How to survive NaNoWriMo

PWR Declassified NaNo Survival Guide:

Ready, Set, Write!

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) begins today! A demanding feat only attempted by the most ambitious writers, NaNoWriMo challenges novelists to write an entire book (50,000 words) during the month of November.

During a season filled with Thanksgiving plans and fall activities and, for students, lots and lots of homework, NaNo can and will be difficult. It certainly isn’t for the faint of heart.

However, I have gathered some of the best advice about surviving NaNo and compiled it into this hopefully helpful list:

1. Make writing part of your routine

As a talented writer, you probably already have scheduled times for writing in your day-to-day life. However, for these next 30 days, you will need to carve out even more time for writing than usual.

You’ll need to write around 1600 words per day so plan your daily schedule accordingly. Set a daily goal and write it in your planner. Skip out on that random friend gathering, stop binge watching that new show, stay off social media. Do whatever it takes to stay on track.

Note: Eating meals and getting enough sleep probably aren’t good things to skip. After all, a healthy writer is a better writer!

2. Be flexible

Now this kind of contradicts my last point about scheduling your writing, but it is equally important to allow yourself the flexibility to take a break or reschedule your writing time.

Interruptions will happen to your writing schedule. You may not be able to write for two hours on Thanksgiving Day when thirty relatives have invaded your house and insist on peppering you with questions about your life.

And that’s okay.

While the familial space invasion thing isn’t fun for introverts, it is good to be flexible with your writing time and allow yourself to take a break.

On the flip side, when inspiration strikes, WRITE! Surpass your daily word goal and give yourself a break the next day instead.

3. Reward yourself

If you are a person who needs external motivation to stay on track with your goals, then set up a reward system. For each day you reach your writing goal, buy a more expensive drink at Starbucks. Made it halfway through your novel? Watch that new movie you’ve been excited to see. Successfully complete NaNo? Pamper yourself with something fun.

Keep yourself motivated with small rewards and help yourself stay on track.

4. Rely on a writing community

You may be lucky enough to be a part of a super cool writing community like a critique group or an awesome major at your university. But even if you’re not, join the forums on the NaNoWriMo website to talk with other NaNo participants.

Ask your writing community to keep you accountable to your goals or simply bounce ideas off of them. No one will understand what you are going through better than another writer, so find a place where those people can stimulate and encourage you.

5. Write, don’t edit

It can be tempting to edit your work as you are writing or to take a break from writing with a light edit.

Resist this urge!!!

You only have so many days to write an entire novel. If you waste some of your writing time with editing then you may never finish.

Commit to purely writing, and on December 1 (or whenever you finish), you can start editing.

Also remember that once you finish with NaNo, your work is not done. Though the first draft writing process may be completed, you still need to edit, rewrite and edit some more.

Finally, take care of yourself. Plan ahead, have fun on the journey. Enjoy what you are doing. Writing is fun, and though it may be frustrating at a lot of times, if you can’t remember why you are writing, or if you are no longer enjoying it, then participating in NaNoWriMo is pointless.

Now, with these tools in hand, go out and conquer! But first leave a comment with your favorite NaNo survival tips! 

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