NaNoWriMo is an adventure, and something of a feat. Write a novel in 30 days. That novel can, and often is, distilled into the act of writing 1667 words per day.
Some days those words come easily, other days you tear your hair out trying to drag out the first 100. This post is about helping you hit those goals, especially when you hit the dark times – the middle of the month.
These methods really boil down to finding out what motivates you, and how to make the most of that.
First, before we get into that, we have to look at mind-set and preparation.
If you want to hit those goals, you have to be prepared and in the right headspace. It’s no good sitting down with no clue what you’re writing and surrounded by distractions. If you know you have errands to run and they’re going to bug you, or the neighbour’s annoying you by playing awful music really loudly, try another time.
You have to be focused and know exactly how that next scene needs to play out.
For me, I’m incredibly competitive. This means that methods that pit me against other wrimo’s are absolutely wonderful for my wordcount. As I’ve mentioned before, I adore the team wordsprints over on Twitter. You sprint for you Harry Potter house, or your favourite Avenger, or whatever. Then whichever team got the highest total wordcount, wins. Perfect for me!
Other fantastic options for competitive wrimos are word wars and sprints over on the NaNoWriMo forums. There’s an entire section devoted to them, where you can find fellow wrimo’s who’re looking to compete and really ratchet up those wordcounts.
If you’re not overly competitive, but a bit of pressure does you some good, then you can try the normal sprints that run on Twitter 24/7 (I believe)! There are a few accounts you can follow that arrange sprints for you to join in.
Another take on the sprint concept is the Pomodoro technique. That is where you set a timer, the usual being 15 minutes, and you do nothing but write for that duration. No distractions, no excuses. The beeper goes off, and you get a 5 minute break. Each section of work is referred to as a Pom, and you can do as many Poms as you need to hit your target.
If you need something a bit firmer to push you on, try Write Or Die. This has been around online for years and it’s a wonderful thing. It has a number of settings, but the basic premise is that you set a timer and every time you stop writing it does something horrible. That can be make the screen flash, make a horrible sound, or start deleting the words you’ve already written.
Not everyone works well with negative reinforcement, some people need encouragement rather than poking. For those of you who need nice rewards, try Written? Kitten! It gives you a fresh kitten picture every 100 words. It might sound daft, but it really works! I’ve used both this and Write Or Die many times with fantastic results both times.
Another new option that I’m currently playing with, is 4thewords. I found this over on the NaNoWriMo forums under Sponsors. They have gamified writing. You write to win battles against beasties, to earn rewards, new weapons, and explore the world they’ve created. It’s an entire adventure that is run by you hitting those wordcounts. It’s a fantastic idea, and a very pretty website.
Finally! A new one that I discovered is word crawls. They’re a set of challenges set out within a particular story. For example, I found this awesome Harry Potter one over on the NaNoWriMo forums. You work your way through the seven years of Hogwarts and write through the various challenges, from word wars, to sprints, to other challenges. These look ideal for people who love structure and aren’t so keen on the idea of competing with other people.
The key to hitting your wordcount goals, is knowing what you’re going to write, and understanding how you work. If you need a poke to get you going, try Write Or Die. If you need a bit of adventure or something cute, try 4thewords.com or Written? Kitten! If you’re really competitive, then jump into those sprints and word wars!
Good luck Wrimo’s, I have complete faith in you!
Tomato Timer – A simple Pomodoro timer.
If you liked this post check out my Urban Fantasy on Amazon.