The halfway point of National Novel Writing Month, for me, is usually where it hits a snag. If you’re snaggy, too, maybe the rest of my NaNo tips will come in handy for you. You might want to re-read the first eight tips.
Remind yourself that while 50K sounds like a lot, it’s really just beyond a novella. My culinary mysteries are short novels at 65,000 words. Fantasy and science fiction often go beyond 100,000 words.
Still, even for one whose day job is writing novels, the grind of having to write to a word count or page count day after day after … It can get to you. Life happens. You can’t write every day. So how does one make it to the end with a 50K word count uploaded after 30 days?
If you’re on goal, you should have 16,670 words written on your novel. Yay, if you do! Step it up, if you don’t. See if these help you survive and thrive:
More Tips to Surviving and Thriving
9) I take advantage of “in the flow days” to bank words. Each November I’ve done this challenge, I lose about one-third of the month to travels and other commitments. This year, too. So I plan for that by writing more than my minimum on most days. I only have 20 days to write 50,000 words.
10) I am using the Pomodoro Technique® during NaNo for the first time this year. My goal is to write for six pomodori™ units a day. That is six 25-minute cycles, three of which are followed by 5-minute breaks (the fourth and sixth have longer breaks). My goal is to write 500 words/cycle x 6 cycles = 3000 words/day. I will adjust that for more pomodori if I don’t get at least 2500 words per day. Since I only have 20 days of writing, this is my minimum to finish on time.
11) I have supports when I flag or get discouraged. And I will. Everyone does. I have joined several groups already. I dropped in to get acquainted and I know I can go to them for encouragement when needed. I have buddies who will support and encourage, too. And then there are crit group members who always cheer me on!
12) I know there’s a slump and plan for it. In my case, with so many days off, I’m getting breaks. For the rest of you, take a day off and do something fun! Kiss the kids, hug your SO, take a long bike ride, bake some cookies. Don’t think writing. Catch up your word count tomorrow. (Or maybe you took my advice and banked some.
13) When stopping for the day or a long period, I write comments and questions at the end of the writing period so that I have a record of where my mind was when I quit and what I saw as next steps. I do this with all my novels, not just NaNo,
14) Before bed, I read over what I wrote that day so that it will percolate somewhere in my unconscious overnight. This strategy helps me unleash creativity according to neurological research.
15) Over and over you hear that you should write and not stop to edit. I’m okay with that–mostly–during the writing cycles, but if you have time for it in your day, after meeting your writing goal, I say go for it. Sometimes it’s a nice break from writing. And you will have a cleaner piece at the end. BUT–only after meeting your goal, if you have more time to dedicate to writing. The NaNo folks would say if you have more time and more energy, write more. You decide.
So, that’s it. I rely on these 15 tips to survive and thrive during NaNoWriMo. I may even do more I’m not consciously aware of. But I have to get back to work now. See you in NaNo Land. Be in the 13% who finish!