By Miranda Clark-Poulson
Welcome to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)! For those of you new to NaNoWriMo, the goal is to write a 50,000 word novel over the month of November. It sounds scary because it is. But scary doesn’t mean impossible! Here’s some advice for all you participants out there.
- Do the Math
If you started on November 1st, you need to write about 1,667 words per day to make your 50,000-word goal. If you started later, plan out how much you need to write per day. Then, if that number still seems scary to you, break it up even more. Write 834 words in the morning and 834 in the evening. Figure out a writing schedule that works for you and run with it!
- Don’t Edit
Nothing kills your buzz more than editing. Your goal is to get the novel done by the end of the month – you can edit later.
- Reward Yourself
Say it with me: writing is hard. It’s exhausting. Set milestones and reward yourself for reaching them. Don’t go crazy (you still have a novel to finish), but let yourself relax. Do some exercises. Watch an episode of your favorite show (just one!). Give your brain a break before jumping back in.
- Don’t Get Distracted
This sounds like common sense, but I’m serious. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted by anything. Yes, this means ignore your phone and your social media feed that’s the same as it was ten minutes ago. But it also means ignore the part of your brain that wants to give up and start something else. You started this story for a reason – if a new story idea pops into your head, write it on a separate piece of paper and get back to the story you’ve already started.
Most importantly, believe in yourself. You began NaNoWriMo because you believed you could do it (tip: you still can). If you truly feel like you’ve taken on an impossible task, you can always take Lemony Snicket’s advice and just quit. Either way, you’re almost halfway there. Happy writing!