November 5, 2019

Need NaNoWriMo Help? Check Out These Resources

Pylons blocking a road with text: Blocked? Try These Resources

Every day, I receive—and delete—several spammy emails offering to write a guest post for my blog. Luckily, the quality of real proposals I receive with my annual invitation for guest posts to run during the month of NaNoWriMo is a vast improvement. *grin*

Before I kick off this year’s NaNo guest posts next week, I want to give a shout out to some of my past guest posters who also provided fantastic advice about how to do our best during NaNo

10 Tips To Help You Rock NaNoWriMo Your Way

I’ve often said that I don’t worry about whether or not I “win” NaNo by writing 50K words during the month of November. For me, my goal is to use the camaraderie and encouragement to write more words than usual. Any words are better than no words, and any progress is better than no progress.

But if you’re still not convinced, Jenny Hansen shared her advice about what matters during NaNoWriMo and what we should ignore. Check out her 10 tips for rocking NaNo your way.

A Writer’s Magic Wand

Productivity is a major buzzword for writers, especially during NaNo. But even if we’re not doing NaNo, we all want to increase our focus, reduce our distractions, ditch the self-doubt eating away our motivation, and get more words on the page whenever we sit down to write.

Pascale Kavanagh taught us how we can improve our mindfulness through meditation. In turn, that mindfulness will help our focus, allow us to ignore distractions (even the self-doubt kind), and turbocharge our productivity.

6 Questions to Ask to Find Your Novel’s Plot

At some point during NaNo, we’re likely to struggle with what to write next. And especially if we’re not a plotter, we might need to brainstorm before we can do anything else.

Author and blogger extraordinaire Janice Hardy shared how we can start developing our story idea through focused brainstorming. Her insights might help us whether we plot or write by the seat of our pants.

What’s In Your Toolbox? Killer Resources For Writers

For whatever kind of help we might need during drafting, Angela Ackerman’s guest post might help. She shared tools and resources including:

  • an organizational program
  • reverse dictionary
  • visual mapping tool
  • anti-distraction resources
  • and of course, Angela and Becca’s own One Stop for Writers

Scrivener’s Best for NaNoWriMo

Check out these #NaNoWriMo resources from past guest posts Click To TweetAs a NaNo sponsor, Scrivener offers deals to participants and winners. In fact, that’s how I first started using Scrivener. So it’s not surprising that many NaNo writers use Scrivener for drafting their stories, especially if they want to track their daily word count or hit word count targets.

Author and Scrivener expert Gwen Hernandez shared her tips for how to put Scrivener to work for us during NaNo, and as a bonus, she also taught us how to compile our draft—one of the trickiest aspects of Scrivener.

My Bonus NaNo Tips…

Of course I have a few tips and insights about NaNoWriMo to share as well. *smile*

How Can We Make NaNoWriMo Work for Us?

The first step in making NaNo work for us is figuring out our goals for the experience. There’s no right or wrong answer, but goals that are wrong for us are more likely to make us feel like a failure or put the bad kind of pressure on us.

Worse, if we pursue goals that aren’t a good match for us, the writing we end up with at the conclusion of NaNo might not be useable at all. So if we don’t want all our time and effort to be a waste, we might want to take some time to understand what we want from the experience.

How Do You Define Success?

Along similar lines, before getting down on ourselves if we fall behind with our NaNo word count, we should learn the difference between failure and the opposite of success. Believe it or not, those aren’t the same.

For example, let’s compare a success measurement, failure, and “real” failure:

  • Success Measurement: Win NaNo (write 50K words in November)
  • “Failure”: Write “only” 36K words, but that’s more words than our monthly usual
  • Opposite of Success: Give up when fall behind on word count and shrug or let negative thoughts take over

In other words, “failure” is just a starting point and an opportunity to improve.

Writer’s Block? Use a Random Generator

From random generators to setting goals, check out my #NaNoWriMo resources Click To TweetWe shouldn’t waste our precious writing time drawing a blank when we could use tools to kickstart our muse. Random generators might be useful for giving our subconscious something to work with or for getting us unstuck.

Check out these resources for random generators to help us with ideas for plots, characters, and everything in between. (And in the time since I wrote that post, Angela and Becca’s One Stop for Writers site now also exists, which includes idea generators for characters’ wounds, fears, hobbies, secrets, etc., along with story stakes and plot complications.)

Self-Care for Writers

Finally, through all the pressure of NaNo, it’s important to take care of ourselves too. On Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, lower-level needs—starting with physiological needs (air, sleep, food, water, etc.)—must be met before we can concentrate on higher needs.

The writing process is a high-level need, psychologically speaking, as creativity falls under self-actualization with a desire to reach our potential and expand our accomplishments in the world. So to be the best writer we can be, we have to make sure we’re not neglecting those lower-level needs like our general health and well-being. Self-care is necessary if we want to continue writing and not be blocked by issues at those lower levels.

Whether we’re doing NaNoWriMo or not, hopefully these resources will help us get more words down in our story. *smile*

Are you doing NaNoWriMo? How is your word count so far? Whether you’re doing NaNo or not, do any of these sound like they might be helpful for your circumstances? What type of help do you tend to need during drafting? Do you have any other tips for NaNo success?

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Deborah Makarios

I’m not NaNoing this year, but I’ve clicked through to some of these posts all the same. Thanks for providing such a lot of resources!

Glynis Jolly

I’m interested in Yarny but I want more info. on it before I sign up for it. The Yarny site doesn’t have an ‘about’ page hough. I tried looking it up by googling but only found sites for another product with the same name.

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