The setup for NaNoWriMo at home, if I need to ...

The setup for NaNoWriMo at home, if I need to be portable. Long exposure lit by sweeping an LED flashlight over the scene. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m preparing for my first NaNoWriMo this fall, and while I’m not sure what I can offer in terms of advice to others, I can tell you what I do that helps me write successfully.

First, find a place where you can write without distraction, or with as few distractions as possible. Don’t let yourself get distracted with other activities. Your writing place can be as simple as a favorite chair, or a corner in your bedroom, or even your garage or basement. Sometimes, it’s a ‘thinking cap’ that you put on, and whenever you have it on, you go into ‘writing mode’. Whatever or wherever it is, claim it for writing and remember to write or think about writing whenever you are there.

Second, use headphones with music or background noise that allows you to focus in on what you’re doing. Don’t try to write while sitting on the couch in front of the blaring TV, with kids underfoot, or whatever it is that distracts you. Privacy is nice, but not always possible, so try to create the privacy internally with music or noise.

Third, set a goal and stick to it. For NaNoWriMo it’s easy. 50k words divided by 30 days is 1667 words a day. If you know you’re going to have days off, you might want to make it 2000 words a day instead. Try to write to that goal every day, especially if you don’t feel like it. Sometimes our down and depressed days provide the best emotional fodder for writing. Note that by getting ahead of your goal actually helps you write more, because then you aren’t pressured to perform.

Finally, learn what works when you get stuck. For Stephen King, it’s a walk. For someone else, it’s a bike ride. For someone else it could be a 20 minute phone call to a brother or sister. Whatever it is, find it, and use it when you get stuck, so that you can get back into writing without sitting there for hours feeling unproductive and bored.

Hope this helps at least someone!

neophyte novelist

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