Hi everyone! As NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) rapidly approaches, I have had several writers reach out to me and ask about my previous experiences with NaNoWriMo and if I had any tips to help them. This will be my third year participating in NaNoWriMo. In 2015, it was my first time participating in NaNoWriMo. I wrote over 50,000 words; this was the first draft of my psychological thriller The Long Shadow on the Stage. In 2016, I was a NaNo rebel and edited the first draft of The Long Shadow on the Stage. This year, I plan on writing 50,000 words for the first draft of Book 2 in my psychological thriller series. In this blog post, I will be sharing a few tips for writing 50,000 words in 30 days.
The most important part of planning for NaNoWriMo is to determine how many days you’ll be writing and how much time you’ll have to write on those days. Although there are 30 days in November, if you’re in the US like me and celebrate Thanksgiving, then you’ll want to account for taking Thanksgiving Day off. You might even take all of Thanksgiving weekend off if you’re travelling and spending time with family. Make sure you subtract all those days from your total days for writing for the month.
For example, I’ll be taking three days off for Thanksgiving with my family. In addition, if you have other important occasions or plans in November, be sure to not count those as writing days either. If you have a birthday, anniversary, wedding, a vacation, or any other special event planned that will interfere with your writing, then also subtract those days from your total writing days. I would also recommend giving yourself an additional day or two off in case you get sick, are working a lot of overtime if you have a full-time job, or just feel like you might need another random day off from writing.
Another tip is to schedule your writing time. If you work a full-time job like me, then you know you only have a certain number of hours per day that you can use for writing. For example, I know that I can’t write as many words per day during the week, so I schedule most of my writing time for the weekend. I set double or triple word count goals for weekends. I might set a word count goal of 1,600 for every weekday and try to write 8,000+ words during weekends.
My third tip is to plan rewards for yourself when you hit specific word count milestones. You could buy yourself some fancy chocolate or nice pens when you reach 10,000 words, a new bullet journal or a book when you hit 20,000 words, etc. Or you could celebrate at the end with one big reward for writing 50,000 words, like a dinner at an expensive restaurant or a nice bottle of wine. I think giving yourself a reward (or multiple rewards) is a great motivator to continue writing.
In addition, you can take advantage of all the features on NaNoWriMo’s website, like their online community and their word count tracker. Talking to other writers who are attempting the same writing challenge as you are can be extremely helpful and encouraging. You can also create your own word count tracker or use a bullet journal and write out your word count goals for the week.
My final tip is to not beat yourself up if you aren’t able to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I know the whole point of this blog post is to give you tips to beat that mindset, but sometimes things happen that are out of our control that intervene with writing. Sometimes other things in life are more important.
Please comment below if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo! Let me know if it’s your first time and what project you’re working on next month.