I can’t believe it’s the end of October. Didn’t it just start? Here we are, October 30th, Halloween is tomorrow, and November starts Friday.
That’s the real spooky thing about October – that it passes so quickly and suddenly it’s time to write 50,000 words in 30 days.
This post is going to basically be a quick rundown of how I handle the stress and fun that is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), what my project is going to be, and the items that I always have with me, whether I’m home or out. So, let’s jump into that first.
Must Have Items:
- Sketch Book
- Phone (inspo pics are on there)
If I’m out writing I also need:
- Coffee (again)
- A snack
I also like getting myself a treat, like some kind of candy or chocolate I don’t normally eat year-round as a reward for hitting daily word goals. Last year it was Hershey’s Cookies n’ Cream Drops – and I kind of got carried away. Instead of eating them at word goals, I kind of went through bags of them as I was writing. I legit haven’t had them since.
I do have an entire post dedicated to what I have with me when I write – you can check out that here – my NaNo needs don’t vary much from my standard writing needs.
This year I’m planning on doing a YA Beach Contemporary. It’s definitely more on the fluffy side and I’m excited to work on it! I feel like I know the characters pretty well, it’ll just be a matter of seeing if they do what I want them to do. Who knows? It’s going to be set in Topsail, North Carolina, a place I know and love and I’m so ready for it to be Friday. It’s taking every ounce of control to NOT start writing it. While I am excited to start this book (I’ve been really wanting to write it for a while now, but I’m back into revising my SF WIP so I haven’t touched it) there is some anxiety and stress that comes along with it. If you’re interested, I did a post where I created the core group of characters in this YA Contemp, as Sims! You can check them out here!
Which leads me into my next part – How I handle NaNoWriMo.
This will be my 9th year in a row (I started as a Senior in High School) but only my 2nd year in a row where I don’t really have to worry about much else and can focus more on writing. You can check out my NaNo journey here. I’ve probably talked about this before, but my biggest fear and stressor is falling behind. Every year without fail, I hit a lull, around the 1.5-week mark and words become a struggle. It often leads to me skipping days and then having to make them up. It sucks, not gonna lie. Missing a day here or there, it happens, life happens. But I’m talking about big roadblocks, writer’s block, the days where words legit refuse to form – those days screw me every time. I end up super behind and rushing to finish thousands of words in the final days.
So, here are a few tips that I apply to myself every year –
- If you’re on a writing roll, you’ve met your daily word count (and time permits) keep writing. Rack up an extra 100, 200, 500 words. That way if you miss a day, or don’t have the time, energy, etc to write, you’re not as far behind.
- If you do fall behind, it’s not the end of the world. I know it feels like it is, and stress and anxiety enter into your life and makes you feel like crap.
- Just breathe.
- NaNo is supposed to be fun, and a way to get your butt in a chair to write. It’s fun to ‘win’ and hit that 50k mark, but it’s not a necessity! Any words you do write in November, is that many more than you had prior and that is always a good thing!
- Try not and get discouraged if you see other people with much higher word counts. It’s not a race against them.
- Remember this is only a first draft! (if it’s not, remember you’re trying to write 50k in 30 days) your story isn’t going to be perfect.
- If you hit writer’s block, just write. I know that probably sounds contrived, but just write. Whether you skip ahead to the next scene, or just write anything – even if it’s out of character – writing is the best way to push past.
- Though, if that isn’t working, and you can’t even get 100 – 250 words on the page, it’s always a good thing to take a break and come back. It’s better to do that, than stare uselessly at a computer screen for hours not accomplishing anything.
- Take a walk. Listen to some music. Read a book. Watch a movie. Cuddle your pet. Do something to give yourself a break. NaNo is a very easy way to burn yourself out. (I know I take most of December off and just relax. Creatively I’m often pretty burned out)
- Having people cheering you on is always a benefit. Have a few people, a person in your corner, IRL friends or online – someone you can talk to/at if you hit a point in your story.
- Do a bit of planning – I’m not a plotter, more of a plantser (I’m mainly a pantser). I usually have a vauge idea of where I want my story to go, some key moments I want my characters to hit. If you’re a full-on plotter/outliner – I envy you. If you’re not, we’re in the same boat and that’s okay! Go full creative outlet mode!
Now, I know there are many of these types of posts out there, and a million different ways of making it through the next month. As much as I wrote this post for the newbie NaNo-er, it’s also serving as a reminder to me that NaNo isn’t make or break. It’s supposed to be a fun activity to get people to write and tell the stories that they have swirling around inside of their heads. I’ve always enjoyed NaNoWriMo – stress and all. It’s my excuse to try and write one of the shiny new ideas that have been floating around in my head all year.
If you’re doing NaNo and want to be buddies on the site – I’m [ lexacourtney ] on there, the image above shows my icon and name. I need more buddies and I want to be buddies with you! Anyone who follows me, will get a follow back! I hope you all have a wonderful and successful NaNo (whatever your projects and goals might be)!
I’ll also being doing Weekly Updates each Friday start to finish! That means the first one, will be this Friday! During these posts I’ll be sharing word counts, the occasional sneak peek and most likely a checklist of any important plot elements. Check back in and if you want, feel free to share your current word counts on that post so we can cheer each other on!