Are you one of the crazies who decided to write a 50,000-word novel in just 30 days?
Well good on you, crazy, because you’re doing an amazing thing that is sure to 1 UP your writing skill.
See, the awesome thing about NaNoWriMo is that you make a pinky promise to yourself and your work. You promise that you’ll focus on writing every day.
And, in devoting yourself to a daily word count, you do three things for your writing:
- You hone a stronger voice
- You maintain a mental and emotional connection to your story and characters
- You become finely tuned to inconsistencies or plot holes in your writing
And honestly you do just so much more but aye there isn’t time to keep listing, you know what I mean?
So, being at nearly the halfway mark, how do you maintain that umph, that zeal for writing? How do you keep that pinky promise to yourself and your work? (after all, you did cross your heart and hope to die, so there’s a lot at stake here)
You take these three tips with you because it’s dangerous to go this NaNoWriMo thing alone:
1. Write at the Same Time Every Day
But Rae you and I both know that Tuesday I can write at 3:00 pm but on Wednesday I have soccer practice at 3:00 so, yeah, that’s not gunna work for me.
That’s ok, but take a deep breath and consider this my precious Beckham:
The point of writing at the same time every day is that you are training your brain to enter “writing mode.”
We train our bodies, whether we realize it or not, to accept things or focus on things at certain times. Think about it: what time do you eat breakfast? How about Lunch? Dinner? Are you typically hungry by that time? Sure, it may not be the exact same time every single day, but within that same hour your body is hankerin’ for a bowl o’ ramen or slice of pizza and we both know it. Your body is trained to accept food at that time.
The same can be said of an exercise routine or a study routine. The point is, getting your mind on a schedule helps you avoid writer’s block and helps your creative juices start flowing.
Take to heart what L’Amour and Angelou say. Turn on the faucet at around the same time every day, and the water will flow. And soon the muse will be convinced you’re serious about this “daily” thing and will come on its own.
Even if you just can’t do it at the same time every day, then write when you say you will. Commit to the time you do promise to write each day, and repeat that each week.
2. Make Emotionally Motivating Goals
I already have daily word count goals, Rae. Isn’t that the point of it all anyway? Why do I need an emotional goal?
Daily word count is the overall goal we all want to reach, absolutely, but that isn’t enough to keep you going. Daily word count is a mentally motivating goal, not an emotionally motivating one. An emotionally motivating goal keeps your heart in the game, not just your head.
So what is an emotionally motivating goal?
Consider your characters. Think about their story, their goals, their desires. What do they want from you? What do they want in the end? Where are they right now? Are they any closer to that goal? Are they being challenged enough?
Create goals that are character specific, emotionally investing yourself in their story. Yes, you’ve made a promise to your work and yourself in daily word count, now make a promise to your characters.
Make a promise that within each chapter they will make a step closer to that goal whether it’s creating new friendships, finding true love, discovering their purpose, discovering their courage, or something else powerfully motivating.
Each chapter has to motivate the overall plot, but it also has to motivate the character to keep pursuing the overall goal. So motivate them on an emotional level, and you too will be invested their outcome.
No one wants a story without an ending, and if you emotionally invest yourself in your characters, you won’t have a story without an ending.
3. Listen to your Body, Baby
Yeah, yeah, yeah I shower when I start to offend my dog, I eat when my stomach starts to eat itself, I watch cat videos when I’m dead tired like a good little youtube junkie, I get it.
Yes, you do get it, but it’s more than that, precious youtube junkie. Have you ever felt like the words just won’t flow? Like there’s a giant wall you just keep hitting and no matter what you do you can’t scale it?
Then don’t scale it.
That’s your body telling you the water has run dry and you need to go to a well for a refill. Denying your mind the refreshment it needs in other forms is going to starve your creativity. Likewise, it’s going to make your characters grayscale or sepia when they should be ultraviolet rays of beautiful sunshine unicorns.
So find outlets. If you have another hobby, invest even ten minutes in that instead. If you want to read a book- read a book for five or ten minutes or even a half hour! If you want to watch Stranger Things 2 all over again and try to theorize how El will face the– whoa sorry, spoilers– anyhow the point is- rewatch it. I personally find watching other stories can be very inspiring. In fact, watching other stories helps me figure out how to scale that inner wall in a way I never thought of.
Be responsible but be balanced too, friend.
I believe in you and I know you can do this. Follow these three easy tips and you’ll not only slam dunk NaNoWriMo but enjoy slam dunking it too. And after all, if you’re not having fun, what’s the point of it all, amigo?!
So, where are you at in the NaNoWriMo insanity? What you discovered since you began? What emotional goals are your characters reaching for? Please, hit me up in the comments section below. I’d love to talk shop with you!
Need help figuring out the NaNoWriMo craziness? Fear not, fellow writing warrior, I’ve got you covered. Check out my NaNoWriMo kit designed to help writers like you reach their 50,000-word goal in 30 days while still living their life:
And finally do me two favors:
- Subscribe to the Barely Hare Books Newsletter to receive two free gifts from me to you (with love) to help you wrap your head around this novel-writing business:
Get these for free!
2. Share this post with your NaNoWriMo community or tribe! Help your friends be successful this year too.