Many writers participate in National Novel Writing Month during November. This marathon writing event draws thousands of participants who attempt to complete a 50,000-word novel in just thirty days. It may seem intense, but NaNoWriMo can also be a lot of fun—if you pace yourself and remember to eat and sleep! Writer’s Relief has some important self-care tips to help you with surviving National Novel Writing Month.
Self-Care Tips For Surviving NaNoWriMo
Fill Your Tank With The Right Fuel
Coffee may be a writer’s best friend (and a major way to power through late-night writing sessions), but please don’t forget to drink water! Did you know that 90% of our energy is derived from oxygen? And since water contains oxygen, drinking it will fuel your energy source. So, as you pour yourself into your story, be sure to pour yourself some water to stay hydrated. Keep a water bottle nearby and set a reminder on your phone to take a water break.
Also, if you’re looking for a snack, skip the salty and sugary treats and grab some fruit instead. Apples, oranges, and strawberries are packed with delicious vitamins to give your body a boost. Fill up on fresh fruits to stay energized and hydrated—and to make surviving NaNoWriMo easier!
Get Up And Move Around
Sitting at your desk for hours on end while trying to reach your writing goals is not healthy mentally or physically. Remember to get up and move around! Your body and your brain will both be reenergized by your efforts.
You don’t need to jump into anything overly strenuous. You’ve been hunched over a keyboard, so stand up and rotate your arms at your sides in big circles to help open up your chest. Do some more simple stretches or take a walk around your neighborhood to clear your mind. Not only will it give you the break you need, but you never know what you will see, hear, or smell along the way that might provide some inspiration for your NaNoWriMo writing project.
Schedule Writing Breaks
Often writers are tempted to push through exhaustion in order to meet their NaNoWriMo daily word counts, but your writing and creativity can suffer if you don’t take breaks or get enough sleep. Set a timer to remind you to stop writing: Whether it’s for five minute or a few hours, taking a break will let you come back to your work with fresh eyes and a new outlook. Step away from the keyboard and read a book or watch the latest episode of that series everyone’s talking about. Most importantly—don’t think about what you’ve been writing. Sometimes, consciously focusing on other things allows your subconscious mind to work out those tricky plot problems or troublesome character issues.
Meditating will also help you recharge. A few minutes of meditation each day can lower stress levels, clear your mind, and boost your energy.
Get Enough Sleep
Creatives often wrestle with keeping to proper sleep schedules, and trying to meet a writing deadline each day will only exacerbate this issue. But sleep allows your mind to reset and function at its best, which is essential if you want to write a great book! You may feel that burning the midnight oil will help you meet your word count goals, but quality is more important than quantity. Don’t skimp on the shut-eye! Establish a regular sleep schedule and practice good sleep hygiene by developing a nighttime routine.
Change Your Writing Location
Are you always writing at your desk? Try sitting on your bed or on the couch for the evening. Go out onto your balcony, the front steps, or into the backyard. Changing your writing location, even briefly, can do wonders for your creativity. Having a new point of view and different scenery will also help with writer’s block, since you’ll be inspired in ways you wouldn’t have been while sitting at your desk.
Following these self-care tips will keep you productive and focused during NaNoWriMo. And be sure to check out our other articles on surviving NaNoWriMo:
Question: How do you stay healthy and focused during NaNoWriMo?