NaNoWriMo Tips

Last week I shared in my monthly newsletter that my plan for next month is to participate in National Novel Writing Month. If you haven't heard of it before, you sign up and accept the challenge of writing 50,000 words over the course of November (roughly 1,666 words per day). I've won three times (which simply means I hit the word count goal) and while I haven't done much with any of those novels since, I've enjoyed the process and the practice it's given me. 

I thought I would share some tips and tidbits I've learned over the years that have helped me break down NaNoWriMo to make it seem more manageable. It's a little late in the game for tips on preparing for the challenge, so I'll share things that help me get through the month. If you're looking for prep tips, they're just a google search away :) 

  • Tell your friends and loved ones you're taking part in the challenge. Not only will it help with accountability, but it will also help them to understand why maybe you aren't as fully present as you usually are! 
  • Ask for help with things you usually do. For me, it's the household stuff, cooking dinners and laundry, things I like to stay on top of to make life easier in general. Those things tend to slide in November, and I care less when my family knows it's going to happen, and they're willing to help.
  • Find a group! Whether it's in person or online, NaNoWriMo works better if you have a community of writers who are doing the same crazy challenge that you are, helping you feel less alone. The NaNo site is a great place to find local meet ups, and search by #nanowrimo2018 on social media to find other people online so you can cheer on each other. 
  • Get ahead early on in the month. While the daily word count goal is around 1,600 words, aim for 2,000 a day in the first week. Bank any extra words so that you are ahead of the game if you get sick, have to cook a big Thanksgiving spread, emergencies pop up, or you just want a day off.
  • Writing sprints. Whether on your own or with others, set the time for a certain amount of time (ten or fifteen minutes) and see how many words you can write. A few of those in an hour can get you to your daily word count goal. 
  • Write first thing in the morning. Or in the evening. Or in little bits and pieces throughout the day. Mostly, write in whatever way fits with your lifestyle, and works best for YOU. 
  • Get out of the house and write at a cafe. Or the library. A change in space can do a wonder for your mood, especially midway through the month when it feels like things are stalling and you feel like you can't go on any more. 
  • Take a break. If you've banked some words, take advantage of that and take a day off. It'll be okay.
  • Just keep writing. Don't edit. Don't judge your words. Just write. The main goal of NaNoWriMo is simply to write 50,000 words. Hopefully of a story, but mostly just words. They're not supposed to be perfect. They're not supposed to be polished. They're not supposed to be linear. They're not even supposed to be coherent! They are supposed to be words typed on a page. That's it. 
  • Don't judge your first draft. Whether it's written in a month or longer, it doesn't matter. 50,000 words isn't a full fledged novel in general, so regardless of what gets written, you'll need to finish the story and edit after November anyway. 
  • Make small goals, and reward yourself when you achieve them. Maybe it's at every 10,000 words, or only the halfway point. I like to buy myself a few treats, like nice chocolate bars or boxes of tea, and save them for meeting various goals. For someone who is goal oriented like myself, it works well!
  • Have FUN. Remind yourself that writing can be fun. Challenges like this are just that, challenges, but the goal is to have fun at the same time. 
The best part of NaNoWriMo is at the end when you see what you've created. Whether you meet the big goal of 50,000 words or not, you created something out of nothing. 

NaNoWriMo is a magical thing. While often it's something people check off of their bucket list, for others it's a starting point. The first novel I ever wrote was during NaNoWriMo back in 2013, and it gave me the confidence I needed to move forward knowing that I could write a story (bare bones as it was) that had a beginning, middle, and an ending. 

I can guarantee you that if it weren't for my early novels, I wouldn't be trying to find a home for Farm Girl today. 

So have fun, write on, and let me know if you're participating or not! Head over to the NaNoWriMo site and find me, my username is crnnoel, I'd love to be a buddy and cheer on your adventure.


I also want to note really quickly that I turned off the comments for my blog posts. This isn't because I don't want to hear from you, quite the opposite actually. I find it difficult to respond to blog comments because I'm unsure if I should respond via email, or via this space, where people will see the response... and sometimes the blog comments come in without an email attached to it and that leaves out that option, but the comment warrants a personal response I may not want to share here. 

So what I've done is opened up a permanent contact submission form that you can find at the bottom of the website. Feel free to email any time! I love having conversations about my blog posts and your experiences and all the things, but most often I prefer to have them one on one. There are so many ways for us to be in touch via social media, that another space to have public conversations is wearing on me. I hope you'll understand! 

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