5 Tips for Tackling NaNoWriMo

Fifty thousand words. Thirty days. One novel.

For writers who like a bit of a challenge, NaNoWriMo may be right up your alley.

Otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo is a month-long event in which participants begin writing a novel on November 1, working towards a word count of at least 50,000 by November 30 11:59 PM. Check out Andera Novak’s great article for more background information and some of her own suggestions for taking on NaNoWriMo 2018!

Though we’re already halfway through the month of November, some writers may find that the 50,000 word journey is still a daunting task. To help, here are a few simple tips to close in on your goal:

1. Reach Out!

Reach out to fellow writers! NaNoWriMo is not just about writing that one novel, but also about the community. Having a team of writers who understand the NaNoWriMo life to cheer you on will drive you further towards your goal. Whether you make your friends through social media platforms such as Twitter, Reddit or on NaNoWriMo itself, be sure to take the initiative and communicate with others. Get to know each other, exchange snippets of writing, or send each other overused cat memes. Ultimately, you’ll make a new friend who both understands your person and writer’s life. It’s a win-win for everyone!

2. Read, read and read!

Are you feeling down in a slump? Not sure what to write? Got a nasty case of writer’s block? Reading may be the cure you’re looking for!

The best way to find inspiration, conjure more ideas, and get some time off from writing is to read. There are tons of books out there in a variety of genres and convenient formats. Re-read your favourite book, or go out of your comfort zone and give a totally different genre a try. Perhaps buddy-read a novel with your friend and squeal over what will probably end up being your new OTP!

After all, inspiration can pop up in the strangest of places.

3. Relax!

Sometimes, all you may be craving is a break. A break from school, from writing and from the social world.

This might be surprising but…that’s completely normal. Gasp!

We all need breaks at times, and no matter how much you try to channel your inner Wonder Woman, dodging enemy fire while half-awake isn’t a particularly wonderful idea.

Relax, rest your mind, and take a day off just for yourself. When all you’re doing is attending lectures, staring at textbooks and writing furiously to meet your month-end goal, your mind can be pretty exhausted.

Give doodling a shot and scribble all over your notebook for the fun of it. Watch a movie with a big bowl of popcorn all for yourself or go bake a batch of cookies. Venture into the unknown (aka the outdoors) and take a few minute to simply sit and observe. Throw caution to the wind and do whatever you desire!

4. Reward yourself!

Another form of motivating yourself can be through rewards. Set small goals! You read that right—small. Start small, then gradually shift to larger goals. To start with a goal of 50,000 words right off the bat would be like trying to run without knowing how to walk.

Your goals can be anything, ranging from writing 10,000 words in a week to finishing up a chapter outline in the next few days.

Then comes the best part: the reward. Is there a bracelet you’ve had your eye on? A show you’ve been dying to binge-watch? A delicious, mouth-watering ice cream flavour you’ve always wanted to try?

This is the time to get it and enjoy!

5. Just Write!

That’s all there is to it: JUST WRITE.

One of the hardest things is to just sit down and write. Fight the desire to re-read and revise your work, or to check that Facebook post you suddenly remembered about. While procrastination may often be your best friend, tell yourself, “Not today!”

Clear your distractions, disconnect from the internet, and pull up a document—or notebook, if that’s your preference—and start putting those words on the page.

Often, setting a schedule or writing daily is the key to combating procrastination. While this might not always be possible, know that no matter how many words you write, whether it is one or 1,000, you are making progress.

Repeat: you are making progress.

That’s one or 1,000 words that were not there before. And what’s the best part of all of this? The words add up! Soon, you’ll be writing your way closer and closer to 50,000 words!

At the end of the day, just remember this one thing: it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey. Even if you don’t win NaNoWriMo this year, keep in mind all the friends you’ve made, words you’ve written and the delicious ice creams you ate!

So, what are you waiting for? Go, and finish that novel!

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