Friday, October 15, 2010

How to Stay Motivated during NaNoWriMo

It's a well known fact that November's second week is the hardest for most Wrimos, and that many will lack the motivation to sit down and just write. "Butt In Chair" becomes a whole lot harder all of a sudden.

With two years of experience, I've managed to pinpoint what gets me going and, more importantly, what keeps me going. These might help you too, so here they are!

1. Other Wrimos. This goes first and it's not by chance. Writer friends are an excellent way to keep you motivated, especially when they are sharing your pain. Befriend other participants. Seek out your region. A support group can save your NaNoWriMo.

2. NaNoWriMo Calendar and stickers. Every year, I print a copy of a NaNo Calendar, with the 30 days and how many words I have to hit each day. I've even made an Excel-sheet one, because I can easily customize my goal. I also buy 30 stickers. Every time I hit a daily wordcount goal, I put a sticker. For the record, I also give all my Wrimos these things.

It seems silly, but putting that tiny little sticker on the square is incredibly rewarding. You have a visual aid of your progresses, and it's a tiny little reward that can make all the difference. Seriously, I had to attend my grandfather's burial last year, which was a 3 hours drive away, but I still brought my calendar. I was addicted to it!

3. Competition. I already mentionned other Wrimos as a support group, but you can also use them for healthy competition. It's not for everyone, and NaNoWriMo isn't a competition, but it can become one. I like it when it does in a friendly way.

Every year, I challenge other wrimos with a similar speed and we sprint to a landmark or another. I'm the kind of person who'll stay up one (or two) extra hours if it lets me be ahead of someone else. If you are, too, find someone else to compete with. It can help quite a lot.

4. Rewards. Whether it's sugary goodness, your favourite TV show, permission to go to bed or to read the next chapter of a book, reward yourself for progress. This is supposed to be fun. You can help make it so!

Rewards for the long run are useful too. Promise yourself something from the NaNo shop (or somewhere else, really) if you win. It will make you that much more motivated.

5. The Pep Talk Archive. Every year, the OLL contacts writers and asks them to send us e-mail to keep us motivated. These are packed with awesomeness, and they will make me want to seal the world away so that I can write and live up to a particular author's encouragement.

There's not always a new pep talk in our inbox, however. Sometimes you need the pep, and the one you read just last week won't cut it. Fear not! There is a Pep Talk Archive. Read through some of these and you'll be hyped once more! (My personal favourite is Neil Gaiman's. Start there if you can't pick one)

And that's it! By the way (I keep forgetting this), I am part of a NaNoWriMo Blog Chain. Click on the link in the sidebar to see the others. They have great advice on how to prepare for the upcoming month.


  1. Love Love LOVE the calendar idea.

  2. This is awesome! I loved doing write-ins last year, and the Chicago-vs-NYC competition kept us revved. Good luck!! :)

  3. Susan, this is going to be my third NaNoWriMo, and every year, the write-ins have been a breath of fresh air.

    The ironic part is that we don't write at our meets. We just talk and motivate each other.