Along the same vein as yesterday's tip, create a writing ritual to focus your attention to your novel. It could be as simple as making a cup of tea and listening to your novel's theme song. Or you could light your favorite scented candle and re-read what you wrote yesterday. You could stretch, do some yoga, or meditate. You could employ a writing totem, like a hat or sweater that you only wear when you're writing. Do something before you write, and do it every day. By connecting a ritual to writing, performing it is a subconscious cue that it's time to focus and get to work.
Saturday, November 14, 2015
Friday, November 13, 2015
My husband suffers from insomnia, and he's found that limiting the bedroom to sleeping helps him shift into the right frame of mind when he gets into bed. Do the same with your writing space: limit it to writing. Walk in, write, and leave. Eventually, the environment itself will act as a trigger that blocks out distractions and puts you into a creative mindset. If you write on a desktop computer and can't designate it solely for writing, at least try not to use it for idle interests like social media or gaming throughout November, so you'll be less likely to jump over to Twitter or Minecraft the minute you lose focus. You could also get out of your house—and away from all of its distractions—and use the library or a coffee shop as your designated writing area.
Thursday, November 12, 2015
Do something mundane, routine, or monotonous before you write, like washing your dishes, working out, or walking your dog. By involving your senses in low levels of awareness, you leave your mind free to concentrate on more important things... like your novel.
Wednesday, November 11, 2015
If your story is boring you, give it a crazy twist, even if it doesn't fit into your plot. Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus—one of the greatest Nanowrimo success stories—was born when she sent the characters of a different novel to the circus out of boredom. You never know what your tangents might inspire, so don't be afraid to stray off course and write something silly and fun.
Tuesday, November 10, 2015
Don't be afraid to write scenes out of order. If you're stuck on one, skip to another. If wading through the swamp of the first half of act two makes you yawn with boredom, jump right to the action. If you can't wait to write that scene you've been thinking about for ages, don't wait! There's no rule that says you have to write in a straight line. Writing is more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff.
Monday, November 09, 2015
If you miss a day of writing, don't stress out about writing twice as much the following day; spread your deficit out over the rest of the month, or at least a few days. If you're a full day behind by November 10, you'll only need to write an additional 80 words per day for the next three weeks, or you could write an extra 240 words per day for the next week alone. Of course, the further behind you get and the later it is in the month, the more you'll have to make up per day... but catching up is still more manageable, and less scary, if you're writing an extra 1,000 words per day versus an extra 6,000 words in one day.
Sunday, November 08, 2015
Every now and then, you'll write a line or a paragraph that makes you stop and think, "Damn. That's good." Highlight these passages. Whenever you start to criticize yourself or doubt that you can write anything worth reading, go back and read those gems. They'll remind you that you are a good writer and you can do this!
Saturday, November 07, 2015
Friday, November 06, 2015
Reward yourself for reaching goals both big and small. Put a treat beside your computer that you can only eat after writing 500 words. When you reach 1,000 words, take a break and relax with some funny YouTube videos. When you hit a major milestone, like 10,000 words, celebrate by doing something you've had to give up for Nanowrimo, like watching an episode of your favorite show or going out with friends. Put some money aside throughout the month so you can buy yourself something special when you cross the finish line, like that new book you'll be able to read once you finally have the time. Positive reinforcement and the promise of a reward are great motivators!
Thursday, November 05, 2015
Today was rough, though I couldn't tell you why. I'm staying ahead of the game—I've got another 300 words to go, but I'll be finishing the night at 10,000—but I'm falling behind on my own goal of reaching 25,000 words by November 10. Remember how I said I could swing 3,000 words on very, very, very good days? Well, cross your fingers for me, because I could really use those very, very, very good days right about now.