November is possibly the most grueling month of the year. Along with the pumpkin pies and Thanksgiving dinners comes National Novel Writing Month, a month of weaving 50,000 words into clumsy conglomerations and magical masterpieces and everything in between. For those of you who are interested, writing 1,667 words a day sounds intimidating. To be blatantly honest, it is intimidating, even for a writing enthusiast. But it is also possibly one of the most rewarding feelings ever to scroll through 200 plus pages at the end of the month, knowing that you have developed a story reflective of your wildest, most creative ideas and that your characters are now alive. For those of you who have weathered NaNoWriMo already, another year brings another season of endless enthusiasm and writer’s blocks, keyboard smashing and word-vomiting, and relentless, revelatory writing. Here are 7 ways I stay motivated and organized through NaNoWriMo!
1. Start planning early.
“But it’s only September,” you tell youself. “I’ll have over a month to plan!” And before you know it, November has fallen upon us and you have a character’s hair color and maybe a destination of choice in mind. Regardless of how you start planning, whether it be with character charts or plot outlines, starting early always relieves that moment of late-night Halloween panic. It takes more than a day or two to plan over 50,000 words of content, as I’ve learned through experience.
2. Prepare your perfect playlist.
Maybe you’re a magical human being and can write while listening to your favorite lyrical songs. Maybe you design your playlist to match the tone of your characters, or the ambiance of the story’s backdrop. Personally, I know that if I listen to anything with lyrics, I’ll end up typing the lyrics instead of my story. Studio Ghibli films’ instrumentals are the perfect writing music for me.
3. Bribe yourself.
Yup, no shame in having a bowl of M&M’s by your laptop-- as long as you have the self-control to only eat a few every time you hit your writing goal. Maybe a dozen chocolate chips for every 300 words written, or a bite of a cookie for a completed chapter. Maybe you’re far healthier than I am and you’ll treat yourself to a strawberry for every ten sentences. Anyways, it never hurts to have a bowl of food to cry into when writer’s block strikes hard!
4. Find yourself some competition.
Word war: find another person who’s participating in NaNoWriMo, set a time interval of, say, 30 minutes, and race to see who can write the most words in that time. Not going to lie, this might not produce the highest quality writing, but the entire point of National Novel Writing Month is to get your story out there. There will be plenty more days for revisions and editing, but as for now, the most important thing is to get your ideas onto paper.
5. Procrastinate from doing your other work by writing.
Fairly self-explanatory, right? Hey, at least you’re being productive in some fashion!
6. Write down all of those poetic lines.
The best lines come to me when I’m just so inconveniently stepping into the shower, or about to fall asleep and the covers are oh-so-comfortable, or I’m half way through a sentence while conversing with a friend. WRITE THOSE DOWN. Type it into your phone, don’t worry about refining it or perfecting it, there will be time for that later. Just get those words down, because sometimes, those sentences or phrases become the quintessential backbone to a part of your novel.
7. Find your perfect writing environment.
I personally love writing in cafes because it makes me feel classier than I actually am. Luckily enough, NaNoWriMo happens to fall right in the middle of that autumn-y wintery time, so writing perfectly complements a mocha with heaps of whipped cream or hot tea and a biscotti.
Best of luck to all of you who decide to participate in NaNoWriMo this year. If any of you seasoned writers have any other tips, I would love to hear from you!