One day of NaNoWriMo has passed. How did you do? Will you manage to reach the word count today as well? Or are you already struggling? I have a few tips for you.
For seasoned writers, 50k is less intimidating than for someone who’s just starting out. 1667 words per day, every day, can be intimidating if you barely write at all. And I know many writers who write more, especially when they’re inspired, but also have downtime. The official rules say that you have to write 1667 words a day, but I don’t think you have to. Set your own pace, but try to aim for those 50k words.
This one is especially useful for writers with multiple responsibilities. Writing sprints are short bursts of intensive writing, like try to get 500 words in ten minutes. If you’re taking public transportation, small writing bursts are an excellent use of your commute. Do them on lunch breaks or during college. Sneak it in when your colleagues are having a cigarette break (you both feed your own addiction, so it’s okay, right?).
If you write small pieces throughout the day, you won’t have that big block of 1667 words (or your own goal) when you get home.
Set your reward
I’m a big fan of rewarding yourself. It not only helps me to focus, but the reward is also often something that relaxes me. Think of self-care rewards, like a bath or a glass of wine. Or maybe an episode of your favourite show. Sometimes that carrot before the cart is what you need most.
Plan your writing
I use Pacemaker.press to calculate the word counts I need per day. You can personalise your word counts and match it to your schedule. Take Thanksgiving off, or adjust your writing goals on weekends. If you know you have a busy day ahead, lower your word count. Stick to the NaNoWriMo theme and set your plan to 50.000 words with a deadline on 30 November.
Add your word counts every day to see how you’re doing. If you write more than the daily word count, Pacemaker will automatically change the needed word count for the rest of the days.
Check out four other tools to help you plan your writing.
Choose your medium
Digital or paper, which one will you choose? It’s a personal choice. Just like picking your writing software. I highly suggest picking a medium that you can take with you, in any shape or form. This mobility allows you the freedom to write whenever you want. If you have a busy schedule, this is a must. Combine it with the writing sprints and you’ll be unstoppable.
I used Google Docs so I could write during my commute and during my lunch break. When I got home, everything I had written that day was already there.
If you have the luxury to set aside two hours of uninterrupted writing time, pick the medium that allows you to focus. Writing on paper increases my focus and immersion in the story.
Talk to your supporters
You might write alone, but you definitely have supporters to help you get through the month. They are the people you live with, family, partner, kids, your furry companion, and (online) friends. Let the people you live with know that you’re working on this. They have to understand that when you go into a separate room with the door closed, they need to let you work. Maybe they can relieve you of your chores temporarily or lighten them to give you more time. They might understand why you set your alarm half an hour earlier so you can get some writing down before work. But you have to let them know.
The online NaNoWriMo community is huge and everyone is coming to together to celebrate writing and stories. They cheer each other on and the official site is filled with pep talks from dozens of authors. Maybe even your favourite author. Read them, get inspired.
My husband is my main supporter (always) an excellent one at that. He listens when I’m stuck on a problem, but he also kicks my butt when I’m slacking off. He knows what I like for my rewards and celebrates the small successes with me. Even though he’s no writer himself, he will listen if I’m stuck with something. A fresh perspective can definitely help. He also gives me the space I need to write.