There are few things more daunting than beginning a brand-new writing project. November always ushers in national novel writing month.   This is a great time to finally challenge yourself and complete your next novel. These 7 tips will help set you up for success. 

1. Set realistic goals

It’s important to be realistic when setting your writing goals.  Your expectations can easily get away from you when you aren’t looking objectively at what’s possible.  Everyone wants to achieve greatness, but greatness is only made through gradual small steps. Be honest with yourself and what you can realistically do.  

2. Block out time

There should be times in your day where all distractions are blocked out. We all get tempted on occasion to reach for our phone and snag a quick social media break. However, little distractions lead to large gaps in time and can derail progress fast. Don’t shortchange your efforts by allowing distractions to steal your time.  

3. Map out your milestones

Use micro-goals to maintain your progress and reduce overwhelm. If you have a day where you fall behind in your daily writing goal, simply pace your catch-up. You don’t need to hammer out twenty-thousand words a day to be successful. It all begins with bite-sized building blocks. Sometimes being hyper-focused on that final goal can be terrible for your inspiration. Keep your mind from getting the best of you. 

4. Protect your energy

You can’t drive a car without gas. You can’t meet your writing goals on empty, either. You must protect your biology. This includes eating properly, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep. Honestly, there are even certain relationships that can drain our energy. Be prepared to set up boundaries in your relationships if needed. Share your writing goals with your friends and family so they can understand why you might need the space you do to create. 

5. Understand your motivation

Understanding your why can be a powerful fuel source to help you meet your goals. What made you want to start writing? Why did you choose to participate in NaNoWriMo? What really inspires you to create? These answers can really provide a substantial push to get you to the destination. Keep visual reminders around to help keep you motivated and productive. 

6. Create a workspace that helps you write

Every writer is unique and has different workspace needs for their creative process. Do you have a designated space to create? You need to learn what type of environment you work best in. Does music or mood lighting help you create? Maybe you write better in candlelight. Maybe you work best with a fresh cup of coffee. Be intentional to establish an environment that helps your creative juices flow.  

7. Prioritize self-care

Self-care might sound like an obvious step, but it’s often something that gets a lower priority than other tasks. When we are hyper-focused on our word count goals daily, then we can easily overlook the obvious. You can forget to eat specific meals or neglect to take breaks when you are in the middle of your writing groove. 

We recommend keeping your favorite snacks handy and plan out your breaks ahead of time. You should also be intentional to get 7-8 hours of sleep. Neglecting self-care can have a devastating impact on your creativity and your health. Prepare ahead of time and be intentional about protecting your health. 

At the end of the day, writing is tough. To create something from nothing takes a lot of energy and patience.  And honestly, sometimes it can even take a lot of tears. Use your resources (ex: word sprints, support groups, visual aids, etc.) Find your flow, set your goals, and keep on going. You got this!