We have passed the half way mark in the 2017 National Novel Writing Month, which is an achievement in itself! For those who dont know, NaNoWriMo is an annual writing challenge, encouraging writers to pen 50,000 words during the 30 days of November. It is no easy task, with even veteran writers struggling to keep up the consistency.
I have participated in Nano for the last 3 years, and thankfully, have a pretty good success rate. This year, I have already completed my 50,000 words (finished November 14), but still have a long way to go in my project, so am working to keep up with the springs, schedule, and prompts along with my Nano team!
A trend I have noticed among other Wattpad writers in my Nano group, is the struggle with motivation. We all love to write. We love our story ideas. We love seeing the worlds in our minds come to life. But sometimes, getting the words onto the page with steady consistency is harder than bathing a cat. Which I’ve tried to do. Trust me. It sucks, and both may leave you a little scarred.
So, as promised, Fangirlish is going to try to help you through your writing woes with tips and tricks on things we have noticed in our own nano-ing. This time, it is all about keeping the motivation alive!
Make a REALISTIC Schedule
This was a tip in our first Nano article in how to best prepare for Nano success, and it is probably one of the biggest tips for any writer. Especially those faced with a deadline of any sort, whether it be agent edits, publisher deadlines, or November 30th. But it isnt just about making a schedule, and having it loom in front of you like a beacon of all the words you arent writing. There is a knack to making a positive, supportive schedule during nano, and it is pretty simple once you learn the trick.
It is all about small, attainable goals. No, you dont have to write 10,000 words a day. You dont even have to write 5,000 words a day. The best way to keep yourself motivated, is small goals. For instance, break it down by scene:
Scene: Character goes into store, and meets boy.
Target word count: 1,000.
Time limit: 3 hours.
See. Simple. You’ve given yourself more than enough time you would realistically need to write 1,000 words. And chances are, this scene will be much longer than your target word count, which in turn adds more words to your daily tally. If the daily, weekly, or monthly counts are too much to focus on, break it down by scene, with small goals. It wont be so scary, and you’re more likely to achieve success.
Get Rid of Distraction
Twitter is the devil to any writer on a deadline. Trust me, I’m scrolling through it on my phone while I write this article. But distractions can mean doom for a writer facing Nano, so do your best to eliminate things you know will throw you off course. Leave your phone in another room. Turn off the ringer. Tell the family you need 1 hour alone, no interruptions. Yes, easier said than done, but minimizing these distractions will improve your chances of getting words on the page.
Get a Support Group
Again, this is another tip from our first Nano article, but its another necessity to success. You need support, and there is no better source than others going through the same trials as you are. So join a Nano group, and cheer each other on. They are also great platforms for plot holes, plot bunnies, and all plot related issues. You can commiserate when your word count is 0, and cheer when you hit 10,000. They are your backup and cheering squad to find the best one you can!
Keep Yourself Organized
This is another pitfall of all writers. You have a great idea while driving, at work, or somewhere else that doesnt allow you to hop on your computer and let it all play out. By the time you get home, all that brilliance is lost. But it doesnt have to be! Get a notebook, and keep it on you at all times. When inspiration strikes, jot down notes that will remind you of it later when you are in front of your computer and ready to write. This also helps with plot holes, dialogue, or general story ideas. I have 3 notebooks at my bedside, and one in my car. Yup, I’m a little crazy. Dont want to carry notebooks? Thats fine. Use the voicenote app on your phone and dictate to yourself. Yes, we all hate how we sound on our phones, but trust me, you will be glad you make these reminders and kept yourself organized.
Other ways? Post it notes for scenes broken down by chapter. Awesome Wattpad writers like Rebecca Sky and LD Crichton both use this method, their tables covered in colorful notes to break down their scenes and chapters. Some people use mood boards, aesthetics and more to keep themselves inspired and get into the world they are building. There is no wrong way to keep organized, so long as it works for you!
We will be posting a final NaNoWriMo update at the end of the month to check in with all the progress and final tips for what to do now that its all over! So check back soon!