I set myself up with nine strategies to get me to the end of November with a NaNoWriMo win. (A “win” is writing a 50,000 word novel in a month.) These strategies are working so well I’m going to use as many as I can on my next writing project.
- I wrote down and broadcast my NaNo goal. That way I risk public shame if I don’t write 50,000 words.:-)
- I set up a storyboard with character photos, setting photos, language reminders (my 19th Century family still throws around some Irish words), and a timeline. I won’t be wasting precious typing time trying to remember if Catherine has peach skin or olive skin, if Bo has red hair or black curls.
- I married a super guy who supports my efforts.<3
- I have a detailed outline so I know where I’m going with each scene. I’m decidedly not a pantser. Kudos to those who are. I stare at the ceiling a lot and write in circles when I try to be a pantser.
- I uploaded a book cover image to the Nano website. The website says an author who uploads a book cover increases his or her chances of winning. I was a little skeptical at first, but I have to admit it does get you that much more excited about your project.
- Likewise, I added a couple of online writing “buddies” because Nano says that’ll increase my chances of winning.
- Back here IRL, I made a list of rewards to entice myself to keep going:
- I set up a whiteboard with progress graphics. The feature image of this post was my whiteboard on day one. I thought this was a cheesy idea at first, but Dan Ariely in Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind says you need to find a way to track creative projects in order to keep the excitement going. Someone who sells cars can easily see progress, two cars Tuesday, another car Wednesday. But in the middle of a first draft of a novel, it’s hard to grasp how far you’ve come without a visual aid. Aiely suggests things like writing about a project in a daily diary. I chose the standard thermometer. This is my whiteboard for day 20:
- And finally, I have higher word count days on weekdays so I can rest a bit on the weekends. Then the writing doesn’t seem so endless.