Keep Calm and Write

We interrupt our regularly scheduled spotlight feature to bring you a NaNo prep post. 

Spotlights will be on hold for November and return on Monday, December 4th. 

Hard to believe we’re getting to the nitty-gritty of the fall season! Come November 1 I will embark on my second year of National Novel Writing Month.

Here are some tips that helped me get through last year—maybe they’ll help you too:

  • Pick a novel you WANT to work on, not one you NEED to work on
  • NaNoWriMo should be fun. Being forced to write something you don’t enjoy sucks. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know you have a contract and need to get the next book in your series done, but if the book isn’t something you’re super excited about, table it for after NaNo. I want your fingers to fly across the keyboard to the point where you’re destroying your daily word count.

  • Clean your house/apartment
  • Procrastination likes to nudge. You know how it gets you? By whispering in your ear that your tub needs scrubbing, the kitchen floor needs mopping, or those three loads of laundry need to be done right now. NaNo lasts for an entire month. It’s inevitable that you’ll have to get in some light cleaning, unless dust bunnies and mildew are your jam, but don’t let the heavy-duty jobs suck you in. If you need to clean your oven or defrost your fridge do it now. Need to regrout that bathroom tile? DO IT NOW. Kick distraction’s ass and make your home shiny and sparkly in the process.

  • Create a playlist
  • Soundtracks are my life. For every single project I work on, I create a playlist that represents my couple. The songs are indicative of my characters’ personalities as well as the trajectory of their relationship. I also organize the songs by scene. This helps IMMENSELY when I’m stuck or need the motivation to power through and exceed word count goals for the day. Let’s face it, some days writing isn’t the thing we want to do. Watch movies? Sure. Watch porn? You betcha. Write? Womp womp womp. Not always. All it takes is a day of falling behind for your NaNo to get completely derailed. When you feel yourself walking near the pit of despair, cue up the playlist! It helps, I swear.

  • Get your food on
  •  If you’re unable to get to the grocery store to stock up on noshables, try one of those home delivery services. FreshDirect, PeaPod, Blue Apron or whatever is available in your area. Life can be crazy hectic, why not scratch food shopping off your to-do list? These websites will help you, and your loved ones won’t starve to death in the process. I mean, do you really want your cats to eat your carcass?

  • Have some sort of outline ready to go
  •  As a former panster, this is the holy grail of preparation. Your framework can be as detailed or as bare-bones as you’d like, but for chrissakes, have something to guide you. I find that when I don’t outline, I get stuck. My brain is like WUT. WUT IZ WERDS? Don’t self-sabotage, peeps.

  • Ditch social media 
  • Yep, I said it. If you’ve been following the news today, would it be so horrible to tune out for a bit? #indictmentMonday #KevinSpaceyiscanceled

    Social media can become an unwanted distraction. Some people can multitask and log into their fave website and be totally fine. Me? I see something that freaks me out, and my writing comes to a grinding halt. Last year, I was doing GREAT up until the election. I had to really dig deep to finish NaNo, and time spent on social media only made my finishing more challenging. So, if you know social media is a trigger that can stifle your progress, delete all the apps. Worst case scenario, have a loved one change your passwords and not tell you until Nov 30th. Drastic times call for drastic measures. I WANT YOU TO SUCCEED!

    • Have fun 

    Even if you don’t hit 50k, whatever words you end up with are more than you had at the beginning of the month. That’s progress! Celebrate your victories no matter how big or small.

    And that’s it for my NaNoWriMo prep. Easy peasy.

    I love seeing those glorious word counts on my dashboard! And for each night I exceed my word count, I intend to reward myself with Outlander episodes. Maybe a little Mindhunter too.

    Here’s to hoping you kick ass next month. If you’re registered on the NaNoWriMo website, add me as a buddy! See you in December!

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