This is my thirteenth year doing NaNoWriMo and my projected twelfth win. I’ve won as early as my birthday in early November (a delightful gift to myself last year!) and as late as November 18. I’m a fast writer – I’m a prolific writer.
I can’t give you my formula for writing so quickly (though I may try later this month!), but I can give you some valuable advice that could help you conquer NaNoWriMo 2021.
- Commit to yourself and your fellow writers – You will do this!
- Choose a story that excites you and gets your juices flowing creatively. You’re not going to happily make it (or make it at all?) to November 30 with 50,000 words if you aren’t in love with your project.
- Let folks in your life know you’re going to be a bit anti-social in November – then surprise yourself and them by hitting that word count goal each day early so you can still hang out (when possible).
- Get public about your goals – post on your social media. You’ll be too embarrassed to just give up! And normally, I would never suggest such a method, but if you’re like most creatives out there, procrastination is a barrier to get over, and getting public about your goals can help you cross the finish line while the race is still on.
- Don’t think – just write!
- And if you really have to do some research as you write, make sure you’ve got your writing resources close at hand.
- And absolutely, 100% do not self-edit along the way! You’ll find it much more difficult, if not impossible, to finish if you keep stopping to edit the previous paragraph, page, or chapter.
- Make every milestone a celebration and toast your successes! My hubby and I make a true event of NaNoWriMo every year, starting it off with decorating early for Christmas on Halloween (yes, we’re those people) and drinking sparkling grape juice. Next day, we hit up the post-Halloween candy sales and allow ourselves some little rewards all month when we meet goals we’ve set for ourselves. And when we cross that 50,0000 word line – it’s a party in our house!
- Set aside a specific place to write. Even if you work from home – perhaps especially so – you need a sacred writing space. Set it up before NaNoWriMo starts and keep it separate all month.
- Consider getting a writer’s hat, scarf, tie, wig, or other item that helps signal “I’m writing here!” both to yourself and to your family or housemates. It really helps!
Engage in these practices and you’re well on your way to finishing that draft of your novel come November 30. Seriously – these things have never failed me yet.
Editor-in-Chief of The MockingOwl Roost, Rita Mock-Pike is the granddaughter of aviatrix, Jerrie Mock, first woman to pilot an airplane solo around the world. Rita has found inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theatre, podcasting, novel writing, and cooking up delicious food from around the world. She now writes on food, travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves the very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.