I can’t believe I did it; 50k words in 30 days! To say I am ecstatic is even an understatement. This is more than I have ever written for this book series and if you have been following my writing journey, you know that I have been working on this for a very long time.
When starting Nation Novel Writing Month, I knew that my book wouldn’t be finished by the time November was up. I knew my story was more that 50k words, so I set out with the intention of using this as the kick-start I needed to begin treating my writing like a job even if I’m not getting paid yet.
Because of that, I learned and accomplished more in this last month that I ever have with my writing. Here are some things I did that helped me succeed:
Create a writing habit and treat it like a job.
I haven’t commuted since March, so at the beginning of the pandemic, I just slept in each morning. But I realized with no where to go at night keeping me out late, and no where to be in the morning, I started getting up to write from 6:00am to 9:00am before I had to sign on for work! It was the best decision I made. I wrote every single day during that time. Of course there were “off” days, so I would make up for it at night and on the weekends.
In addition, I set daily word goals. 1670 a day would get me to 50k in thirty days, so I made that my goal and adjusted accordingly when I exceeded it. Some days I was on a roll and would hit 2700 so then I knew that on the days where I wasn’t doing as well, I had wiggle room.
I don’t know if I believe in “manifestation”, but I do firmly believe that if you have a hobby, passion, or side-project that you love and want to turn into a full-time job, then you have to treat is as such. I worked on my writing every single day! It not only put me in a better position for success, but it also made me incredibly happy to do what I love on a daily basis.
Prepare! Prepare in whatever way works for you.
For me, that meant outlining. If you follow me on Instagram, you saw my crazy process! Well, it isn’t crazy for me, in fact it is the opposite of crazy. It calms the crazy.
My writing process always starts out chaotic. I have notes everywhere; physical, mental, on my phone, on my computer spread across Word and OneNote. I do a huge brain dump of summaries and plot outlines, I write character arcs and backstories, and then when I feel like I’m in a good place, I create an outline on poster board that looks like this:
Each color is a different character, each card is a scene/chapter, and each orange post-it is either a question I need to answer, a “maybe” aspect of the story, or a plot hole I discovered while outlining. They are in chapter order, so now I have my book laid out in front of me! For me, it is incredibly helpful. Then, when I sit down to actually draft, I go card by card, chapter by chapter.
Invest in products that will help your craft.
This is me telling you to buy things!
For me, this meant Scrivener, and all of the supplies I used for my outlining boards. Scrivener was the most important investment. I had been using Word, which was fine for when I was casually writing and for my short stories, but once I moved onto this complex novel, that is part one in an I-don’t-even-know-how-long-anymore series, I needed to be much more organized.
I knew that when you finished NaNoWriMo you got a discount code, but I couldn’t wait anymore and purchased it early for $49 which is incredibly worth it. It’s also helpful for NaNoWrimo because you can set word count goals and track your progress much easier than in Word. The first day I started using it, I immediately saw a difference and I was hitting my goals faster and exceeding them.
I stayed positive and practiced self care!
It is very easy to feel overwhelmed when starting a project under a strict deadline. It’s also easy to be hard on yourself if you don’t meet goals you’ve set for yourself. Some days I couldn’t even get 100 words out, and some I would do 3,000 easily. On those “off” days, I would just tell myself that every day isn’t going to be like that. Every single writer in the history of writers has had those days. Sure enough, the next day or the day after, I’d be back to my normal self.
Likewise, it’s also very easy for writers to over-exert themselves. Some people might think it’s not possible since “all you’re doing is sitting”, but that certainly isn’t all we do. It’s important to practice self-care while you’re writing, like remembering to drink water, sit up straight, take standing and eye/wrist breaks, but also to practice self-care afterwards. I prioritized the gym, reading, and SLEEP after I finished writing for the day.
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