NaNoWriMo is almost here! I can't even remember if November was worth being excited about before I started doing NaNo. This is year #7 for me, my first in a new region (Cincinnati), and I have a fresh idea just waiting for me to do something terrible to it. In the meantime, here's my collected tips for getting the most out of your November.
Rule #1: You can do this. You can.
Whatever your life circumstance--full-time job, kids at home, triple major undergrad, high school student--lots of people just like you have done NaNoWriMo successfully before. That doesn't mean you won't face challenges, or even that NaNo is definitely the right thing for you to do this year. But if you want to NaNo, don't write yourself off without first considering strategies for facing your challenges head-on. (More specific advice for students below.)
Rule #2: If your social media accounts aren't helping you, they're off-limits.
Unless you have a supportive community who gets what NaNo is all about and shares inspiration instead of filling your timeline with whatever nonsense is in season, you don't have time to fritter away on social media. For me, it's best to keep Twitter and turn off everything else. Blogging may fall into this category, depending on if it helps you or not. Make your choices early and stick to your guns!
Rule #3: Commuting time is writing time.
Carpool or take the bus. It's valuable writing time. Bonus: you'll save gas and create less pollution. Plus, you can transcribe bizarre conversations directly into your novel. It's a win-win-win-win. Change the names of your carpool buddies in your novel before you get it published, though.
Rule #4: Minutes matter!
Sitting in the pickup/dropoff line? Five minutes between classes? Waiting for a work meeting to start? Have a little Word War with yourself and see how many words you can get in those few minutes. If you've never been able to write in short spurts before, NaNoWriMo is a great time to flex those dormant writing muscles and see what they can do for you. To make this work best, be sure you're syncing your novel across all your devices.
Rule #5 (for students only): Do your homework first.
Even better: you still have a whole bunch of October left to get ahead in as many classes as possible. But once November hits, you still should finish classwork before NaNo-ing. You're spending too much time, money, and effort on your education to slack off just because it's NaNoWriMo. Think of writing time as your reward.
Rule #6: Convenience foods are okay.
Obviously, you don't want to hit the drive-thru every day or you'll be both rounder and poorer once NaNo is over. But having some freezer meals, microwaveable foods, and ready-to-eat fruit and veg on hand will make your life a touch easier, especially if your kids can handle preparing those things on their own.
And most importantly...
Rule #7: You must always be doing something.
This one is also more geared for students, especially if you're early in your educational career and your time management skills aren't quite there yet. NaNo is a great time to give those a kick-start. The critical thing to remember in November is this: if you're awake, you're doing something. Keep your novel and any reading for class handy so you can grab one or the other when you have a couple free minutes. Make to-do lists so you don't forget things. Take time for your relationships, don't neglect your self-care, keep up with your life stuff so you don't get fired--but whatever you do, keep moving.
Don't be intimidated! NaNoWriMo is lots of fun and has launched bunches of great ideas for thousands of writers around the world, so don't be afraid to jump in. And while you're at it, let's be buddies.
What are we talking about today?
Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.
Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Friday: Green living.