Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo Prep: Relax

If you are embarking on the perilous quest that is NaNoWriMo, you’re in for a stressful ride. Writing a novel in merely thirty days is quite an undertaking and it can feel like an unbearable amount of work. In fact, preparing for NaNoWriMo might be enough to make you anxious. In order to retain your sanity throughout the rest of this month and all of next month, it’s a good idea to figure out a way to relax. If you are too stressed out, you’ll never be able to write effectively… and this will stress you out even more. I’ve tried many methods of relaxation and I’ve found several that work for me. If you don’t see anything that works for you, keep searching. Everyone has something that can calm them down.

Listening to Music
I don’t know what it is about music, but it has the ability to take the listener to another place. No matter how stressed out you might be in your own life, music is able to reduce that feeling. I do listen to music when I write, but I tend to listen to a vastly different type of music when I relax. This way, my mind knows when it’s time to create and when it’s time to relax.

It doesn’t even have to be full songs that calm me, sounds do this too. Two of my favorite sounds are waves on the beach and the sound of rain. Everyone might find something different to relax them, but I know that these sounds help me to distance myself and relax.

Take a Break
When you’re trying to meet a deadline, it’s easy to overwork yourself. Working yourself this hard can actually be counterproductive and hurt you in the long run. If you’re at a point in your writing where you are incredibly frustrated, take a break. It won’t do any good to stare at a computer screen. Go spend time with family or friends. Spend some time outside and get some fresh air. As long as you’re getting away from the screen and giving your brain a break, you’ll recharge and be more productive when you go back to your writing.

In some cases, it might be a good idea to build in your breaks. Set a timer and write for an hour. Once the timer rings, give yourself a ten minute break. This type of system will allow you to mentally recharge and you’ll get more done while taking breaks than you would have before.

Exercise
Exercising is a great way to relieve stress and get your endorphins flowing. Endorphins are the chemicals in your brain that make you feel happy. Regardless of your previous stress levels, these endorphins will help you relax in no time. There are many different ways to get exercise, even if you’re not particularly fit or active. Taking a walk is a way to get outside and get in some cardio. Yoga is a soothing exercise that may be a better option for someone who does not want to run. Play catch in the park with your dog or gather up some friends for a pick up game of basketball. Whatever it is, find a form of exercise and try it out.

Sleep
It sounds silly, but many adults neglect the amount of sleep that they need to properly function. If you’re trying to pound out 50,000 words, you may be sacrificing your sleep. However, this is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. It’s been proven time after time that people are more productive after getting a full night’s sleep. You will be a lot more emotionally stable if you’re well rested, decreasing the amount of stress that you may feel. Even if you are still stressed with proper sleep, you’ll be better equipped to handle the stress than if you were sleep deprived.

Sleep doesn’t only refer to the sleep you do at night. If you’re feeling fatigued during the day, there’s nothing wrong with a power nap. Stepping away from a stressful project and taking a half hour nap could help you distance yourself from the problem. After your half hour, you can revisit your writing with fresh and well rested eyes.

Writing can be stressful, especially if you’re on a deadline. Reduce your stress and feel better about your novel by finding a relaxation method that works for you.

Until next week,

Debbie

I will continue my NaNoWriMo Prep series through October and I will pick up my NaNoWriMo series throughout November.

NaNoWriMo Prep 2014:

NaNoWriMo Prep: Time Management
NaNoWriMo Prep: Research Now, Not in November
NaNoWriMo Prep: Let People Know Your Goal
NaNoWriMo Prep: Give Yourself Positive Reinforcement

NaNoWriMo Prep: Just Say Yes!

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. Every November, writers from all over take the challenge to write 50,000 words in just 30 days. It’s a literary challenge like none other and last year, over 700,000 writers entered the contest.

The thought of 50,000 words in 30 days is incredibly overwhelming. Writing at least 1,667 words every day is a huge commitment and many writers pass up NaNoWriMo because they’re scared that they will fail to reach their goal.

Last year was my first year to officially participate in NaNoWriMo and I had been apprehensive about it for that exact reason. I had known about it for quite a few years before, but I was never confident enough to take the plunge. I knew that I was more than capable of writing a novel, but the deadline discouraged me and kept me from participating.

When I did finally decide to participate last year, I completed my goal by Thanksgiving and couldn’t have been more proud. If you are unsure of whether or not you should participate in NaNoWriMo this year, I encourage you to just say yes and sign up for it. It may sound stressful, but there are many benefits that come with it.

Development of a Writing Routine
Before I started NaNoWriMo last year, I wrote whenever I felt like it. If I didn’t feel particularly motivated one day, I just skipped it and told myself I would write another day. You cannot do that during NaNoWriMo. If you don’t feel like writing, you need to power through your mental block. The deadline is too tight and the requirement is too large for you not to write often. When you know that you need to write every day, the development of a routine naturally occurs and you’ll soon find it easier to sit down and write every day. Writing will become second nature and as a writer, this is an amazing feeling.

Confidence as a Writer
As I mentioned before, the feeling that you get when you finish a novel is unparalleled. However, the journey to the finish line feels just as good. It’s fair to say that the more that you write, the better you get. If you write every day for thirty days, you’ll begin to get comfortable with your own writing style and you may notice your skills flourish. There is no better feeling than having confidence in your abilities.

A Network of Fellow Writers
Writing is typically a solitary act and it’s easy to feel alone with your thoughts. However, NaNoWriMo offers you the ability to connect with fellow writers who are also participating in the challenge. These people will understand the obstacles that you face, give you feedback on your novel, and lend their support and advice. Forming this network is completely optional, but the social aspect is not widely known.

A Rough Draft of a Novel
Once November ends, you will have a rough draft of a novel! Whether it’s your first or fiftieth, writing a novel is a major accomplishment. Once you have finished your draft, you can decide whether to hide it away on your desktop or eventually pursue publication. Either way, you will officially be able to say that you have written a novel and that’s something to brag about.

All in all, there’s really nothing to lose when you say yes to NaNoWriMo. There is no fee to participate and there is no penalty if you do not complete your goal. I plan on participating in NaNoWriMo again this year and I hope that you all do as well. If you’ve ever expressed any interest in writing a novel, just say yes and sign up at nanowrimo.org.

Until next week,

Debbie

I will continue my NaNoWriMo Prep series through October and I will pick up my NaNoWriMo series throughout November.

NaNoWriMo Prep 2014:

NaNoWriMo Prep: Time Management
NaNoWriMo Prep: Research Now, Not in November
NaNoWriMo Prep: Let People Know Your Goal
NaNoWriMo Prep: Give Yourself Positive Reinforcement