The writing world holds its breath and in a few days will exhale a flood of excitement. Yes, it's almost NaNoWriMo time again!! Every November, throngs of writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words of a new book. Some break the word count into daily goals, some into weekly goals, but by the time November ends, even if they didn't "win" with 50,000 words, most participants have exceeded their normal, non-NaNo word counts.
Photo by chaceofspades
How do they do it?
There are two keys:
1. Group support
2. Pushing to meet a goal
Since everyone starts their new project on November 1st, it's like a race, but instead of competing against each other, everyone encourages their fellow writers to keep going. It's easy to check in on Twitter (use #NaNo) or Facebook to stay accountable and get much-needed motivation.
While I don't participate in NaNoWriMo, I always get inspired by the people who do. I usually am writing a first draft during November, and I love that my word count piles up before the holidays. It's great to end the year on a high note!
Here are ways I push my word count limit on a daily basis:
* I tell fellow writers I'm pushing myself to high goals, and I check in with them throughout the week to let them know how I'm doing (Accountability).
* I break my writing sessions into short chunks and take "reward" breaks. I used to write for 3-4 hours straight, but I find I get higher word counts--and I feel better--on days I write for an hour, take a short break, write for another hour, work on another task, etc... If you do not have much time to write, try 30 minute sessions. (Endurance)
* Break your overall word count into weekly and daily word count goals. Decide on your target end date. Have your calendar in front of you when you do this. It's easy to "forget" the non-writing commitments you've signed up for over the next few months, not to mention any holidays! I've learned the hard way that the day before Christmas break will NOT be productive. I never schedule big word counts for hectic times! (Realistic goals)
**If you want to write an 85,000 word novel in three months, you'll need to write 7083 words every week for 12 weeks. If you have two days a week to write, you'll need to write 3540 words/day. If you have five days, you'll need to write 1416/day. Seven days? 1011/day. **
* Track your progress EVERY writing session. Write the date, the amount of words you wrote, the total words overall, and calculate how many you still have to write. Doing this gives you solid proof progress is being made. It will keep you motivated. (Results)
* Ask other writers on Twitter to join you in a #1k1hr session. This is where you push yourself to write 1000 words in one hour. You then post the actual number of words you wrote. It's a great way to keep it fun! (Challenge)
* Remind yourself you don't have to "be in the mood" to write. You don't have to have three hours of a cleared schedule. You just have to show up and write. That's all. You can fix anything while revising, but you have to get it on paper first. (Attitude)
Writing is fun! But taking three years to write six chapters of a book isn't. Part of successful writing is momentum. We have to keep our writing muscles toned or they weaken. When we eventually have to build them up again, we waste precious time and energy. Keep pushing yourself!
Do you challenge yourself to reach high word counts? I'd love to hear your tricks!
Have a wonderful Monday!