Hello, all, from the other side of my NaNoWriMo 2015 win! With much discipline and more planning than to which I’m accustomed, I have written the 50,000 words and finished my story!
Over the month, I put together some writing tips that I hope will help those who are still heading to the finish line as well as those who plan another wrimo excursion in 2016 with April camp, June’s fabulous JuNoWriMo or camp in July.
1. Know your golden hour and use it.
For me, this means waking up early, pouring a cup of coffee and packing away the excuses that keep me from writing. Just jump in! Perhaps this hour strikes as midnight arrives for some of you. Whatever time your inspiration is running high, use it as often and well as you can. There’s nothing like being in the zone and seeing your results from acclimating to your personal golden hour.
2. But First Get Centered
This tip may seem counterintuitive considering my first one, but they work together nicely. As you transition into your golden hour, make it easy to get in the frame of mind to write. I like to get up early, but it really centers me to have my prayer and reading time first. This habit is familiar, routine and it centers me before I take on my day. If your golden hour falls later in the day, this might be even more necessary to do something grounding to help you transition from a busy day to that quiet place where your muse thrives.
3. Reward Yourself!
Never underestimate th power of incentive. Look for things you really want to do when you’re done with your writing for that day and allow yourself to indulge as a reward. It might be a television show you’ve DVRed or taking a walk, calling a friend, anything that gives you the sense of satisfaction of a job well done.
4. No Perfectionism!
NaNo is creates for us to write a first draft, not a bookstore ready finished product. If you’re not always pleased with everything you write, keep writing. If you know you’ll have to do a lot editing later, keep writing. If you don’t feel that your work is up to par, keep writing. The point of this NaNo is to continue writing through adversity and a lack of perfection.
5. Write A Little If You Can’t Write A Lot…
One of the most powerful lessons I learned this November was from a friend and fellow writer who told me that when I don’t have the time for my usual quota of words, write whatever I can. She suggested 1,000 words because it’s something and wouldn’t put my schedule that far behind. It’s much better than seeing a busy day on the calendar and throwing in the towel for the entire day! I wrote my thousand words, got through my busy day and was back at my three thousand word goal the next day. This really eased my perfectionism and kept my momentum going to stay strong on my journey.
6. But Write A Lot When You Can
Every now and then, the opposite of the busy day wanders into your life and you have the opportunity to go further than your daily goal. I used these times to the max in order to get ahead, as one never knows when another busy day might show up. Carpe idem.
7. The Power Of Spare Time
Got ten minutes? How many words can you generate in that time? I’m all for word sprints on Twitter but you can also do your own if you find yourself with dead time between other things. Part of breaking away from the perfectionism is deciding that even if you don’t have the amount of time to which you’re accustomed for a typical writing session, your spare minutes can also produce some pretty good material. In fact, making writing time between other things may open you up to other forms of inspiration. You might be waiting on a meeting or appointment and be in a completely different place than your usual writing spot, and the change of scenery and variety of people around you might give you ideas you’d never have found if not for harnessing the power of those spare minutes. If you don’t like to write in such short times, keep paper and pen with you at all times and use the moment to jot down ideas for your next writing session.
8. Alternative Activities, Because You’re Not Locked In!
Even though the month of November is set aside for writing, no one can dedicate every minute to the project. You’ll obviously have obligatory commitments, but you’ll have other nonwriting times in addition. Use these times to give your brain a break from constantly feeling pressured to write. It’s good to give yourself a rest from typing away and refresh yourself with something else. Just because you signed up for NaNo, it really is okay to get away from it from time to time. I always feel recharged after an alternative activity such as knitting, walking around, doing laundry or other chores when I feel overwhelmed with writing. I call my favorite activities during this time “nonverbal thinking.” Each of the activities I listed above are great examples of a task that doesn’t require the constant stream of words we have racing through our minds that occurs during a writing session. Once I return to my writing session, I’m ready to write more with energy generated from the necessary time away. Use November to serve yourself and your creative needs, don’t let it run you ragged!
I wish all of you wrimos the very best of the rest of the session! Always be aware of tips that gave helped you this time that can make your next session even stronger! Every time you climb the mountain, it gets a little easier and mire manageable. Just tell yourself that you’ve got this because you do! I have faith in you all.