Top 10 Tips to Survive NaNoWriMo 2017

It’s nearly here. November is just a couple weeks away. Time for NaNoWriMo- or National Novel Writing Month. This is where you make a crazy dash for the finish line, by writing the first draft of your novel in 30 days. I’ve taken part three times, and it’s fun, stressful, and eye-opening at the same time. But, it shows me I can: (1) write daily (2) meet a deadline (3) and survive without wasting time on Facebook or Netflix. Maybe you won’t write the next “War and Peace”, but you will have the basis for a novel you can build on.
Here are things that helped me “win” NaNo in the past.
1. If you have Facebook pages you maintain, like an author page or book page, set up your posts for Nov. ahead of time. You can schedule posts to show anytime you chose. This saves time looking for or writing content, so you can focus on your novel.
2. Try to pick a set time to write each day. When its work time, no excuses.
3. Pick a time when you are most in your “creative zone”. I get my best ideas and work done between 10 pm and 3 am. Some people get up an hour early to write before work. Whatever works.
4. Don’t worry about getting it right the first time. It’s a draft, a starting point. You can edit later, for now, you need to get the words on the page.
5. Make NaNo buddies. Accountability can help you keep your writing commitment.
6. Make sure it’s a subject you love. You will be spending a lot of time with it.
7. Outline! Now I know some of you are “pantsers”. With 30 days it doesn’t allow enough time to re-write a draft if it falls apart midway due to losing direction. Your characters can still do their own thing, but with a roadmap to follow.
8. Explain to your family/loved ones what you are doing. They may not see as much of you or get your undivided attention. But if you tell them how important this is to you, most understand and even cheer you on.
9. Pick your spot to write. Gather all your reference books, your comfy chair, a table to hold your favorite drink, and anything else that helps the creative juices flow.
10. Don’t take it too seriously. If you don’t complete it in 30 days, so what? You got started, and that’s half the battle. Just keep pushing on to finish in your own time.
I think we can make every month a “30-day challenge”. We’re really competing against ourselves. Writer’s block, procrastination, no time, I’m no good; these are all excuses we make to ourselves for not pushing out of our comfort zone. It’s easy to psych yourself out of finishing anything or even starting. This is why I love NaNo. It can jump-start habits to carry on the other 11 months of the year.
Good luck to all those participating and for those still unsure, go for it. You’ll surprise yourself with what you can accomplish in just those 30 days.