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Make Writing a Priority in NaNoWriMo

by Greer | Content Lead | Writing Tips | Writer's Life

In order to ‘win’ NaNoWriMo, a writer must ensure they are equipped and ready to make their writing goal a priority. Living a fast and busy life, through work or family commitments, may cause you to think there is little you can do on this front but that is far from true!


Let’s consider just a few practical ways you can make NaNoWriMo successful by making your writing a priority.



Start Right Away


Start your journey on Day 1. Obviously, this will give you the most time to achieve the 50,000 word count. Even if you can only dedicate minutes to writing, getting started is sometimes the hardest part for some writers participating so it is a worthwhile hurdle to get over as soon as you can. Additionally, consider starting your day with a writing session, before other tasks can get in the way. This might mean you wake up earlier than usual if possible. Doing this also prevents you from getting too in-your-head and creating reasons to procrastinate. Some writers swear by writing 100 words before doing anything else in the morning.


Set A Schedule


When participating in NaNoWriMo, a routine that fits you is a must. Block out periods of each day of the week where you could reasonably sit down to write. This is also beneficial if you find yourself with very busy days where you might not have as much time as you would like as you can then set up additional writing blocks on your lighter days to make up the difference. If you have a fluctuating schedule, it might be worth using your Preptober days creating a day-by-day calendar that can be adjusted as you go. All you need to do then is actually sit when your schedule tells you to. Extra writing is wonderful, but do not let it come at the expense of a writing block.

Write in the Empty Spaces


If you can’t find a solid hour, make a point of writing in those smaller gaps of time throughout the day. Five minutes here, ten minutes there… It’ll add up quickly. Leave your NaNoWriMo document open and pocket-sized notebook handy so you can jot down a few lines between projects or during snippets of waiting time. Making a habit of leaving sentences half-written - preferably in mid-thought or phrase - will allow for you to zone right back in without much trouble.

Go Mobile


This is the 21st century: writing is no longer limited to paper, pen or desk. Technology makes accessing writing tools both easy, fast and perfect for on-the-go writers. Your biggest tool is whatever you carry with you – for most of us, it is our phone. Writing on your phone or tablet may not seem appealing but you might be missing out on a trick! Google Docs, Dropbox, and mobile versions of Microsoft Word and other word processors make writing your story extremely doable. Ensure you have some form of cloud storage set up and get to downloading. Many writers – especially when working on their first draft – swear by using voice-to-text technology which is usually already installed on most mobile devices. This technology is able to include punctuation on command and the resulting text can easy be copy-and-pasted over to your preferred word processor.


Connect with Writers


It may seem like a bad idea inviting others to interact with you during this focused time. After all, shouldn’t you be writing? There are actually several benefits to connecting with other writers, but let’s just consider three: Encouragement, Accountability and Competition. With encouragement, you can feel empowered to keep going when your confidence battery is low. Offering mutual support - be it through a well-timed ‘You got this!’ or having another person to bounce ideas off of - is a cornerstone of the writing community. Accountability to others in your writing network will urge you to meet your daily goals - after all, someone will be asking why if you don’t! And finally, a healthy dose of competition is a strong motivator. At the end of the day, your story will stand on its own, but in the meantime you can use the knowledge someone else is running alongside you to ignite a fire in your fast-typing fingers!

In order to ‘win’ NaNoWriMo, a writer must ensure they are equipped and ready to make their writing goal a priority. Living a fast and busy life, through work or family commitments, may cause you to think there is little you can do on this front but that is far from true!


Let’s consider just a few practical ways you can make NaNoWriMo successful by making your writing a priority.



Start Right Away


Start your journey on Day 1. Obviously, this will give you the most time to achieve the 50,000 word count. Even if you can only dedicate minutes to writing, getting started is sometimes the hardest part for some writers participating so it is a worthwhile hurdle to get over as soon as you can. Additionally, consider starting your day with a writing session, before other tasks can get in the way. This might mean you wake up earlier than usual if possible. Doing this also prevents you from getting too in-your-head and creating reasons to procrastinate. Some writers swear by writing 100 words before doing anything else in the morning.


Set A Schedule


When participating in NaNoWriMo, a routine that fits you is a must. Block out periods of each day of the week where you could reasonably sit down to write. This is also beneficial if you find yourself with very busy days where you might not have as much time as you would like as you can then set up additional writing blocks on your lighter days to make up the difference. If you have a fluctuating schedule, it might be worth using your Preptober days creating a day-by-day calendar that can be adjusted as you go. All you need to do then is actually sit when your schedule tells you to. Extra writing is wonderful, but do not let it come at the expense of a writing block.

Write in the Empty Spaces


If you can’t find a solid hour, make a point of writing in those smaller gaps of time throughout the day. Five minutes here, ten minutes there… It’ll add up quickly. Leave your NaNoWriMo document open and pocket-sized notebook handy so you can jot down a few lines between projects or during snippets of waiting time. Making a habit of leaving sentences half-written - preferably in mid-thought or phrase - will allow for you to zone right back in without much trouble.

Go Mobile


This is the 21st century: writing is no longer limited to paper, pen or desk. Technology makes accessing writing tools both easy, fast and perfect for on-the-go writers. Your biggest tool is whatever you carry with you – for most of us, it is our phone. Writing on your phone or tablet may not seem appealing but you might be missing out on a trick! Google Docs, Dropbox, and mobile versions of Microsoft Word and other word processors make writing your story extremely doable. Ensure you have some form of cloud storage set up and get to downloading. Many writers – especially when working on their first draft – swear by using voice-to-text technology which is usually already installed on most mobile devices. This technology is able to include punctuation on command and the resulting text can easy be copy-and-pasted over to your preferred word processor.


Connect with Writers


It may seem like a bad idea inviting others to interact with you during this focused time. After all, shouldn’t you be writing? There are actually several benefits to connecting with other writers, but let’s just consider three: Encouragement, Accountability and Competition. With encouragement, you can feel empowered to keep going when your confidence battery is low. Offering mutual support - be it through a well-timed ‘You got this!’ or having another person to bounce ideas off of - is a cornerstone of the writing community. Accountability to others in your writing network will urge you to meet your daily goals - after all, someone will be asking why if you don’t! And finally, a healthy dose of competition is a strong motivator. At the end of the day, your story will stand on its own, but in the meantime you can use the knowledge someone else is running alongside you to ignite a fire in your fast-typing fingers!

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