When November 1st rolls around, my mind always goes to two things. Thanksgiving and NaNoWriMo. Thanksgiving is a time that always makes me happy. The beautiful fall day mixed with yummy food (turkey!) and family. I can’t get in the Christmas mood until turkey day is over.
NaNoWriMo also plays a huge role. In years past, I used NaNoWriMo to accomplish the dream of finishing a novel and working on several book ideas that never came to fruition. However, it gave me discipline and helped me to realize that I can do this crazy thing called writing. It didn’t matter if I made that 50,000-word goal or if my word count fell under that amount.
I was writing every day and that’s what’s important.
This year, NaNo is playing hard to get. I’m starting a brand new series this time. YAY! But I’m struggling when I sit down at the computer. There’s a part of me that hoped after finishing each book the next time would be easier.
I’ve completed three novels now, and it’s hard each time. But, as a firm believer in NaNo, I’m not going to give up, and you shouldn’t either. Whether you are competing in the challenge or not, if you have a story in your heart, don’t give up. Just keep sitting down and writing. It doesn’t matter if the words are barely coming out, or your creativity ran off and left you. Just keep writing. You can edit after it’s finished.
How about some ideas to jump-start your word count?
- Write whenever/whatever you can. Can’t make your daily word count stay on track for NaNo? Don’t worry. Write something. Anything. 100 words. 300 hundred. They will add up!
- Take away distractions. Turn off your internet if you have too. I know, that’s a scary idea. Go someplace quiet or whatever you need to get your fingers moving.
- Take breaks. Don’t stress yourself out about the number of words you are writing. Relax. Take care of yourself. If you are stressed and overthinking, you’re going to seize up your creativity.
- Have a support team of other writers. Thanks to my writing buddies, we have a fun group on FB, where Linda Fulkerson gives us daily encouragement. It’s vital to have that cheering section. And it helps to see that you’re not alone in this crazy thing we call writing.
- Make a music playlist. My husband bought me noise-canceling headphones for my migraines, but I use them to write as well. I have a special writing playlist on Pandora and Spotify, and I find that I need the music to write. Also, with each book, my lists have changed to fit the themes of the story. How fun!
Erin R. Howard is a Developmental Editor, YA Urban Fantasy Author of The Kalila Chronicles, and has earned a Bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing/English from Southern New Hampshire University.
When she’s not writing, Erin enjoys spending time with her family, fueling her craft addictions, and teaching writing workshops.
Erin is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the KenTen Writers Group. She resides in Western Kentucky with her husband and three children.