Five Ugly and Effective NaNoWriMo Tips

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it the worst? Depends on the day, we suppose, but whether it’s charmed or cursed, these are the four weeks of the years your surrender your excuses and put your butt in the chair. Those 50,000 words demand life! So, here are five quick and dirty tips to help you bring your NaNoWriMo novel into this world.

Hit Your Word Count Hard and Fast

Don’t wait to pull the long nights and try to get extra words on the page. Why? Because at the end of the month, you will weep tears of blood when you realize you still need to hit your 2000-a-day goal. Early in the month, your motivation is strong and your inspiration remains fresh. Take full advantage of all that energy and turn it into concrete chapters.

Just Say “No”

So, the ugly fact of writing is that we all turn into hermits when we’re serious about our work. We ditch plans, turn down invitations, and generally keep to ourselves. This November, practice saying no. Your coworkers want to go out for drinks after work? Too bad. You’re writing! Family wants you to extend Thanksgiving into a weekend away? Only if they’re okay with hosting an antisocial recluse! Sometimes, you just have to say no, even if it feels impolite. This will only last one month. If your friends and family can’t deal with that for 30 days, then you have bigger problems. Besides, you can always make it up to them at Christmas!

Pick a Writing Time

You’ve heard this time before, but when you’re facing the kind of deadline NaNo throws down, you need to put this tip in action from day one. Know when you’re going to write, and by golly get writing when the alarm trips. Whether you write first thing in the morning, the last thing at night, or a combination of both, obey the clock. It doesn’t matter if the writing is any good – this is a first draft! Just keep your fingers busy, and you’ll be amazed how much you can produce when you write regularly.

Get Pavlovian

Develop a writing habit aside from, well, writing. Sit down with a cup of tea or coffee. Pour yourself a fresh glass of water or even some wine. Whatever you drink, drink it consistently. This develops a sensory connection with your beverage of choice with writing time. The simple act of preparing your drink will help you slip into the zone, and over time, this little trick will spare you a lot of ‘warm up’ time at the desk.

Find New Friends

The official NaNoWriMo website has a ton of useful features beyond word counters and prize badges. When you enter your region, you can join a mailing list for local writers also participating in the challenge. Throughout the month, local volunteers lead writing nights where everyone turns up with their tools, maybe says hi, then shuts up and gets busy. It’s incredibly motivating and a great way to bump up that word count quickly.

Make new writing friends, say no to distractions, and use this as an excuse to get a second cup of coffee. November is here, friends, and we all know what that means. Your words are waiting!

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