Staying Productive During NaNoWriMo

I’ve got big plans for NaNoWriMo 2017. And it’s all thanks to the dumpster fire that was November 2016.

You see, every year that I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo, I’ve never won. And that’s been completely okay. I was content with the community that NaNoWriMo brings… the camaraderie, the inspiration, the writing with a clear intent to reach the mid-way point or even, for the over-achiever, The End sooner rather than later. Knowing that I can reach certain milestones. Seeing the words accumulate day after day. Hitting these markers, knowing that so many others are too… it makes writing feel just a little bit less solitary.

Last year, I felt alone. The results of November 8, 2016 will do that. But since then, I’ve seen so many people in the writing community step up in spectacular ways. And I’ve read books that have helped heal some of the wounds of the election. And while I’ve always wanted to be a part of that magic that the arts provides for people, now more than ever, I need to. So now, it’s really time to focus.

This year, I’m intending to win for my 2016 self. And in order to get to that glorious 50k mark, I need to step up my productivity game. So here are three small tasks that I can implement in order to make big progress with my WIP.

  1. Plan Ahead with Apps 

It’s the perfect writing weather on my first day off in November. The leaves are turning and falling and crunching beneath my feet as I head to my local cafe. I make googly eyes at the baguettes while I wait to order a yummy seasonal squash soup and half of my favorite sandwich on my other favorite bread. But after waiting for the older woman in front of me to pull up her granddaughter’s new phone number to use for a $1 off a soufflé reward, I begin to pray that no families or groups enter behind me and split off to find a seat. I lose that battle the second the thought comes to mind. Worst, they settle into the prime locations from within eyesight, right next to the outlets. But what really sucks is getting to the front of the line, only to find out certain ingredients have become sold out.

So much of this could have been avoided if I’d skipped the line and downloaded an available app. So download the apps. Save your favorite order so you don’t have to input it every time you make your way there. Marathoners don’t wait in line to be refreshed, they grab and go. Grab that fuel, stretch out at the seat by the outlet, and keep going. (Bonus points for the Panera Bread app since there are indeed real time updates to show you which items on the menu at your particular location have sold out.)

This app advice isn’t just for your favorite cafes but every app you might want to use for NaNoWriMo. Test out the apps BEFORE NaNoWriMo so you’re not wasting precious time figuring things out DURING NaNoWriMo. Want to figure out how to voice record on Evernote, which will do its best to transcribe your notes? Test it out now so you can work out the kinks before you begin drafting in the form of narrating your WIP. Do it now. Now, now, now. Prepare as much as you can now so that all you have to think about in November is the writing.

To take this up a notch, add the apps you need and for the entire month of November delete (move to the cloud) the apps that you don’t need. You might be surprised by how much more productive you are without Twitter, Tumblr, and Snapchat on your phone. Or not, maybe this is a long time coming and you know it’s need to get whipped into shape and get things done. Now is the time. (Especially if you’re looking for ways to exceed your daily word count goal here and there so that you can skip writing on Thanksgiving.)

2. Wake Up & Stay Up

No more missing the daily word count goal. No more excuses. Drop the “I don’t have time” line because we all have the same hours in the day. How you decide to use them is entirely on you and you alone. This means that if you need to wake up at 5 a.m. with the #5AMWritersClub to get your words down before you “begin the day” or stay up late after getting home from the closing shift (even if you have to open up at work the next morning) to get to your daily word count, you’re going to do it.

3. Keep It Simple

For the month of November, drop all of the multi-tasking responsibilities that are not needed to keep your household running. Less is more. More words, that is. If it’s not a priority, it doesn’t need to be handled this month. Even if you are a multi-tasking master. Even if you’re already dreadfully behind. I mean, if you’re behind on something that isn’t a priority, at this point chances are it can wait another month. And if not, get it done within the time you have now before November 1st rolls around. Repainting your room “to get the juices flowing” can wait. It’s November, stop procrastinating and squeeze out those words. I’m all for tasks that will help fill the creative well but now is not the time to abuse this process and avoid getting your words down. Replace the day long painting event with a 20 minute painting session or 20 minute Jillian Michaels workout. And if you’re not inspired by a scene, skip it and keep going. Keep going and keep it simple so you can zero in on and put all of your energy and imagination towards what matters most this month, which is getting to 50k. Who’s getting to that 50k with me this year?

What’s one way you plan to kick it up a notch and stay focused on the NaNoWriMo finish line?

6 thoughts on “Staying Productive During NaNoWriMo

  1. I seriously needed to read this post!! I haven’t won NaNo in the last few years and I really, really want to make it happen this year. Like, this burning desire to finally finish a book after so long of just waffling around with ideas.

    I love how no-BS this advice is, because I know I often make so many excuses. “But I don’t have time!”. Waking up early is the solution for this, for sure. I’m just going to have to push myself.

    Thanks for the advice and the wonderful kick in the butt! Hopefully we’ll both slay NaNo this year <33

    Liked by 1 person

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