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#NaNoWriMo is back! Are you ready to join a worldwide tribe of creatives and write a novel this November?
If so, here’s how to prepare.
The first step is to commit: You are going to do this! Now, it’s all about logistics. How will you fit consistent dedication to writing into your already crazed daily routine?
Clear Your Head
You have 11 days left before NaNoWriMo starts. Begin clearing the extra have-to-dos from your plate now. Are there errands you need to run? Family duties you need to oblige? A pantry you need to stock so your significant other can cook for you all month? Be on guard for commitments you need to decline now so they don’t creep into your writing time later. The first step to writing a novel is to write “no” or “not in November,” over and over.
Clear Your Schedule
Having done both NaNoWriMo and other more manageable deadline-driven projects, I can say that the discipline of a huge word count on a tight deadline is inspiring. Designate a certain time block–the exact same time block–as your writing time every day, and stick to this routine religiously. Mark it on your calendar as a recurring appointment.
When you show up for your appointment, don’t strive for perfection. Even if you don’t like what you’re producing, or you’re not “feeling it.” Write first, and plan to edit later when you’re not on deadline.
Think of your NaNo commitment like daily exercise for your writing muscles. Runners run every day. No matter what. Some runs are better or more fulfilling or more effective than others. But as long as you wake up and make writing a non-negotiable, everyday part of your routine, rain or shine, in sickness and in health, you’ll repeat the routine the next day, and the next. Over time, you’ll be a lot more productive than if you hadn’t embraced consistency.
Break Your Writing Goals Into Doable Chunks
Time for some math: 50,000 words divided by 30 days is 1,666 words per day. If that word count is too arbitrary, go by chapters instead. So some days you’ll write a short chapter, others a longer one. When I did Nano, I used Pressbooks.com to organize my book into parts and chapters. Each morning, I picked a chapter and set a goal to write the body of that chapter during my designated time. If I had extra time, I’d start another, and that was a bonus. Once NaNo was over, I repeated the process with editing, addressing a minimum of one chapter a day.
Sign up at NaNoWriMo
You don’t have to sign up at NaNoWriMo to participate in the month’s highly supportive book writing “competition.” But it may help to keep you accountable. The site lets you connect with fellow writers across the world who are all sacrificing to get to their goal, as well as announce your intention to the world, update your word count, fuel your motivation and more.
Regardless of whether you sign up, announce your intention to your inner circle of supporters in your endeavor. Hopefully they’ll give you the support you need to make it happen!
Elizabeth Mays is the marketing manager for Pressbooks.com, an online platform that lets you easily write, convert and print your book into the formats you need to publish in ebookstores and print-on-demand. She wrote her first book during NaNoWriMo in 2012.