10 Survival Tips For NaNoWriMo

How To Not Lose Steam During November’s Challenge


November is right around the corner and with it comes one of the greatest writing challenges set before us – NaNoWriMo. If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it is an acronym for National Novel Writers Month, which is every November, where you have exactly one month to write 50,000 words or more. If you complete your goal, then you are announced as a winner and given a certificate, badges, coupons, and bragging rights. It is also an online club where you can sign up to take part of this grueling feat. And trust me, it can get addicting. In this post, I will be giving you some tips on how to survive this month is put your best foot forward.

  1. Listen to music. I can’t stress this enough! I don’t know how many blog posts or books that I’ve read where they say to listen to music. Compile a playlist and let the music sweep you away on a road of inspiration. Go to YouTube and look for Epic World Music. They have the biggest selection of the best instrumental music in the world. Listen to movie soundtracks (James Newton Howard!), or bands that create just instrumental music like Peter Gundry or Two Steps From Hell. Trust me, music works.
  2. Go hermit-mode. Don’t let life distract you. Take a break from life’s busy schedule. Concentrating on little things all the time can dump all your inspiration out the window. Don’t go to the salon. Forget getting your hair done. Unless doing these things give you inspiration, I would suggest leaving it behind. Instead, go to the park or a local café. Sit in a quiet corner with your cat and a cup of hot chocolate. Once NaNoWriMo is over, you can go back to the salon and get your hair did. Think of it as a treat.
  3. Plan it out. Writing down at least a summary of your story can really help during NaNoWriMo. I tried writing without an outline once and almost nearly ended in disaster. You don’t have to follow the outline completely, but its good to have so that you don’t get lost. The thing I do is write out a synopsis, then plan out each chapter. Trust me. It helps.
  4. Write it down. If you’re at work or in school and you come up with an idea, write it down. Type it up on your phone or scribble it onto a piece of paper or in a notebook. Later, when you have the time, you can type up that idea and go from there.
  5. Turn off the Internet. The worst distraction in the world is the Internet and don’t I know it. I don’t have Internet at home so I have to go to the library. But unless I go there with my purpose written down, I’ll forget it completely and wind up surfing Facebook or watching Rhett & Link on YouTube. Turn off the Internet and get writing.
  6. Pull out the pictures. Another thing that helps with inspiration is to find pictures of actors or artwork of people and assign faces as your characters. One of my favorite go-to artists is Kimberly80. Her watercolor paintings always inspire another character. Look up pictures of landscapes in different countries. You never know. Maybe you character’s next journey is to a volcano in Iceland.
  7. Start in the middle. Start at the end. Start two chapters in. With NaNoWriMo, you don’t have to start at the beginning. You can start at the climactic moment and work your way out from there. Even if your idea isn’t right after what you’ve already written, write it. You can fill in the gaps later.
  8. Get a snack. Two years ago for NaNoWriMo, my muse was Goldfish. Literally. A handful of those crackers and I was on an inspiration high. Of course, you could opt for more healthy snacks, and I don’t recommend eating the whole time you write. But, chewing on something, getting your jaw working, can, somehow, get the creative juices flowing. If you don’t want to eat a snack, get some gum.
  9. Just keep writing. Even if you really don’t feel like it, just keep writing. Even if your muse has packed its bags and left you, just keep writing. The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect. Let the words flow freely and inspiration will come.
  10. Reward yourself. At the end of every week, or a very successful day of writing, reward yourself. Sit down and watch a movie. Read a book. Go and hang out with your friends. If you let yourself recharge, you’ll find it easier to write the next day. And the thought of a whole tub of Ben & Jerrys waiting for you in the freezer could be a great motivation.

I hope this list will help you and inspire you through the arduous journey of writing 50,000 words a month. Good luck to you all!

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