So you've decided to write a novel in a month. Congratulations! You've embarked on a wild journey that most people can only dream of. Whether you're ahead or behind, you can finish your novel's first draft this month. Here are six tips to help you get the job done.
1. Set a daily word count goal and stick to it.
The first step is to check your word count on the NaNoWriMo website to see how many words you need to write each day to finish on time. Once you have that number, commit yourself to writing at least that many words every day. And don't worry if you don't hit your goal every single day—just try to stay as close to it as possible.
2. Make writing your priority.
This means setting aside time each day where you will do nothing but write. Turn off your phone, close all the tabs on your computer, and just focus on getting words on the page. It might be helpful to set a timer for a specific amount of time and not allow yourself to stop writing until it goes off. If you can't set aside an extended period each day to write, sneak in words throughout the day. Write on your phone while waiting in line, under the desk during boring work meetings, or dictate while driving.
3. Write in short bursts.
If you find yourself struggling to stay focused for long periods, try writing in short bursts instead. Set a timer for 10 or 15 minutes and write non-stop until the timer goes off. Once it does, take a break—go for a walk, get a cup of coffee, check social media—and then come back and repeat the process until you've reached your daily word count goal.
4. Get rid of distractions.
Distractions are the enemy of productivity, so it's important to eliminate them as much as possible when you're trying to get work done. If there's something in your environment that's causing you to lose focus, find a way to remove it or change it so that it's not such a distraction anymore.
Yes, this means turning off your internet router or using a program like Freedom to block distracting websites. Leave your phone in the other room so you can't check it during your writing time (unless you're writing on your phone!).
5. Take breaks when you need them.
It's important to keep your energy up when you're working on something as big as a novel, so make sure to take breaks. Get up and walk around every few hours, or take a few minutes here and there throughout the day to just relax and clear your head. If you start feeling overwhelmed or burnt out, give yourself permission to take an extended break—a couple of hours or even a whole day—to recharge. The book will still be there after you rest.
6 . Celebrate your accomplishments.
Remember to celebrate your accomplishments along the way! Every time you reach one of your milestones —whether it's finishing the first chapter, completing the first draft, or anything in between —pat yourself on the back and enjoy the sense of accomplishment that comes with it. Not only will this help keep you motivated, but it'll also remind you of how far you've come and how much progress you've made.
Even if you don't quite make it to 50,000 words, you'll still have made significant progress on your book. So what are you waiting for? Get writing!