This month is National Novel Writing Month.
Every year, during the month of November, writers and aspiring writers take the challenge to write 50000 words during the month of November. Some succeed, others do not.
Today, we have just passed the halfway point. At this point, around 25000 words would be considered on track, although some of you may plan to power on through in the last 14 days and catch up.
Don’t worry if you are a bit behind, even if you started NaNoWriMo tomorrow, you would only have to write about 3600 words per day to win! To put that in perspective, at my speed, 1000 words an hour, that’s just over 3 and a half hours a day of writing.
Currently, my word count is sitting at 28330. I hope to reach 30000 by the end of the day, but I have limited time left today, as we are having friends over for pizza and cards against humanity this evening!
NaNoWriMo has been a fun ride so far. Despite a hectic month, with far too many ups and downs, I have managed to stay on track.
Here’s how I managed it:
Write in? Why not ‘Write out?’
Whilst gathering in a coffee shop with other writers is great when the weather is lousy, when the weather is nice and sunny, which isn’t always often in the UK in November, I love to find a nice park, preferably with a bench, and sit and write as I watch the world go by. The autumn leaves are a glorious colour, the dogs in the park nearly always come to say hello, and I find that writing by hand, without any other distractions, leads to really productive sessions.
(A change of pace: writing in the park. Yes, my handwriting is appalling :D)
Make time for exercise
If I sit at my desk for long periods of time, I inevitably end up in a slump. When it gets to that stage, I find that the best thing isn’t more caffeine, it is getting up and moving around. I make a point of going for a walk or a bike ride, even if it is pouring with rain, usually with my phone in hand to play Pokemon GO.
Sometimes, I cycle to the library, and take my notebook to work there for a change of pace. Most of the time if I do that though, I get distracted by books. Last time, I read an interesting few chapters from a book about stone circles and their uses. When I get back to my desk at home though, I am usually refreshed and ready to write again.
Make time for activities other than your NaNoWriMo project
Don’t neglect your family, friends, pets, or partners this month, and make time for activities that don’t involve writing your novel. For me, this involves playing Minecraft, Ark: Survival Evolved, or Hearthstone until later at night than I should do with my partner. This November we have also baked cakes, made chocolates, and spent time with our families.
I always make time to read, and to watch the Flash, Arrow, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow. You are allowed to relax during the month of November, and think about things other than writing. Your writing will thank you for the break, and when you come back to it, you will be more motivated than ever!
Participate in ‘writing sprints.’
I only recently discovered the ‘writing sprint,’ but I recommend it highly. You set a time period, usually 15 minutes, and write consistently for that time without interruptions. This is a useful tactic if you have a plan, and an idea of a scene to write.
I found that it worked particularly well, and I managed 520 words in those 15 minutes. I was impressed, as I have maintained throughout NaNoWriMo so far that 500 words per half an hour is the absolute best that I can do! If you don’t have a scene in mind, or some form of plan though, this may not work so well for you.
Schedule writing time. Protect it.
One thing that I have had to do to get anything done this month, is schedule and protect my writing time. I know exactly when I can dedicate time to writing. A lot of these times coincide with times when my partner is home. We have an agreement that, when I am writing, I am not to be disturbed. He’s cool with it, and he can amuse himself pretty well: He is often on voice chat to his friends, which can be pretty distracting. Therefore, when I want to write, I head upstairs to another room, where I have my desk. Protect your time and space for writing, and the 50000 words will come a lot easier!
If you found these tips useful, please feel free to like or share this post 🙂
What are your top tips for surviving NaNoWriMo?