It’s getting close to that time of year writers both anticipate and somewhat dread: National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short. Throughout the month of November, writers are challenged to crank out 50,000 words by the end of the month. It’s a daunting challenge, one that requires commitment, determination, and a whole lot of creativity. It is basically the New York marathon of writing.
Marathon runners spend months preparing their bodies, so they run for miles without cramping up and overexerting themselves. They recognize that they can’t just wake up one day and decide to run 26 miles. They need to build up their endurance first. Like marathon runners, we writers need to train our creative muscles in order to take on the NaNoWriMo challenge. We need to start establishing good writing habits now, so they become second nature by the time November 1st hits. Otherwise, we risk mental cramping and creative burnout long before our deadline of november 30th.
Here are a few things that will help you get top writing shape, so you can rock this year’s NaNoWriMo challenge.
Schedule daily writing time.
One of the biggest issues we all have is finding time in our day to write. I get it. I have the typical 9 -to-5 office job, this blog, and the basic responsibilities of life. Start making time to write in your daily life now. Maybe you get up an hour earlier or go to bed an hour later. Maybe you make the most out of your breaks at work. Play around with what works best for your lifestyle. By the time November comes around, writing every day will be just another a habit for you.
Give yourself daily goals.
Whether it’s a number of words, a number of pages, or a length of time, establishing writing daily goals will go a long way in helping you prep yourself for your upcoming writing marathon. This will help you get used to producing consistent amounts of work each day. Don’t be afraid to start small and build up your stamina over the course of the next few weeks. Before you know it, you’ll be ready for next month’s production demands.
Figure out what methods work best for you.
Do you write best on a laptop or with paper and pen? Are you most productive with the television or music in the background, or do you do your best work in complete silence? Bed or desk? Early mornings or late evenings? Figure out the tricks and techniques that help you get into your creative zone. You’ll save yourself a lot of frustration and wasted writing time by hammering these details out now rather than later.
Start story planning.
Don’t wait until November 1st to figure out what you’re going to write about. Start now. Outline chapters. Create your characters. Gather all your research. Assemble inspiration boards on Pinterest or plot your course in a stylish bullet journal. Putting in the prep work now will help you focus your ideas and work out some of your story’s kinks, allowing for more actual writing time and a potential cutdown on writer’s block down the road.