You NEED these 11 Tips to CRUSH NaNoWriMo and succeed at reaching your writing goals for the month of November.
Y’all, it’s November. That means National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is HERE, and writers all over have jumped into this exciting challenge. Whether you’re an aspiring novelist or a seasoned writer, National Novel Writing Month may be just the special (not-so-secret) sauce you need to get motivated. If you are taking this writing challenge, you’re in for a whirlwind of creativity, inspiration, and, yes, probably a little bit (or maybe even a lot) of madness. You can do it, and I have tips to help you absolutely CRUSH it. Here we go.
First, a little background.
NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is an annual event that started back in the 80s. It has grown and grown and grown into an international event that happens every November. NaNoWriMo writers pledge to compose a 50,000-word novel draft within 30 days.
This may sound daunting, and…well, it is. But committing is half the battle.
With the right mindset and some essential tips, You. Can. Do. It!
In this article, I have some tips and advice to make sure you have a productive writing experience during this year’s challenge.
Whether you’re experienced or new to the game, I have ways to help you stay focused, motivated, and inspired to reach your NaNoWriMo goal.
Some people spend October planning their project for NaNoWriMo. Since we’re already in November, let’s skip over the planning part. If you did plan, great! If you haven’t, that is A-Okay. Some of the most wonderful magic happens when you just give in to your creativity.
First Things First
The first thing you need to do is to accept that NaNoWriMo can be a chaotic month. You’re trying to write a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days! It’s going to get messy. But that’s okay. That’s what it’s all about. You have to embrace the chaos, and remember that your first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. It just needs to exist. You can always edit later.
Okay, now let’s get to some tips to help you succeed at this massive writing challenge.
Tips to Help You Succeed at NaNoWriMo
Set aside dedicated writing time each day.
Writing 50,000 words in 30 days equals 1,667 per day! That may sound like a little or a lot to you. It’s not insignificant. To make this task less daunting, set specific times when you plan to write. If you’re an early bird, do it before anyone is awake. Maybe lunchtime or later in the afternoon when everything has settled down is a better time for you. Setting a regular writing schedule makes you more likely to stick with it and reach your word-count goals.
Find or Create Your Zen Space
An essential aspect of succeeding at NaNoWriMo is creating an ideal writing environment. Your perfect writing space may look very different from mine, or from your writing partners, or from anyone else’s for that matter.
Whether you prefer quiet study rooms or bustling cafés, know what works for you and make it happen. Find a comfortable place to sit in your zen place. After all, you have to write for quite a while! Having good lighting and decluttering your workspace can also help you maximize your word count by minimizing distractions.
Support systems, especially during the challenge of NaNoWriMo, can be a true lifesaver! Whether your support comes from fellow writers, friends, family, or your local (or online) NaNoWriMo community, having someone there who knows what you’re going through can provide inspiration and motivation.
Our local Friends of the Library, of which I am a board member, is hosting a write-in. Check your local library, Meet Up, and other writing organizations to see what kind of support they might offer. Finding writing buddies or using social media as accountability measures and/or sharing your word count or progress with others may push you closer to meeting daily writing goals.
Silence Your Inner Critic
During NaNoWriMo, it’s critical that you silence your inner critic. Your goal is to get words on the page, not to write a masterpiece. Accept that your first draft will be rough. Just keep writing!
Don’t Strive for Perfection
Whatever you do, don’t let perfection derail you from participating! NaNoWriMo is about quantity, not quality. Taking the time to edit can slow your writing progress. You can edit later.
Y’all, believe me when I say that writing sprints are a fantastic way to boost your word count. Set a timer for 15-30 minutes, write as fast as you can, and see how many words you can crank out. It’s like a friendly competition with yourself, and it’s a great way to beat writer’s block.
You can also find people online to do writing sprints with. Accountability with this can be really helpful.
Treat yourself when you reach milestones. Rewards can be motivating. Come up with rewards that you can dangle in front of you as motivation, because completing your daily word count or hitting your weekly goals deserves a little celebration. Don’t get your Pumpkin Spice Latte until you’ve reached your daily word count. Go for your walk once you’ve hit 500 words. It can be as simple as a piece of chocolate or a binge-watching session of your favorite show.
This month can be intense, but don’t let it take over. Take time for yourself by taking breaks, practicing self-compassion and self-care, and engaging in activities that refresh both you mind and your body. Eat healthy meals, exercise, get fresh air, and keep yourself balanced.
Believe in Yourself
Right alongside silencing your inner critic is believing in your ability to succeed. NaNoWriMo may be a challenge–and it is–but it’s also a journey. Whether you actually hit the goal of 50,000 words or not, you will learn a lot about yourself, and you will have accomplished something big. You’ll have a serious jumpstart on your writing project, whatever it is. You’ve got this, and your story deserves to be told. Keep the faith!
Enjoy the Process
NaNoWriMo is an incredible adventure. It’s important to enjoy the process, savor the small victories, and relish in the joy of storytelling. It’s not just about reaching 50,000 words; it’s about the love and passion you pour into your work. Writing a novel is no simple task, so don’t feel discouraged if your goals don’t always align with your daily life.
Last, but certainly not least, is celebrating what you’ve achieved. That achievement is not reaching the 50,000-word mark. It’s that you took the leap, committed, and worked toward a goal. Simply completing this challenge should be recognized and celebrated!
Once November is up and NaNoWriMo concludes, take time to review your writing process, reflect upon the lessons you learned, and plan what comes next.
So there you have it, Writers
I hope these tips help you through your NaNoWriMo journey. Great books have been written during this time, and wonderful stories have begun. Remember, it’s about the journey, about the creativity you’ll tap into, and about the sense of accomplishment that comes from writing a novel (or some part of one) in a month.
Good luck, writers, and may your writing flow like a river throughout November! You’ve got this!
There have been many great books that were started during NaNoWriMo. Check them out, and let them inspire you about what you can achieve during this big month of writing.
Watch this talk on the WriterSpark YouTube channel! ⬇︎
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