If Nanowrimo helps with anything, that is putting a schedule, a deadline and a goal you need to reach. It is a way for you to create a daily habit that will (hopefully) carry you through the year, even when the structure of Nanowrimo isn’t there.
And there are a few things you can do, to reach that word count every day, whether it is just a 100 words a day or 1.666 words for Nano.
10 things to reach your wordcount goals~
It’s easy to get excited, it’s easy to want to pump out 2k or 5k per day but sometimes that is not a realistic goal. You need to know your own limits and choose a goal that best suits you.
Try not to write too much each day. I know, it sounds weird. There is no point though burning out on the first couple days of writing and then not being able to write because you just need to recover.
On the other side, if inspiration hits, milk it for all it’s worth.
Whether you like to write at your desk, on a rocking chair, in bed, or your favourite coffee shop, it doesn’t matter. Find the place you do your best writing and claim it as your own.
Create a habit. Start writing every day at the same time and your body and your brain is going to go into writing mode. Makes it easy to avoid writer’s block.
And let’s not forget your brain is a muscle. The more you write, the more words you’ll be able to pump out without your brain turning to mush.
So, make a schedule and keep to it.
Ban your inner editor:
You need to write. This is not the time for you to do any kind of editing. Even if you have an outline, you need to write down the first draft so you know the true story yourself, before you can finally start doing any kind of editing.
So stop stressing over it. You forgot something? Note it down. You want to change something? Note it. This is not the time to make any edits. This is the time to put words to paper.
Find your kind:
When you do anything in life, it’s wise to surround yourself with people that have the same goals so you. You need other writers around to keep you motivated, to bounce ideas off of. There are a million groups on Facebook, on Tumblr, on anywhere. Connect. If you are doing Camp Nano, join one of the cabins.
I’m very blessed to have Thorn and Gee. We write together, we do word-sprints, we brainstorm, we help each other when we get stuck. We read each other’s first drafts. I know. Horrifying. But it’s nice to have that circle of friends that’s into the same crazy things that you. That understand what you feel when one of your character’s is misbehaving or won’t talk to you.
My babies are good. They always talk to me.
*gives Azreth a cookie*
And yes. I’m picking favourites.
Now that you have your little community, your writing buddies or your cabin, you can force them to do word sprints with you. I mean, you can ask them. Politely. That’s what people do. Nobody threatens anybody here.
One other thing you can do is to follow the NanowordSprints on Twitter. They are very active especially during the Nano months and they do sprints all day (or so I think).
Just because writing is something you need to do on your own, it doesn’t mean you need to be alone while doing it.
It can be chocolate, it can be your favourite show, it can be an hour of your favourite video game. We like our little rewards when we do anything, especially when we work. Set up little rewards for yourself. Or big rewards. Buy something you wanted when you reach a big milestone. You finished Act I? Buy the thing you’ve been eyeing for a while.
Rewards are nice. They make our hearts flutter.
The web is dark and full of terrors, but every now and then you find some cool stuff, like the WrittenKitten app that rewards you with a cute photo every couple hundred of words.
Or if you are more hardcore, you can try the Write or Die app. You can either buy it, or just try it. Personally, I don’t much like it because I don’t like the extra fear and stress of my words being deleted, if my brain isn’t coming online. I worked hard for those words, damnit!
Do you have any other suggestions? What other things do you do when you are trying to reach a certain goal?
Whether you are doing Camp Nanowrimo, Nanowrimo or you just want to get some writing done every day, there are some things you might need to be your most productive self.
Things don’t have to be complicated. You don’t even need a whole lot of things and of course these are all optional.
13 things to keep you writing ~
Where would we be without coffee? Or tea for some people. It fuels us, it keeps us going or at least it gets us hyper enough to kill some people in our novels.
This is not based on personal experience. Apologies Thorn.
Now, if you plan to sit around a lot and get many words to paper, then you need food near by as well. Chocolate and candy are nice. Who doesn’t like that? Try some variety though. Throw in something healthy just to surprise your body.
I prefer cherries or grapes. Fruit that are easy to eat without too much work behind them.
I know right? We are being rather good and healthy here for some reason. I don’t know what happened. Where did we go wrong? *makes inhuman noises*
Jokes aside, water people. Your brain needs it. Especially if you are going to be having a lot of coffee. Stay hydrated.
I got to admit some times I forget to drink water and I have to keep a bottle or two near me at all times, or I might not drink any during the day.
The good thing about being a writer is that you don’t have to go outside unless you absolutely have to. Or want to, for some reason. So get comfy, stay in your pajamas, put on a loose t-shirt and sweat pants. Cozy socks if it’s winter. Stay in bed if you can’t. If you have a cat or a dog, keep them with you. You can’t get cozier than that.
This sounds a bit weird, I know. Just bear with me. You don’t need a planner exactly. It’s all right if you use your phones calendar app. The point here is to schedule in your writing time and guard it like your life depends on it.
It doesn’t matter if it’s an hour or three, or simply 20 minutes. Make sure you find that little time every day and schedule it.
Preferably, you’d need to write the same time every day. It’s better that way, your mind and your body gets accustomed to writing during that time, you are creating a habit.
So, plan your writing time. Don’t skip. It’s your work.
Grab the thing you like to write in. Whether it is in a fancy notebook or your trusty laptop, grab them and sit down. Tell them they look beautiful today. You’ll be working with them a lot. You might as well be on their good side.
I personally use an Alphasmart Neo and it’s perfect for this time of the year because it doesn’t heat-up like my laptop during the Greek Summer.
Whether you like to listen to regular music or instrumental, grab the thing that inspires your writing the most and blast it until you drown out every other sound. Get in the mood for that fight scene, for that romantic confession, for that heart-wrenching revelation.
I like to listen to both. Usually I want songs with lyrics cause I match them with my characters. Yes, I use songs for character building. I’m weird. But sometimes, when I’m too distracted, I can only listen to instrumental. Or when I can’t find the right song to match what I want to write.
Now, I realise this one is not a necessity. Some people don’t outline. Some people do. So this one is optional for the people who outline. Like me.
I find it very useful to have my outline around, to be able to look at it and tweak it if need be. Cause of course, the outline is a suggestion at best, as frustrating as that is. Characters and situations have a tendency to go their own way, with little regard for the poor writer.
Still, keep it around. Print it if you can. Stare at it. Hope your characters behave.
Notebook & Pretty Pens:
Keep them handy. You never know when an idea might strike you while you are in the midst of writing, or if you’ll get in your head something you’ll need to edit later. Don’t break momentum when you write though, that’s just the worst thing. Make a note of it so you don’t forget and come back to it later.
It’s also a good excuse for pretty notebooks and colourful pens.
*drags Thorn and Gee in here*
Grab your writing friends, the people you write with and write with them. Brainstorm with them. It’s always better if you have a circle of people around you that you can talk to about your writing.
If they are really good friends, you can bother them at all times and they won’t mind. They might bother you back.
And it’s a nice kind of bothering.
Now that you have your writing buddies around, force them to do word sprints with you.
Word sprints are fun, they help you pump out words without stressing too much over a blank page. They are fun, quick and there is a bit of a competition to them. Nothing’s better than a bit of competition. No. I’m not competitive. Why would you even say that?
Back up. And then back up some more. You don’t want to lose things, you don’t want to lose words. Email your manuscript to you, have a dropbox, an evernote, a trusty little usb dive. Something. You are going to need something if you are going to keep those words safe and sound. You do not want to lose them no matter what.
No, you don’t need to go and get yourself a door. We are not that weird here. Don’t be ridiculous. But you do need to go and close your door and make sure that nobody disturbs you during your writing session. Put on a little sign if you have to. Lock it if you absolutely must.
Don’t forget to let the animals out if you are going to lock your door. You are not look for distractions here.
So, close that door, put butt to chair, fingers to keyboard (or pen) and get to writing.
Those are the things we came up with. If you have any more suggestions, leave them in the comments below. We’d love to hear them.
Camp Nano is just around the corner people! Time to buckle up and get the words out there.