Happy National Novel Writing Month, everyone!! I'm proud to say, I was a participant and a winner of #NaNoWriMo the past 3 years, but this is the first year since 2014 I haven't participated. I wanted to take a backseat, offer some insight and support, and work on rewrites for my latest WIP that I actually finished during Camp NaNo! Needless to say, I'm a huge fan of National Novel Writing Month. And I've got some basic tips to make sure you have the best NaNo you possibly can, get your 50K words on a page, and hit minimal road blocks. Let the blog series begin!!
1. Prepare To Win
I hate the word "routine." It feels stifling and confining and ick. But whether your a pantser or a plotter, you NEED some semblance of routine. At the basic level, you need to establish a writing workspace that's your own- separate from real life and all its distractions. Writing a novel is WORK! Set work hours, clear your desk or dining room table, and keep a journal close by for all those extra ideas that pop up while you're writing. Avoid the temptation to say "Oh, I'll just write when I can where I can" because that often leads to a bad word count for that day.
A routine doesn't have to be rigid, but the routine of going to your "spot" can help you get into the writing mode. Just be sure to keep your work space and your play space separate! i.e. No writing in bed or in front of the TV while you're binge-watching Stranger Things ;)
2. Get Inspired
Motivation, Envision, Awaken, and Cedarwood essential oil (not pictured above) got me through three completed novels and all my NaNo wins. One of the most heartbreaking things I see during NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNo is the discouragement writers put on themselves! There's a lot of pressure to succeed in this business, and we are often our harshest critics. It made me so sad to see others in my Camp Cabin get so down on themselves for hitting a block, or writing themselves into a corner. It happens to the best of us! Push through those blocks anyway and start a new scene that may not even make it into your final cut.
When I felt stuck, I diffused these bad boys by themselves or in combination to keep me motivated and to dispel all the emotional, second-guessing. We've ALL been there. That moment when you huff a sigh and flop over your keyboard and ask yourself what the hell you got yourself into? THAT moment, right there, is when you need an extra boost. I found that essential oils increased my focus and my writing game skyrocketed!
3. Aim High
NaNo is quick to tell you that you only need 1,667 words per day to hit the 50K goal on time. I like to round up and go for 2,000 words per day (which makes #1 all the more important). Suddenly 1,667 doesn't sound so bad. I also get a little boost from diffusing essential oils. They're safe to diffuse all day long, don't give me headaches like overly perfumed candles, and have added therapeutic benefits! It feels like magic, but it's more like science. Oola GROW was my best friend during times of writers' block. It kept me aiming higher and reaching those goals I'd set on November 1st.
It may sound like a no-brainer, but you have to commit to writing every. day. Even if you're on a road trip for Thanksgiving- dictate to Siri and write something down. Jot down scene ideas that pop up right as you're falling asleep. Take it from me, you will NOT remember these gems come morning, and it's a great way to jump start your day of writing once you settle into your space. And aiming high will make those tough days (read: 500 words or less) a lot easier to take in stride.
If you asked 100 writers how they get into the writing mood, you'll likely get 100 different answers. Everyone has their thing that helps stir creativity, or gets enhances their focus while writing. It's important to find what works for you!
If you think some aromatherapy could be your ticket this year, PLEASE email me at email@example.com. Please don't grab something off the shelf at Wal-mart or TJ Maxx. There's a huge quality difference in what I use and what I've found on the shelf, even at a health foods store. I want you to be safe, so don't use any oils that may have added fillers or even perfume fragrance! Email me first! I'll tell you why "pure" doesn't always mean pure.
Good luck writers, and Happy Day 1. Stay tuned for Part II!