People worry about other things during NaNo? They like… eat, sleep, and complete other tasks? They function like a normal human? Sounds fake to me.
Unbelievably enough, the world doesn’t stop and cater to us in November by giving us a little bit of a break. How rude. We have to work around these other tasks while also reaching 50,000 words.
Make an outline. Please, do this. It saves a lot of time. I’ve written a blog post about this, but I’ll say it again. Scenario 1: it’s 10 PM. You’ve already worked your full time job, or went to school, did whatever it is you do. You’re exhausted, but you know you need to sit down and write. You stare at the blank page. You don’t have an outline- you have no idea where your novel is headed. THE HORROR. Scenario 2: it’s 10 PM. You’ve already worked your full time job, or went to school, did whatever it is you do. You’re exhausted, but you know you need to sit down and write. You have an outline, allowing you to write the bare bones of your scene down until you get to the word count goal you set. Phew. Time for bed.
What other things do you want to accomplish this month and/or what other things do you need to do everyday on top of hitting the word count goal? Write these things down. Everyday I need to… Hit my word count, exercise, do yoga, work on my assignments, study for class, make dinner, etc. I want to read 3 books. Then, write down how you can accomplish these goals.
How many hours of sleep a night do you need to be a normally functioning human? Ever since I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer, the answer for me is 9. I need at least 9 hours of sleep a night to not be a blubbering idiot the next day. I don’t compromise this for anything, and you shouldn’t either. Sleep is important and fabulous.
When can you write? Establishing times when you can write is a life saver for NaNo. Even if it’s not the same time everyday, at least you have some knowledge of when you can write. Shut your door, turn down your phone, and log off of twitter. It’s writing time.
When can’t you write? Do you not want to write on Thanksgiving? Do you have a wedding one weekend? Establish and plan for the days you can’t write so you don’t get too far behind.
Food. I’m not talking typical NaNo food, consisting of coffee and cereal thrown together at 10 PM ’cause you forgot to eat. No, no, no. Breaks are good. Use breaks to fuel your brain because you have lots of good ideas.
NaNo isn’t everything. For a lot of us, NaNo is everything in November. But it really isn’t. Hit the word count goal that day and complete your other goals. If you have time after that, then write. A lot of people (including myself) experience burnout during NaNo. We put too much into it the first few days and are often exhausted and give up the remaining days. Don’t do that.
Go outside. Drink some hot chocolate. Take a walk. Hangout with friends and family. I guarantee you can hit your word count goal and still have some sanity.
Until next time, Allison