NaNoWriMo Kickoff!

Guess what, writers? It’s finally that time of year – the beginning of November – a writer’s best friend! We’re kicking off NaNoWriMo, so let’s do it with a running start, 2.3 tons of chocolate, and a couple explosions (fictional ones, but of course).

As I’ve said before, I just never get around to planning my NaNo novel in October, especially not in my university student years. This year, it’s even more challenging for me – 3 presentations, all due at the beginning of November. So that means that no, I didn’t actually start NaNo on November 1st this year, but that’s not going to stop me from getting to the finish line.

With all this excitement and the likely accompanying adrenaline rush you may be receiving that usually comes along with the start of a new challenge, you all may breezing through this thing. Or maybe you’re thinking, I don’t know how I’m going to possibly write that many words without describing the 203 different threads of color in my protagonist’s bedroom rug. Either way, today I’m going to give you 3 things to do to make sure you keep those words flowing.

  1. Find your favorite writing place. Chances are, you already have one. If so, try some new ones, because a change of atmosphere and surroundings will do wonders. Try matching it to the tone of the scene you’re writing. So if you’re writing a scene where your character is working amid the chaos of a restaurant kitchen, find a chaotic, noisy place like that. No, don’t necessarily sneak into a restaurant’s back room, but just try to match the tone. Something about putting yourself in the right mindset like this has worked great for me. Once, I was writing a bustling, energy-filled scene of my novel and without thinking about it, I brought my notebook with me to write in a crazy Black Friday line at 1am. Totally unintentional, but the atmosphere made my story feel real.
  2.  Do word sprints. Ah, those lovely things I live off of like coffee. Time yourself and see how much of your novel you can write in 5 minutes. Then 10 minutes. Race other writers you know or meet online. Just never let your fingers stop typing. If it’s not coming out, open a new document and type out a list of “rules” about your fantasy world, in no particular order or structure. Or write every thing you can think about your character. This contributes to your story too – it’s not a waste. Plus, it’s time you might be spending staring at a white screen otherwise, anyway.
  3. Rewards! All of the rewards. I’ve talked about this before, but when you find your mind wandering to all the other cool things you could be doing, come up with rewards when you meet certain word marks. Whether that is a kitten picture, a movie you’ve been wanting to watch, or not having to wash the dishes, pick something, and have someone else only give you this thing if you make your goal. My ML (municipal liason – basically the NaNo coordinator for my town) told me she knew someone who made out a check to a nonprofit he hated, gave it to a friend, and told him to send it to the organization if he didn’t make his word goal (he made his word goal).

As Day 2 of NaNo winds down, let’s keep going strong! Let me know in the comments how your novels are going so far. How much have you written? Have you hit any roadblocks? Throughout the month of NaNo, I’ll be posting more regularly than normal, so stay tuned for lots more NaNo talk, motivation, and (quite possibly) a few rants about chocolate deprivation.

Published by laurenhallstrom

Lauren is the author of two CIPA EVVY award-winning novels, both written when she was a teen. She writes contemporary fantasy for tweens and young adults. She holds an undergraduate degree in English at Colorado State University and currently works in a public library. More often than not you can find her there - promoting lifelong learning, staring off into space, and dreaming up new stories.

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