We’re nearing National Novel Writing Month’s halfway point and the pressure is on. This is when the going gets tough and the tough get going.
If you’re on track to meet the NaNoWriMo goal of writing a first draft of a 50,000-word novel in 30 days (that’s about 1,667 words a day), you should be about 21,500 words into your project. If you’ve met this goal, congratulations! If you haven’t, don’t worry! There’s still plenty of time to catch up.
We’ve put together 10 tips to get you over the halfway hump in our #NaNoWriMo19 Survival Guide. These tips are designed to help you focus on what’s important, so you can finish the month successfully. Here goes…
Bublish’s #NaNoWriMo19 Survival Guide
TIP #1: Write don’t edit. The goal of a first draft is simply to get the story out of your head and on to paper. There’s plenty of time to go back and edit. For now, simply focus on the writing. The first draft is going to be a little sloppy and that’s okay. Give yourself permission to write without editing.
TIP #2: Make your writing time sacred. If you’re not hitting your word count each day, set aside a time each day—perhaps one hour each morning—just for writing. During this time, you will do nothing else but write. Make a pledge to yourself that you won’t allow anything else to interfere with this sacred writing time—at least for the month of November.
TIP #3: Schedule catch up days. Inevitably, life will go off the rails—you’ll get sick, you’ll have writer’s block, your boss will make you work overtime, etc. Carve out one or two days this month to play catch up and get back on track with your NaNoWriMo word-count goals for writing.
TIP #4: Set up word sprints and writing challenges. Just like a running sprint, this is a short burst of concentrated energy. If you have a writing buddy, set up a challenge. For example, agree that in the next 30 minutes you will challenge each other to write 500 words. The writer who meets that word count first gets hot chocolate and bragging rights on social media. A little healthy competition can stimulate productivity.
TIP #5: Take care of yourself. You can’t write the next great American novel if you’re sick in bed, so don’t forget to take care of yourself. Get enough sleep and exercise during NaNoWriMo. Eat healthy foods to feed your creative brain and drink lots of water to keep hydrated. When the writing is not flowing, step out for a 20-minute walk. You’ll come back refreshed and prepared for the challenge.
TIP #6: Pat yourself on the back. When you have a good NaNoWriMo day or hit a writing target, take a moment to recognize your accomplishments thus far. You’ve earned a pat on the back. Treat yourself to a hot bath, a new writing journal, a day off from writing—whatever floats your boat. Just make sure to recognize your progress a long the way. It will give you strength to face the next hurdle.
TIP #7: Don’t get stuck. If a scene isn’t coming, write another part of the book and come back to it. Maybe you need to walk away from writing for a few hours and give your brain some time to process or rejuvenate. There’s always a way around a roadblock, so don’t get mentally stuck when the ideas aren’t flowing. Be patient. It will pass.
TIP #8: Benefit from community. Tap into the global power of the NaNoWriMo community. Make new friends. Commiserate, celebrate, and support other writers and reach out when you need help. Writing a novel can be a lonely endeavor, but during NaNoWriMo you’re part of something bigger. You’re part of a global community of writers. If you officially sign up at nanowrimo.org, you can join the lively forums there. If not, you can tap into the conversation on social media (after you meet your writing goals for the day). Follow @NaNoWriMo and @BublishMe on Twitter and use the hashtags #NaNoWriMo, #NaNoWriMo19 and #NaNoWriMo2019.
TIP #9: Share your work. At Bublish, we’re big believers in bringing readers into your creative journey as early as possible. Yes, you can actually start to build a community of supportive readers while you are writing. Don’t be afraid to start sharing snippets of your work with readers through social media. Ask them for feedback and ideas. Bublish’s rough cut book bubbles make this easy to do.
TIP #10: Find the joy. Writing a novel, especially in one month, is hard work…very hard work. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be joyful, too. Before you sit down to write each day, stretch and take a deep, cleansing breath. Remind yourself that deep down inside—no matter how much work NaNoWriMo is—you love it. You love the writing, the creativity, the adrenaline rush when you hit a goal or have a breakthrough on a scene or character. Then, with that joyful mindset, you’re ready to dive right in and have a great writing session.
Happy #NaNoWriMo19 everyone. We’re rooting for you!