Nanowrimo is just around the corner and we are already two-thirds of the way through Preptober. Time flies, right? So let’s talk a bit about the nuts and bolts of Nanowrimo.
Have you declared a project yet? I’ve decided to be ambitious this year and go for 100,000 words instead of 50k. This means that I’ll have to write 3,334 words instead of 1,667 every day. Now, this may seem a bit daunting to some but for me it’s more of a target than a set in the stone, the world will end if I don’t finish this, goal. But even if I don’t manage to get all 100k words done, the key to accomplish anything is to sit down every day and actually do it. So here are some tips to help both you and me have a more successful Nanowrimo.
Commit yourself to writing every day
It doesn’t have to be some grand scheme of slaving over your keyboard for hours and hours every day, chained to your desk until you finally manage to grind out that first draft. It can be as little as five minutes a day writing in a notebook while waiting to pick up the kids from school or that load of laundry to finish. Instead of taking a smoke break, use that time to get a few words down. As long as you write something, a paragraph, a sentence, a word, you are winning. But if you don’t commit to carving out that bit of time every day, there will always be a hundred other things more than willing to take over that space.
Set yourself goals
So many people see 50k words and shut down before they can even get started. Even broken down, the idea of finding the time and inspiration for 1,667 words is daunting. But like so many things in life, that’s just an arbitrary number. It’s easy to be so overwhelmed that you never end up starting at all or if you do start and then miss a few days, then you feel like you’ll never catch up. And truthfully, when I’m writing I’m rarely thinking about word counts, I’m too focused on my story line and characters. So set goals that motivate you. Instead of saying I’m going to write X amount of words in X minutes (although if that’s the way you get your best writing done, go for it. Find a way that works best for you!), say that you’re going to write until you finish the next scene or next chapter. Maybe you’re stuck on a scene, so instead of not writing, set the goal of writing out one of your character’s back stories and what their motivation/goal/purpose in the story might be. It could be that you feel that your characters are stuck in place, so set a goal to sit down and write all about the world they live in, fleshing out all the little details like where’d they shop, hang out, all the little things that people do in every day life.
Think of it like this: You’re taking a road trip to a new amazing location (remember, books open new worlds to us 🙂 ), this isn’t like the trip that you take every year to the lake or Grandma’s house. This is somewhere that you’ve never been before. You might’ve spent some time preparing snacks and necessities (outlining chapters and the plot) or you might be planning to pick things up along the way (pantser). You’ve got a basic roadmap (your story idea) and your destination (your completed first draft). But if you don’t start, you’ll never reach your destination. There are many ways you can travel, making stops at certain towns (chapters or scenes), or you could be planning to stop and stretch your legs every so many miles (word count). Although you might have certain stops planned (outlines), you never know what you might find along the way. All you have to do it start.
When we know someone else is going to ask if we’ve done something or not, we are much more likely to complete the task. It’s also true that if someone asks to help them keep on track, we’ll be a lot more mindful of whether or not we’ve done as we said we would. I tend to be a solitary writer, although I like talking and sharing ideas with other writers and learning from them. But if having a buddy along the way helps you keep on track, then I highly encourage you to find someone to do Nanowrimo with you.
Something that people may not know about me is that I have a highly competitive streak. It’s not that I like to beat people, as a matter of fact I like to help people succeed along with me, but I like to always challenge myself to do better. I’ve recently found a site that speaks to that side of me. 4thewords is a writing community that gamifies your writing. It is set up in word sprint style, where you have to write so many words in so many minutes in order to defeat monsters. There are also quests that you can work towards defeating. Also, you get rewards for writing every day. If you write 444 words a day, a reasonable amount, you build up a streak and the longer the streak, the cooler rewards you get. The story line is intriguing and the community is out of this world. Also, they’re doing a special Nanowrimo event with bonus events and rewards. By getting rewarded to write, it helps me to get my word count every day and I find myself hitting my goals quicker than I ever anticipated. Like I said earlier, the main thing is to write, just write, every day, and this program helps me do this.
If you’re interested in checking this out, use my referral code for an extra free month. I highly recommend at least checking it out 🙂
My code: VXKKX33097
If you are participating in Nanowrimo, tell me what you’re writing this year and what your goal is. Can’t wait to hear from you 🙂