Are You Ready for NaNoWriMo?

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A joyous Monday to you all on this, one of the most important holidays of the year. Why, it’s NaNo Prep Day, of course!

So, who’s ready for NaNoWriMo? Got that profile on the site filled out, your outline ready to go? I hope so, because it’s time to hit the ground running tomorrow. Even if you’re scrambling to get everything together today, don’t panic! One of the best things about NaNo is that there are no stakes, simply words. If you haven’t quite finished your outline or fleshed out your idea, write anyway.

As we step into this word-filled November, here are some tips to help you reach that 50k-word goal.

1. Have a basic outline

Even if you’re a pantser like me, it helps to have some kind of outline – as simple as just one sentence per chapter – as a guide. You might be excited to write at the start of NaNo, but that’ll likely fade when you wade into the mire of the middle.

With a handy outline, you have a general idea of where you’re going and what each chapter will contain so you don’t have to get stuck when your brain draws a blank on what should happen next. Even if you don’t follow the outline exactly, the important thing is that you have a guide to follow.

2. Make the word counter disappear

Yep, I mean it.

How many times do you glance at the word counter during a writing session when you’re trying to reach a word count goal? Probably every other second. Think about how many more words you could write if you weren’t distracted by the word count!

So yes, make sure your word counter is invisible on whichever word processor you type away on. Only once you’re done with your writing session can you look.

3. Do writing sprints

Ever heard of writing sprints? You might already be doing them even if you don’t know what they are. All you do is set aside a chunk of time where you do nothing but write, usually 10-20 minutes. When time is up, you stop immediately, then take a break and do as many writing sprints as you want to.

The point is to be focused solely on writing so you can write as many words as possible. So get rid of all distractions and notifications and let yourself just write.

4. Don’t be afraid to use plot bunnies

Apparently I have the definition of plot bunnies wrong, but to be honest, I like my idea of them better. In reality, plot bunnies are defined as ideas that won’t go away until they’re written down. I’ve always used the term “plot bunnies” quite differently.

If you do get stuck in the middle of your story with no idea of where to go next, that’s where the plot bunnies come in! They’re random people, things, or events that you shove into your story randomly when you can’t think of what to write (at least, that’s how we used the term in middle school).

So, say my two characters Barrie and Eloise are at the grocery store and I have no idea what will happen in the next scene. Instead of sitting there and agonising over it, I write about a flood of monkeys suddenly invading the store. Now, Eloise and Barrie must escape from the wild primates! Is it relevant to the story? Probably not, but it almost always propels me to the next scene (which is relevant), and I’ll go back during the editing stage to change the monkey scene into something that fits.

This is a great (and fun!) tool to use if you’re ever stuck during NaNo.

5. You can do it!

NaNo can seem daunting at the start, or maybe even when you’re in the middle of it. But always remember: you can do it! You have the ability and you have the time; you just need to press on past your fear and do it. If you fall into a rut, just think about how awesome it’ll be to have a 50k-word story under your belt at the end of it all. Even if you don’t finish, you’ll have written something, and that’s incredible!

I hope these tips will help you along your journey to 50k words! Keep me updated on your NaNo progress in the comments.

Happy writing!

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Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

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When you write as much as I do, you have to take frequent breaks from sitting. A standing desk (not a whole desk, but a mini desk that will sit on top of my current desk with my laptop, keyboard, and mouse and extend upward) will allow me to continue working while maintaining that good blood flow to my brain. Thank you so much for your support that allows me to keep producing free content. God bless you! ♥️ E.J.


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