We are about to head into the month where most writers will focus their energy on writing 50,000 words in a month. It’s a daunting task that I have done in the past. However, as my health has gotten worse, it’s no longer possible for me to do 50,000 words in a month. You may find yourself in a similar situation where 1667 words a day every day for a month isn’t workable. While you can now create projects on nanowrimo.org that aren’t closely tied in with 50,000 words in 30 days, you may try to figure out how you can feel like a part of this big event without taking on the enormity of the task. Here are some ideas of how I’m going to be a part of the NaNoWriMo experience while I can’t officially participate in NaNoWriMo.
Go To Write – Ins
Write – ins are powerful events where you get to work on your story in time set aside just for writing. Added to the experience is getting others to be your body double. Everyone gets together and writes their stories. There are people to help you talk through issues on your story if you are stuck. There are writing challenges that are issued to see if you can spice up the story you are writing. But working with other writers surrounding you is one of the best experiences of NaNoWriMo. You get to celebrate wins, work on your story, and get to know other writers. One of the local writing groups I’m a part of was formed after having a few years of NaNoWriMo write ins and realizing that they wanted to keep holding each other accountable and working together throughout the year. Even if your goal doesn’t line up with everyone else in the room, it doesn’t matter. The important thing is just getting words down in whatever way you can. Write-ins are held both in person and online. Check out the website to find where you can join write ins and when they are being held.
Make A More Manageable Goal For Yourself
On my profile, I did this. I set a goal to have the rough draft of my nonfiction book, which should be just shy of 50,000 words by the first of January 2023. I have been working on this book for the better part of the year and setting this longer term goal is more doable with my energy as I can’t commit to 1667 words every day. I will still work on a project though for the month of November, it will just look different from the writers around me. I will still have things to work on for write-ins and could even take part in word sprints if it weren’t for my problem with them. It helps get the spirit of NaNoWriMo without the pressure of doing more than I’m capable of. You can even get some of the sense of accomplishment that can go along with hitting your required words by using a tracker in your planner.
Word Sprints are fun events where you set a timer and see how many words you can pump out in a certain amount of time. I found out last year that I shouldn’t do word sprints by participating in a chain of 5 minute word sprints and ending up frying my brain for a week in the course of a half hour. Word sprints are really great at using competition to get your ideas on the page. However, be aware of your limits. The reason this fried my brain is that it activated my competitive side, so I didn’t notice when I had spent more energy than I had. However, the competitive nature may make word sprints a great exercise for you to see how much you can get down and were a big part of my ability to win in the years I could participate and win NaNoWriMo.
Join A Writer’s Group
Many of the activities I’ve mentioned so far work the best when they are done with a group. NaNoWriMo creates the perfect opportunity to join a writer’s group as the website has group finder tools and allows you to add buddies who can see your writing progress. As I mentioned earlier, these groups can often extend past just NaNoWriMo and become a year long resource for you and your writing journey. Many of these groups also have people who will be willing to beta read your work or help you troubleshoot an issue that you are having in your story. If you are looking to turn your writing into a profession, these groups can even help you navigate how to make money with your writing or query your finished project. Connecting with other writers is only a plus.
Subscribe to the Emails
If you want to feel a part of the NaNoWriMo experience, subscribe to the emails so you can find out what’s going on with your local area or with the main NaNoWriMo crew. This will let you know about write-ins that are happening or even have tips from established authors or words of encouragement. Whether it helps generate ideas or pick you up after a rough patch of writing, the emails help to life your spirits and keep you moving towards your goal.
Hang Out In The Forums
NaNoWriMo provides forums on their website which are fun to hang out in. This gives you benefits of a group even if leaving your house is hard to impossible. You can connect with writers who can become allies to see you finish your work and even find discord channels where you can connect and participate in virtual word sprints or write-ins. The goal is just to connect with others so that your writing experience is less isolated and you have others who will cheer for you as you cross your finish line.
Those are my ideas for how to enjoy NaNoWriMo when you can’t officially participate. Which ones are you planning on trying? Do you have any ideas I didn’t mention? Let us know in the comments below or see if you can find us on nanowrimo.org.