When I signed up for NaNoWriMo in 2011, I was very excited. For extra motivation, I had this calendar to refer to – a painting by my son which was featured in the IISc desk calendar for the month of November.
I validated on November 28, 2011, and had a feeling of jubilation like no other. Oh, the adrenalin rush! I was holding the draft of my very own non-fiction book. Of course, it had miles to go before it met its publisher, but that was okay. Still has, in fact. It is that sort of book.
I was a woman on a mission – committed to write 50,000 words in thirty days, from November 1 to 30, and I was eager to get started.
And by the way, lest you feel intimidated by 50,000 words – don’t worry. It really is not a lot. Not when you’ve made up your mind to write. 50,000 words divided by 30 days is an easy 1667 per day. If you would like to take Sundays off, it is 1924 words a day – but I do not recommend taking any days off. Let it flow, I say. And do not feel bound to only stick to that word count. I know of people (including me) who can churn out 6000 a day easily when they settle down to it.
The trick is to make use of every moment you can get. You’ll thank yourself. Very profusely.
You do know you can’t turn the clock back, right?
Prepping for NaNoWriMo – writing tips
I love a good challenge especially of the writing kind! So here we go, in random order.
- Get enough sleep. we function better when we’re well rested. When we are not, we are no good to anybody, least of all ourselves. Ugh.
- Early riser? Great! put in a couple of hours of writing with zero interruptions from phone calls and doorbells.
- Spend less time online. Email, social media, instant messaging are all time stealers – quite like empty calories. Create some sort of discipline about when you’ll spend time online, make a plan and stick to it. No cheating.
- I am a list person. I account for every waking hour. I have to, juggling two jobs. I can’t afford to regret lost time. So I plan ahead. I don’t cry over spilled milk. I just prefer to clean it up and move on.
- Eat healthy. So shop healthy. Plan your week’s meals in advance to help you shop easily. I’ve identified a great place to order online and have it home-delivered to save time, effort and, bruha-ha-ha, money! So I’ll miss the chit chat at the supermarket, but I think they’ll manage fine without me. For November anyway.
- Get exercise. Go for a walk, do yoga. Meditate. Whatever floats your boat. Healthy mind, healthy body.
- Practice power-napping
- Take breaks, even if it means sitting/lying down quietly/listening to music for 15 minutes. Read your favorite authors and books. My breaks usually revolve around housework, cooking, reading, music, painting and photography.
- Make a schedule and stick to it as much as you can.
- Prioritize. do what you gotta do. push everything else to next month. and this from me, someone who does not believe in postponing things. making an exception for november though, after taking a good look at what i absolutely have to do. client work is non-negotiable, naturally. what i can finish in october, I will. what i can push to december, i will. except emergencies, the focus for November will be NaNoWriMo.
- Let your family know so they can support you, motivate you, encourage you.
- Delegate things you have no time to do – that’s what family and friends are for.
- Buddy up with others – great way to motivate yourself and keep yourself accountable
- Plan your plot / your theme / your story / your book
- Practice writing even if you can’t take your book / your story ahead.
- Keep track of your word count. Take backups often. http://wordcounter.net is a decent word count tool. I write in Word and save it all in text files as well.
- Do not give up.
- Tell your inner critic to take a vacation and never come back!
Are there benefits of participating in the NaNoWriMo? You bet!
You get more disciplined
You develop healthy habits
You get into the habit of writing regularly
Your senses are more alert (yes they are)
You feel great, with a tremendous sense of achievement
You produce a book! Imagine!
If you’ve always dreamed of writing that book, now is the time to grab your keyboard / pen and get to it.
And remember, validation at nanowrimo.org is from Nov 25 to 30. Don’t miss that deadline like I did last year. I sat on my fanny, like that hare in the hare and tortoise story – I finished the required word count half way through November and continued to write…but what with some stuff at work, I totally missed Nov 30 and felt quite sheepish. Still, I have my book, so that’s okay. Still, it feels better when you’ve validated, eh?
About the NaNoWriMo (quoting from their site)
“NaNoWriMo is an annual (November) novel writing project that brings together professional and amateur writers from all over the world.
National Novel Writing Month is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing on November 1. The goal is to write a 50,000 word, (approximately 175 page) novel by 11:59:59, November 30.
Valuing enthusiasm and perseverance over painstaking craft, NaNoWriMo is a novel-writing program for everyone who has thought fleetingly about writing a novel but has been scared away by the time and effort involved.”
Any one can sign up for the NaNoWriMo.
Are you going to?
Your story is waiting to be written.