NaNo is hard! I’ve participated a few times over the course of the past few years and the first year I failed and gave up after only 10,000 or so words. This year, though I’m on a streak of two years of winning, so I’m hoping to keep it going.
Today I’ve officially launched my author platform, so my Instagram and Twitter accounts are going to heavily revolve around writing and NaNo. So follow me @Leslie_arambula on Twitter and @authorlarambula on Instagram.
Anyways, in the hopes of spreading some tips to anyone also working on a project for NaNo, here are 5 ways to stay motivated throughout the month:
1. Join a group
Nothing says accountability like joining a group of likely driven and motivated people. There are tons of groups that you can join on the various social media platforms, but there are likely some local groups that you can write with too. However, I know that sometimes getting out there can and finding these groups can be really hard, time consuming, and confusing, so here are a few of the groups that I’m a part of:
- CalWrimos: When I selected my group on the NaNoWriMo website based on location, I got paired up with this awesome group. We chat on the Discord app, so sprints, and a Facebook group where we share ideas, motivation, and generally just be goof balls.
- The Mighty Pens: This group raises money while we write, much like a jog-a-thon or marathoner seeks sponsors. The really cool thing is that New York Times Bestselling Author Susan Dennard is one of the leading ladies of this group, and tons of other industry people offer up prizes for people who hit donation amounts throughout the month.
- Local groups: Check the NaNoWriMo site for your location, or reach out on social media or through your local library to see if there are groups that meet face to face and hold Write-Ins. These can be great ways to meet new people and get out of the house, or possibly even find your next critique partner for when you finish your draft.
- Facebook groups like Plotter Life: This group is tons of fun and we’ve all sorted ourselves into Hogwarts houses and are competing for the House Cup (words written each week = points)! A little bit of friendly competition can definitely help spark some words!
If you’re more interested in grouping up in short bursts, like for sprints only, here are a few hashtags or users to follow on Twitter:
2. Set up incentives
November is tough. We are winding our way to the holiday season, there are dinners to plan, presents to buy, and don’t even get me started on wrapping them! And through all this, I’m supposed to produce 50,000 words?!
Writing 50,000 words during any month is a feat of monumental proportions for almost any writer, but with life and holidays going on around you, not to mention working, family, and just being a human, it can be really easy to lose sight of any one aspect of your life. With that said, make sure you are taking care of yourself.
Whether it’s a mug of tea or a tall glass of water, stay hydrated!
Don’t forget to get up and walk every once in awhile (this might actually help shake a few ideas lose).
Staying up late helps gets words done, but don’t forget the value of sleep and how it can actually stimulate your imagination and take you out of your brain fog.
And last but not least, don’t forget to relax! It sounds simple, but just like we set aside time to write, we need to set aside time to relax as well. Your family would probably like to interact with you this month, and although words don’t write themselves, a little R & R can be really helpful.
3. Take care of yourself
When I tried to lose a few pounds over the summer, I set myself up with a number of escalating rewards for every 5 pounds that I lost. I only lost 5, but I love my new Bluetooth headphones! The point is, that when you set a reward for your mini goals throughout the month, you can look at your list of rewards, or a photo of whatever it is you are going to “get” when you finish off that last 1,000 words of the week and hopefully be inspired. It is also a great way to keep your sanity because you have something tangible as a result of what you wrote. Some really cool ideas include:
-a fancy new pen
-(another) new notebook
-dessert before dinner 🙂
-a new bookish candle, bookmark, etc.
-a night off
-a bubble bath
-a new set of headphones
-ask your partner for a night off of dishes/dinner
-set it up so you and a fellow writer can treat each other to a beverage of your choice for each milestone
-a new book off of your TBR list
-or anything else that makes you happy!
4. Find prompts
If you look anywhere around you, you can probably find something to write about. However, we don’t always see it that way. Here are a few of my favorite places to find inspiration:
1. Spotify playlists (I love faerie music and also video game soundtracks)
2. Pinterest (just type in your topic/genre and let the visual stimulus flow; if you type in writing prompts, prepare to be amazed!)
3. Eavesdropping and people watching (not in a creepy way, but using real people as models can be really helpful in crafting realistic characters)
4. The news (self-explanatory)
5. Cut yourself some slack!
At the end of the day, and especially at the end of the month, whether you have 50 words or 50,000 words, you are THAT much closer to finishing your story. Those are 50-50,000 words that you didn’t have in October, and you are laying the path for the next 50-50,000!