Grab your notebook, your keyboard, and your comfy sweater—it’s time to get ready for November’s annual NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Whether this is your first year participating or you’re a veteran, it’s important to prepare ahead of time: You don’t want to lose steam halfway through the month. The experts at Writer’s Relief are sharing our best tips to help you stay fresh and focused from day one to day thirty of this marathon writing challenge. Here’s how to prepare now for a successful NaNoWriMo!
Prepare Yourself Now For NaNoWriMo
Ready! Download The Right Apps
It’s a good idea to put your phone in “Do Not Disturb” mode while writing to avoid distracting calls, texts, and notifications. However, you can also turn your smartphone into a NaNoWriMo tool by downloading writing apps. Here are a few suggestions:
- Coggle is a multicolor story map that can guide you as you plan out your story.
- Flora uses timers to help you stay focused and on track while you’re writing.
- Grammarly helps with spelling and grammar tips, for on-the-go proofing.
On Your Mark: Plan Your Brain Food
It might be tempting to binge on snack food or takeout all month, but you need good fuel to write well! Popcorn, fruit, and cheese are tasty, filling snacks that will help boost your writing stamina. And meal planning is a great way to ensure you have delicious, nutritious food ready to go all month:
- Make-ahead freezer meals
- Easy meals in the slow cooker
- Simple clean-up sheet pan meals
Get Set: Gather Inspiration And Motivation
Prepare yourself for the long haul by leaning on motivation and inspiration from other writers and artists to get you through NaNoWriMo:
- Surround yourself with encouraging quotes! Write them on note cards, put them on sticky notes on your monitor or notebook, or set them as calendar reminders on your phone. Let your favorite writers inspire you!
- Read blogs written by other writers who have done the NaNoWriMo challenge. You’ll learn some great tips and hacks from those who have run the marathon before you.
- Prepare a playlist to keep your creative juices flowing. Not only will music inspire creativity, but it can also effectively drown out disruptions and help you focus on your work.
And while you’re setting your writing goals, remember to reward yourself as you pass each milestone during NaNoWriMo. For example: When you hit 10,000 words, celebrate! Enjoy a special snack, a nap, or spending time at a local café with a good friend—whatever helps to keep you motivated.
Go! Pace Yourself
NaNoWriMo is a marathon, not a sprint—so it’s important to pace yourself. You don’t want to burn out on the third day or at the halfway mark. Set achievable writing goals, and schedule breaks that suit your schedule. You can mix and match how long your breaks are and when, depending on what works best for you and your writing style. For instance, you might be most productive by taking numerous small breaks in twenty-minute bursts throughout the day.
Or, if you prefer longer writing sessions, you might instead write all morning or all afternoon (or well into the night!), then take a break for several hours to feed the cat and get some fresh air—after all, life must go on, even during NaNoWriMo. A day job, chores, exercise, and sleeping also require your attention during the month of November. But instead of seeing these as interruptions, treat them as much-needed breaks in your day! And don’t forget to spend some relaxing time with friends and family to boost your spirits when things get tough.
You’ve Got This!
Take a deep breath: You’ve got this! Participating in NaNoWriMo is a fun, exciting experience, and these tips will help you prepare, stay motivated, and keep writing. Good luck!
Question: How do you prepare for NaNoWriMo?