November. Cooler weather, crisp leaves, pumpkin spiced everything, and that crazy time of year called National Novel Writing Month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo—easier to say, too. It just rolls off the tongue. That time of year when all writers hibernate to write out 50,000 words in 30 days.
Be a Little Crazy
Say what? 50,000 words in 30 days? Are you insane? You’re going to attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days, while shopping for the holidays, preparing for Thanksgiving, working your job, taking care of the family, and not send your kids out to pee in the backyard or pour your toddlers food into the cat bowl? Why yes, yes I am!
You have to be a little crazy to be a writer. Writers talk to themselves, trying to figure out plot points in their story, have conversations with their characters, and you really don’t want to check their search history.
50,000 words in 30 days? How?
Planning. You may be a Pantser, but you really do need to do some planning for this if you wish to keep what little sanity you have as a writer intact. Your daily writing goal works out to be 1,667 words—roughly about four pages a day, single spaced.
When are you most productive? Do you write better in the morning or at night? If you are more creative in the morning, plan to write then, even if you have to get up an hour or two earlier to write before going to work. If you wait until after work to try to write, you’ll find yourself forcing it. Instead of 1,667 words, you have five, and two of those will be Chapter One. On the other hand, if you’re a Night Owl, writing first thing in the morning probably won’t work, even after your third cup of coffee. You’ll be worried about making your daily goal and sit there and stress for the entire morning, banging your head on your keyboard because you can’t find the words to write.
Caffeine. Stock up now on your caffeinated drink of choice. You’ll need it for those long writing marathons (it’s a marathon, not a sprint, as they say). Don’t overdo it, however, or you’ll be jittery and your writingwilllooklikethis or ttttthiiiisss. Buy a new mug for your drink, something special perhaps just for NaNoWriMo with a motivational quote on it. Coffee or tea not your thing? How about hot chocolate or a candy bar? The little bits of caffeine in chocolate may be enough to stimulate your creative juices. Make it dark chocolate for added health benefits.
Snacks. You have to eat sometime, right? Have healthy snacks at the ready to munch on while you’re thinking about how to kill off your bad guy.
Water. Don’t forget to hydrate, or your brain will turn to mush. Seriously, you’ll have a headache by Chapter Five. Plus caffeine is dehydrating. Drink your water!
Take a break! Get up and move around to get the blood flowing to your brain again, as well as to your legs and backside. Exercise, even if it’s just taking a walk around the block will help when you’ve hit that creative wall, and help you keep your sanity while writing those 1,667 words a day.
Turn off or silence your cell phone. Pretend you’re at work (you are) and aren’t allowed to answer your phone. The constant distraction from social media, emails, friends, etc, will certainly drive you crazy while trying to write.
No matter your writing style, keeping your sanity during this exciting month of writing will be beneficial to you and those around you. Otherwise, you have little Sally running to her room, screaming, “Mom’s putting my food in the cat bowl again!” Good luck to all you WriMos out there!
Margena Adams Holmes was born in Bellflower, CA sometime in the 1960s. She has always had a love for both reading and writing, writing her first song/poem in 1st grade. Margena is a big supporter of indie authors and will read anything that draws her into the story. She is an observer of life, and many everyday things could (and do!) end up in her writings. Her publications are available through her author page. Contact Margena via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.