Well, almost nothing. It is NaNoWriMo, after all.
And since it’s swiftly approaching, it’s a frightening prospect to consider. Writing 50 000 words in a month is not an easy feat, though there are some* who would suggest otherwise.
*There are those who write over a million words in a month. What are you people?!
Whether you’re a planner, a pantser, or a plantser, here are some things you can do to make NaNoWriMo just that little bit easier.
- Free up your free time.
Your free time is when most of your words will be written. Make sure you have as much of it available as possible. Cancel social engagements (unless it’s a write in), warn family and friends that you’ll be unreachable in imagination land, and teach your cat that the laptop is not her bed*, by substituting a hot bottle for your overworked keyboard.
*This will never work, but trying will keep you from panicking and running away from all writing responsibilities.
- Replace social media apps with writing ones.
Now, now. I can hear you gasping from all the way over here. I promise, you will not die from Facebook withdrawals. I can promise this because when the urge strikes to go watch that latest pineapple pen* video on Facebook, you’re going to open a writing app instead and spend those few minutes writing words which can be added to your total later. Writer Plus for Android is great – it allows you to share your document and has the all-important word count feature.
Try it for this week leading up to November. You may surprise yourself.
* what is that?
- Organise your writing space.
Wherever you tend to write, make it a calm space to work in. There’s nothing more demotivating than trying to work at a desk you can’t sit at properly because clutter. Make it pretty, because who isn’t inspired by pretty?*
*The definition of pretty is used very loosely in this context. For example, my pretty involves lights that look like dragon eggs, and owls. Lots, and lots of everything owl themed.
- Get enough sleep.
Sleep is the life force of imagination. Without enough of it, our words lose momentum and so does our enthusiasm. Make sure you clock a reasonable number of hours each night (or day if that’s possible for you), so that you feel rested and inspired.
- Eat (and drink) healthy.
It’s often said that caffeine runs through the veins of writers everywhere, but caffeine has a similar effect to sugar: it puts you on a high and then drops you. Hard. It’s okay to need a cup or two of caffeine in any form, but your brain will respond better to fresh foods and water. Sneak a chocolate in though, because naturally chocolate = motivation.
Find something to reward yourself with when you meet your daily goal. I like stickers, some people prefer cake. Whatever it is, stock up on rewards that will motivate you to reach that word goal.
- Find a support group.
Writing is a lonely business, and it can be disheartening to realise you’ve missed a whole week of writing because you were internetting* instead. Support groups, whether they’re online or in person, will help you to keep going, pulling out that last little letter by force if need be.
*That’s a word, right? No? Well, it is now.
- Setup your writing programmes.
Most of us use the wonder of modern technology to write. Making sure your Scrivener, Word or other writing programme is ready to go on the 1st will inspire you to start thinking about your story. If you prefer to write by hand, make sure you have plenty of your favourite pens, and a lot of paper or journals.
- Take breaks.
While some people are clockwork machines, not everyone aspires to be a superhuman writer. Well, maybe we do, but it’s still okay to take breaks when we feel tired, stressed or overwhelmed by words. Just don’t make them too long, because it can be difficult to get back into the flow of writing if your thought-train has completely de-railed.
- Download our free NaNoWriMo Calendar.
From the 1st of November, the links in the calendar will lead you to posts designed to keep you on track with daily word counts, rewards, and motivational whips*. You can download it here:
*They’re not really whips. Or are they? Only one way to find out.
How are you prepping for NaNoWriMo? Are you excited, nervous, running away as fast as your little legs can take you? It’s really not that bad, is it? If you’ve done NaNo before, what tips do you have for newbies?