Hello my frens, and welcome to the second post in my nanowrimo 2017 series! I hope you all thrived this week writing? Hmm…. *squints* At least survived?
Anywho, today I challenge you with a question:
How can nano be less stressful?
For basically every writer, nanowrimo is a synonym for stress. It means writing in the car, after midnight, while doing laundry and doing homework and consuming a ton of caffeine because you don’t have time to sleep. Buuuut you only do all those things for one reason:
In reality, nanowrimo is just writing a novel with a deadline (and deadlines are Very Scary Things). Take away the deadline, and we can all write 50,000 words. Gosh, we could write 150,000 words if it weren’t for that deadline! It might take us a long time, but we could still do it.
But, alas, then it wouldn’t be a challenge 😛
So how can we make NaNo more of a fun-fest and less of a stress-fest?
I wish I could give you a huge secret about it. I mean, take school and exercise and eating and sleeping away and pff yeah we’ll all be over-achievers and won’t be stressed at all. Unfortunately, since that isn’t possible, I came up with five other ways to make writing a novel this month less stressful (without becoming a hermit for thirty days. 😉)
Yep, I’m just going to be really blunt and start off by saying that. This can shock some people, because isn’t the whole point of nano to write 50,000 words in 30 days?
That might be the stated goal, but I believe nano is a lot about making the promise to write that much, not the actual doing of it. This isn’t an ‘everyone is a winner’ mindset; rather, it’s remembering that writing in general is awesome, and just by saying you’re going to try and write no matter what this November despite work and school and life is also awesome.
You can aim for the 50,000 knowing you won’t make it, but still have fun trying anyway. Or you can set a lower goal for yourself and still participate. Both allow you to be part of the awesome nano community.
The one thing with this is that you have to be okay with not making 50,000 words. You don’t have to feel guilty about it or anything: if your life only allows you to write 10,000 or even 5,000, do it. It’s just the writing that counts.
Stuff takes time to do (whoo-hoo wonderfully exact sentence). Our life is made up of time, and if we don’t set aside time to do things…we don’t do them. Writing, therefore, needs to have its own time.
You know those over-achiever people who already hit 50,000 words? They are not super-human. Yes, they might be fast writers, but even fast writers have to set aside time to write.
You could just say you’ll write ‘whenever you have time.’ Don’t. Though that’s great sometimes, don’t let your writing time be made up of little 30 second snippets if you can help it. Setting aside a solid block of time makes writing much easier. I suggest carving out half hour or hour writing sessions in your day. Put them in periodically. I wouldn’t suggest a 4-hour writing marathon, as those are exhausting 😛
Some of us hesitate to write first drafts because we know from experience that halfway through the draft, we begin to hate the idea (might just be the reason why I write first drafts so quickly—to avoid that stage 😉). It’s important, as always, to remember the sand analogy, that a first draft is just shoveling sand in a box so we can use it later.
Even when things start to go funky in your draft, keep having fun. Everyone’s experiencing it this month. Joke about it, and don’t be so strict with yourself—save that for editing.
I know. We all say it: I wish I could just write ALL the time. But, as I’ll talk about next week, you need to do other things in order to keep your creativity working well (and your mind sane). Even if it’s just reading a book or doing school work, make sure to step away from your novel every now and then this month. Trying to write constantly is like trying to use your phone nonstop without charging it, and even when it is plugged in, still using apps that suck the battery life down. It doesn’t work.
Getting outside or spending time with God (or both at the same time!) are often the best ways to recharge.
*gasp* Before you say I’m harsh and cold, think about it. If you’re preparing for an exam, or relatives are in town, or a natural disaster (like running out of chocolate) hits, that stuff comes before writing. If your month turns out crazy and you don’t get to write at all, it’s not the end of the world.
Seriously. The world will not end if you stop writing or cannot write. Keep your priorities straight, and I bet you’ll be ten times happier at the end of the month.
P.S. My monthly newsletter was ALL about my novel…READ IT HERE 😀
HOW ARE YOU SURVIVING? ANY MORE THOUGHTS ON MAKING NANO LESS STRESSFUL? OR DO YOU ENJOY THE STRESS? TELL ME HOW YOU’RE ALL DOING!