have some words in the “bank” for those days when life hits us unexpectedly or when we just aren’t feeling it.
I find that I am very excited to start my novel during the initial days of Nanowrimo. For me, I take this opportunity to bank a few extra words!
8. Prepare for the low-word-count days
There are probably going to be those 500-word days or even zero-word days! Sometimes we can’t predict them, for example, when we just aren’t feeling inspired or when something unexpected happen in our lives.
But other times we can predict them, be it an extra-curricular activity at school, a workplace evening event, or a night out with friends. In this case we need to have a plan for making up for those words! Are we going to write an extra 800 words the day before and the day after? Are we simply going to stay up late that night to reach our daily word goal (a tempting option though not always healthy and sustainable)!?
7. Make time for writing
If we are going to write 50K words in a month, we gotta have time for it. How much time can we set aside each day to be able to finish 1667 words? If there isn’t that much time in a day, are there any activities that we can sacrifice or streamline? Maybe it means cutting back on social media or TV time, or meal-prepping at the start of each week, or writing during our commute or work breaks.
As for me, I know I am not going to be able to cram Nanowrimo into my regular schedule. Usually I write 800 words a day if I am lucky. So here is my plan: Cut down on exercise to 3 days per week (yikes!!), scale back my blogging frequency (gulp!), eat simple meals with minimal prep time, and a vacation from work for 7 days during the second half of November.
(Psst… check out my post here about how to write a novel when we are super busy.)
6. Keep tools on hand to immerse yourself in your novel
Do you have a Pinterest board with images that remind you of your characters or your setting? Do you have a playlist that sets the mood for your novel? Do you have character sheets and an outline set up and ready to go? Keep these in mind when you write!
As for me, I have my Scrivener file filled to the brim with my outline, research, character profiles, and world-building tidbits. I have a playlist of songs that remind me of my novel, and I have a few baby Pinterest boards set up. (I’ve been procrastinating a bit on my Pinterest boards- I know, how could I!?!)
Pssst…… If you are a pantser and you’re just going to go ahead and start with a blank canvas, that is absolutely all right too. If you just decided to do Nanowrimo today and haven’t started thinking about these things yet, no worries! I’d say these are accessories rather than necessities!
5. Choose a comfortable place & time to write
We all have a place where we feel most comfortable while we’re writing, whether it is on our couch, at the desk, in a cafe or even in bed. Find your favourite writing nook and make it super comfortable.
We also likely have a time of day when we feel most inspired, creative, and motivated. See if you can work out what time of day works best for you and block out this chunk of time for writing. (If you end up choosing a time based on practicality, that’s perfectly all right too. I’d say make the most of it!)
4. Have caffeine on hand (in moderation)
Who is a caffeine junkie here!?? *Raises hand*
If you thrive on coffee and if you need it badly to bust out some extra words in the morning or evening, go for it! However, listen to your body and see if it gives you any unpleasant side effects, like headache, palpitations, insomnia or the dreaded caffeine crash. If your body is sensitive to caffeine (like me!) then too much coffee might do more harm than good.
I’ve become a huge fan of tea. In general tea has a lower dose of caffeine than coffee, and for me it has a more gentle effect on my alertness and productivity. What I appreciate about tea is that it doesn’t give me a caffeine crash at all. So if you are looking for a gentler alternative to coffee, I would give tea a try! *not biased at all*
3. Feed your body and mind
Sometimes when we are super busy, it is tempting to forgo homemade meals for less healthy alternatives, like takeout, fast food or even skipping meals all together. However this is not only unhealthy but can be counter-productive in the long run. Our bodies (and more importantly during Nanowrimo, our BRAINS) rely on a steady supply of carbohydrates, glucose and protein to churn on.
If there is limited time to cook, consider simple meals or meal-prepping ahead of time. And have some snacks on hand to satisfy our between-meal cravings! My go-to recipes during Nanowrimo will be overnight oatmeal and smoked salmon sandwiches. I’ll be snacking on fruits and dark chocolate!
2. Sleep is important
When we’re in a time crunch, sometimes sleep is the first thing to go. I am so guilty of sacrificing sleep while trying to meet a deadline. However, keep in mind that we need a good dose of rest to be in tip top shape for school, work, and (more) Nanowrimo the next day.
My personal plan for this month is to catch at least 6.5 hours on week nights, while giving myself permission to stay up a bit later on weekend nights.
1. Get involved in the community!
Last but not least, one great thing about Nanowrimo is that we are not alone. There are hundreds of thousands of people around the world who are facing the same challenge with us. Don’t forget to connect with the community on the Nanowrimo forums (and even here on WordPress as well.) Depending on your region, there may also be offline events, such as meet & greets and write-ins!
The last 3 times I’ve done Nanowrimo, I’ve always been the “hole up and write” type. However this year I am so glad to have found a handful of awesome peeps in the blogging community who are doing Nanowrimo with me (you know who you all are!) I am also hoping to join some write-ins in my community!