It’s actually pretty easy to meet your National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) goals, but there are a few things you need to do to make sure you succeed. In this post I share the mindset necessary for NaNoWriMo that you can apply to any creative endeavor to get things done!
Even though I won’t be participating in NaNoWriMo this November, I thought I would share a few lessons I’ve learned about writing a novel in a month (or less!).
I haven’t written fiction in some time, but when I did write, I pumped it out at a break-neck pace (a lot of the systems I used I included in The Essential Author Log here). My first novel I wrote in a little over a week. I’ve written other first drafts in less than a month’s time. While I wouldn’t recommend writing 100,000 words in a week’s time (it’s a very imbalanced way to be and does NOT facilitate wellness), getting 50,000 words done in a month is VERY doable and below I will share the techniques I’ve used to successfully complete novel manuscripts (as well as other creative endeavors – because these can be used FOR ANYTHING!).
How to Ensure Your Success
First, planning makes everything easier. If you plan out how your project will go during the month, it will be a piece of cake. This can mean outlining, or it could mean establishing daily goals. For example, if you have 50,000 words to complete in 30 days, divide your goal by the amount of time you have to complete it. In this case, you need to write 1667 words daily for the entire 30 days (for more tips on productivity, read my post here).
Some days you may struggle to meet that number, and other days you may complete double the amount. So how do you make sure you stay on track? This leads to my next piece of advice: creating accountability.
When you see your goals written out and you have the accountability of other writers participating in NaNoWriMo, it’s easier to maintain discipline. Deciding that every day you’re going to write certain number of words makes a difference, but sharing that with a community of other like-minded creatives keeps you on track (for more info on guides and community, read my post here!). If you don’t complete that amount of words on Tuesday, you just add it to Wednesday. It’s not a big deal. Just keep going and share your progress with your community!
Don’t feel bad if someone writes more than you. Celebrate their successes. We’re all on our particular creative journeys and you don’t know exactly what’s going on in their life this week (or what struggle they may encounter next week!). They may not have as good a time next week, or maybe they have a very different project than you do. Whatever the case, they are on their own journey and you are on yours. Others will celebrate your successes too. It’s all part of the experience (for more wisdom about enjoying someone else’s success, check out my Intentional Writer Interview with Camille DeAngelis here! Her book, LIFE WITHOUT ENVY, is AH-MAZING!).
Remember: the difference between a writer and a hobbyist is commitment. NaNoWriMo is an opportunity for a hobbyist to work like a professional writer, committed to daily and weekly goals with a deadline. It gives you a taste of what to expect from the profession. For professional writers, it’s an opportunity to turn work into a fun exercise. Take the time to fully embrace it!
Finally, everyone has their own processes. Figure out what works for you. It doesn’t matter if a regular bestseller writes with an outline if that would make you pull your hair out (note: my fiction was always done from the seat of my pants, while my non-fiction always has an outline!). If it doesn’t work for you, don’t do it. If it doesn’t feel right, don’t do it. This should be fun (even if it is work).
There are a lot of writers working through the same process as you. Have fun with this! And if you need help, reach out. That is why there are forums and Facebook groups! Having communities of writers to connect with transformed my creative life. I would not be where I am now without them!
I wish you success with NaNoWriMo. It’s a marathon, and I know you’ll finish strong!
If you struggle with your creative process, maintaining momentum, or feeling like your story isn’t good enough, schedule a FREE no obligation 30 minute coaching session with me! I’d love to help you transform your creative life! Contact me here to schedule!
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