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This blog was featured on 10/21/2018
NaNoWriMo Season is Upon Us! How Will You Succeed?
Contributor
Written by
Janine Kovac
October 2018
Publishing
Contributor
Written by
Janine Kovac
October 2018
Publishing

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and it takes place every November.

Anyone can do it. You can sign up on the website (you don’t have to). You can go to events in your region (you don’t have to). You can donate for fabulous swag (you should probably do that one; they’re a fabulous non-profit).

But really all you have to do is write 1666 words a day for 30 days starting November 1 and ending November 30th, which leaves you with 50,000 words. A novel in a month.

That’s it.

Simple? Yes. Easy? Uh, no.

But here are five easy tips you can implement now in October if you are considering tackling this generative writing goal.

1. Just write. Don’t edit. Don’t research. Don’t fact-check. Just write.

NaNoWriMo is about getting words down on paper (or in Word, Pages, Scrivener, whatever). It’s about creating the raw material. I know. It’s hard to rush past imperfect sentences that could be crafted beautifully but you can do that later. In December.

2. Give something up.

Unless you already have a daily writing practice, you’ll have to find the time to write. It’s stupidly simple to say and ridiculously difficult to implement. This is NOVEMBER, after all. The verge of the holiday season, end-of-year mayhem and all that stuff.

With that in mind, before you mark off time in your calendar to write, clear it. Find something to sacrifice. Maybe you won’t clean the house in November (that’s what J.K. Rowling did when she was a single mom writing Harry Potter). Or you won’t watch Netflix. Perhaps you’ll get off Facebook for an entire month or wake up an hour earlier. If email is a big time-suck for you, consider setting up an auto-response letting people know you will be slow to respond to their email during November and then only check your email once a day.

It’s your call, but figure it out before November starts.

What do you need to give up to open up your schedule?

3. Decide when you will write.

Now that you have cleared your calendar a bit, mark your writing time. Early morning? After everyone else is in bed? Maybe you’ll write in the car instead of watch your kid’s soccer practice. Ideally, there’s a consistency to your writing practice but because this is a binge-write, it doesn’t matter as much as just getting it done. Carve out time whenever it works for you so you can get your butt in the chair and write.

4. Pick a daily reward system.

It’s amazing how a little reward can motivate you to meet your daily quota. The NaNoWriMo website is great for this. You get virtual stickers for meeting your targets and other little perks and congratulatory accolades along the way. But if you don’t want create an account on the website or if you are creating your own word counts, you can invent your own reward system. It should be something cumulative and visual—a reward/progress bar as simple as X’s on a calendar or post-its marking your daily word count will do the trick.

5. Visualize your writing routine

Picture it.

You: in your writing spot (the library? Fave café? Home office that is actually the dining room table?) Is it dark out because it’s so early? (or so late.) Take a moment to check off all the distractions that you’ve eliminated: you’ve shut off your phone, turned off Wi-Fi, shut the door or whatever else you have to do to block out the outside world.

There you are. In your happy writing place, happily writing. And when you’re done, you get your reward. An X, or upload your words to your NaNo profile, whatever it is.

Can you see it? That’s you! Writing, succeeding. Getting sh*t done.

 Janine Kovac is the co-founder of Moxie Road Productions. She teaches writing workshops, including the month-long accountability workshop Finishing School course, which is specifically designed to outline a project and get it done in one calendar month. For more info on Janine, Moxie Road, or Finishing School, check out her website: http://moxieroad.com

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Comments
  • Janine Kovac Publishing

    Mae, for me this is the number-one benefit of NaNoWriMo: a daily exercise in powering through the paralysis of perfectionism. It gets easier and easier to put down the words imperfect as they may be.

    As Jodi Piccoult famously said, "You can't edit a blank page!"

    Good luck with NaNo!

    janine

  • Mae Shields

    Thank you, Janice, for this upbeat and encouraging article. I'm prepping (somewhat cluelessly, as I am not a "planner" by nature) for NaNo, which of course starts this week. I especially love your first tip; I needed to hear that, as I am usually more of a paralyzed-perfectionist type. And I wonder why I never finish a draft? :) I'll keep your counsel close as I begin this November adventure. Gratefully yours!