In a perfect National Novel Writing Month (November, for those of you who don’t know) the world would stop turning, clients would stop calling, blog posts would be written and scheduled and a writer immersed in NANOWRIMO would have nothing to do other than focus on writing his or her novel.
Oh yeah, I forgot to add in personal items — you know like laundry, cooking dinner, walking the dog… showering, eating, etc. Sigh. What’s a writer to do? Pre-planning is key to “winning” NANO. Before I get any further, let me explain: In the month of November, every year, fiction authors like myself gather together online and in person and commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in one month. Naturally, the month chosen is November — one of the thirty day months AND one with Thanksgiving and Black Friday! The horror!
Anyway, when you announce to the world that you are going to “Do NANO” that means you will need to write 1,667 words a day. Every. Single. Day. From November 1 until November 30. That’s a whole lot of words, believe me. I know. I’ve won NANO three years in a row and I am determined to win this year as well.
How? Read on!
NANOWRIMO Prep Tips
What can wait? Are there personal and professional items that can be pushed off for a month without detriment to your health, happiness or livelihood? If so. Push them off! I’m going to put forth a radical thought here when I say, if you’re struggling to find time to write your 1,667 words per day because you have a life outside of your novel (and who among us doesn’t!) step away from the television. What?! I hear you gasping now. How will you survive without “This Is Us” or “Big Bang Theory”? There is always Hulu or DVRing your shows. Don’t come up to me at the end of November and say you “didn’t have enough time to write your novel” and I find out you did have enough time to binge watch “Scream Queens.” If you have enough time to watch TV, you have enough time to write your novel. I am guilty of the “not enough time” excuse, but when I truly look at my life, I note that when I watch hours of TV, I get nothing else done. Hhhmmm.
Rely on friends and family. Let your loved ones know that you really want to live your dream of writing a novel and you want to live that dream this November. Ask them for help. If they don’t know you are fulfilling a dream, they won’t understand how important this is to you. Shout it from the rooftops, my friends.
Shout it from the rooftop (and on social media). There’s nothing as motivating as announcing that you’re writing a novel and are determined to complete NANO when you tell all of your Facebook friends. Chances are, they will ask you about it. Accountability rules. Sign up for a free NANOWRIMO.org account where you can upload your words and track your progress. Make friends with others on the site and find an accountability partner.
Stock up. Personally I am horrible in the kitchen. I also know that I need to plan my meals in advance or I will eat cookies and ice cream for lunch. During NANOWRIMO I plan my breakfasts and lunches a week ahead and stock up on any supplies that I need to get me through. I will chop up veggies, make certain I have bread in the house, grab fruit or no sugar canned fruit and know that because I have devoted time to my novel first thing in the am that lunch will be a semi-hurried affair. As I usually do, though, I will read while eating my lunch and step away from the computer.
Get up and move. This may sound counterintuitive if you’re trying to finish your 1667 words per day, but if you’re exhausted and not eating well and simply sitting on your butt the entire month, chances are you will get sick. Get up and move. I have a FitBit that vibrates ten minutes before the top of every hour to remind me to get up and get at lesat 250 steps in. It may not be much, but it’s more than if I didn’t walk 250 steps an hour. It works.
If you’re doing NANOWRIMO this year, “buddy” me on the site: I am Robbi. Let’s do this together!