What do you think of when you think “November”?

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Do you think brilliantly red and orange leaves blowing in a brisk breeze to cover the browning grass? Spicy apple cider heating on the stove? Pumpkins piled on porches? Thanksgiving dinner?  Or do you think “aaaaaaaahhhh it’s November I have no idea what I’m writing eek!”?

Yeah. I’m the last one. Actually I should probably be focusing on plotting my novel instead of writing a blog post… Procrastination!

For those of you wondering what on earth I’m going on about, I’m speaking of NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writers Month, an annual event in which writers around the globe write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. This involves much caffeine, head banging, and sheer perseverance. A good reward system helps, too. The idea is quantity over quality, and it’s a good way to kill your inner “this has to be absolutely perfect so I’m not going to even write it” person. It also helps you to start a writing habit to carry beyond NaNo into the rest of your year.

Anyway, the whole point of this post, besides letting you know where I’ll be for a month, is to give you a list of things that I’ve learned through the previous NaNos that I have done/won (a grand total of two).

So, without further ado, here’s some things I’ve learned through previous NaNos.

  • DO NOT EDIT. Seriously. I refuse to let myself hit the back button. Every single word counts towards the 50k goal, and you’ll never get anywhere in your story if you’re constantly editing as you go. This is what a rough draft is for. You can go back and fix the fact that the ally offed himself in the 7th chapter later. For now, just magically bring him back to life.
  • Rewards are good. I like to save my stash of Halloween candy (mostly smarties) and reward myself every hundred words on a day of low motivation.
  • Outdoors is nice, too. Get some fresh air and sunshine. Move. You will feel better for it; refreshed and ready to get back at it. Just because it’s getting chillier doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea to curl up in a blanket on your bed. Fall is, in my opinion, the most beautiful season. Enjoy it.
  • Don’t neglect important things. In the line of not holing up in your room, don’t let the important things drop by the wayside. And by important things I mean things other than schoolwork. Last year I had to stop NaNo because it was the most important thing in my life. I dropped everything else for it, including church. I stopped praying. I started yelling at my family if they asked me to do things that I’ve had to do all along. There are things waaaaaay more important in life than reaching 50k.
  • Word Crawls. These are amazing things. Basically, a word craw presents a series of writing-challenges, often in a story format, and they can shoot you miles ahead on your word count goal. Two of my favorites are A Word Crawl for the Motivationally Challenged and the Harry Potter Word Crawl.
  • And finally, it’s okay to “lose”I won my first NaNo. I lost my second one. I beat myself up for months over this, but, really, the point is to write. Even if you only made it to 5k, you still wrote 5k, or 16k, or whatever it was. So don’t feel bad if you didn’t “win”. Abby at A Glimpse of Starlight wrote a really good post on this last year: Why I Wish I was Failing NaNo

So, I shan’t be posting much in November, I shall be writing. Or rather, my posts won’t be very long, more of a weekly update on NaNo with a couple of gifs thrown in for good measure.

If you want to find me on the NaNoWriMo website, I’m Bellethiel Marcaunion.

So how about you? Who else is panicking about doing NaNo?


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