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November 5, 2014 / Heather

NaNoWriMo: You CAN Do It

If you’re one of the thousands, like me, participating in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) then you’ve probably hit a wall at some point.

No, not like actually punching a wall. Not even like running (or walking) into a wall (though I’ll admit I’ve done that a few times and it’s embarrassing when it happens). Hitting the wall is a term used when you’ve reached a limit or a certain point and you don’t feel like you can keep going. There are SEVERAL versions of “the wall” in NaNoWriMo.

Character development walls

Plot development walls

Writing walls

Falling behind walls…

You get the idea. BUT don’t forget, you CAN do this!

In 2010 I did NOT have any sort of support system. Well, I had a boyfriend at the time who encouraged it, but I think that might be because he’d been cheating on me already and all sorts of crappy shitty things like that, but that’s another story. One I won’t torment you with.

Within the first few days of NaNoWriMo my laptop at the time crashed because someone had forgotten to renew that thing called virus protection on it. *giant flashing neon arrows point at my head* >.> So yeah. It not only had my school stuff, but my NaNo stuff as well. MISTAKE!!!

I had never backed up my novel. I didn’t think “what’s the worst that could happen” or anything, it just never occurred to me to back it up. Lesson learned. Now, I back up frequently. Like multiple times a day frequently. I’ve been known to save to places like dropbox and google drive and on multiple flash drives.

Needless to say, after that happened I kind of gave up. I’d lost everything I worked at. I did keep writing, but I just kind of ignored everything with the whole process. I tried again in 2011. After I was out of that bad relationship for a while, after I’d found a job, and after I’d gotten my head back on straight (even if it took leaving the state for a week with a friend to do so!). I had a bigger support system as well and I managed to finish. It was either in 2011 or 2012 when I started going into the deviantart chatrooms and I found the NaNoWriMo chatroom. Nothing official form NaNoWriMo, it’s just something that someone threw together that’s still really popular, especially during NaNoWriMo. I think I found it a little bit before NaNo and I was sucked into a world that I never want to leave. I love this room so immensely that it’s become my go-to for when I’m troubled with any writing or just in general. I’ve met so many amazing people in that room. I finished early in 2012 and even earlier in 2013.

Screenshot 2014-11-05 10.26.31 This is what I’ve done so far for 2014. The day 5 NaNo on par goal is 8335. Day 7 is 11,669. Yes, I’m writing this post on the same day that’s it’s going to go out. >.> Don’t judge, I’ve been writing! 😀 Obviously not today as you can see. XD

My top 5 NaNoWriMo tips:

1) Find (and utilize) a support system! – Friends, family, random strangers in chatrooms who become good friends with you, etc. Even pets! Heck, stuffed animals count. My friends and my boyfriend are my biggest support system. My coworkers also support me, but I can’t really ramble on to them about word count stuff and how one of my characters during a different story kept pestering me that he wanted to run around naked and all that.

2) Do NOT panic if you get behind! – Do NOT do NOT do NOT!!! Getting behind just happens. It really does. You can go from being ahead for a few days to suddenly where you’re a day behind because you get used to that cushion area. Just keep writing. I’ve been a day or so behind before and I have caught up. So have others. It might not be until those final few days of NaNo, it might be at the beginning, you don’t know. I don’t know. Just don’t give up.

3) Post in the NaNoWriMo forums. Even if it’s just your regional forums. – I love posting in the NaNo forums, but I’m usually only stalking my regional ones. Part of it is because I can’t keep up with all the changes elsewhere and part of it is because I’m always craving having new people near me and being in the regional forums is a great way to find nearby people to chat with who (usually) are willing to help you if you get stuck and (hopefully) you’re willing to help people if/when they get stuck.

4) Caffeine and sleep – Not together. If you’re one of the people affected by caffeine then it’s tempting to use that to push yourself a little farther. Just 500 more words! Be. Careful. Make sure you’re still getting enough sleep. I work a varying schedule during the week and I have other things going on as well. I can’t stay up all hours of the day and night and then not be able to function for other things. Essentially, this tip is KNOW YOUR SLEEPING LIMITS!!! If you vary too far from what your body is used to then you’re going to have a world of hurt and pain and zombie brain.

5) Listen to your body. – Except for the part of your brain saying ‘you can’t do this’. Ignore that part. Ignore it like it’s your mother telling you to grab a jacket before you leave the house. If your wrists start to burn or tingle, TAKE A BREAK! Many people do not realize the amount of damage that can be done to their body if they don’t listen to it. I’ve had wrist problems for a long time and it took me a while, and a lot of pain, to learn when my body was telling me that it had had enough and that I needed to take a break. I’ve also had a lot of time to figure out different things to help me avoid pain. And I’m not talking painkillers.

Got your own NaNo tips? Share them below! Want another writing buddy? I’m Razor13 on NaNoWriMo (and Camp NaNoWriMo, which hasn’t had a buddy list like that, but does have NaNoMail). Click on the link or just search me up. I’m always up for new writing buddies.

Bonus tip: If someone else tells you it’s pointless, remember that Hank Green (John Green’s brother. Yeah, JG who did Fault in our Stars and Paper Towns and Looking for Alaska, etc. HIS BROTHER) is doing NaNo, and several books written during NaNo and edited later have been published in many formats and some have made it to the big screen.

Time for me to get writing for the day.  I can’t wait. What are you writing? Are you having any trouble? Leave comments, send NaNoMail, hit me up on social media, etc. I love talking about NaNo. You CAN do it. Peace for now everyone.

~Heather/Razor

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