If you’re like me, you’re keeping track of your NaNo word count. Maybe you have even diligently entered it into your dashboard at the NaNo website. Maybe you use a spreadsheet to monitor your word count and how you’re doing. (I do. Ahem.)
And you can see you’ve fallen behind.
Maybe a lot behind.
Here’s what you can do. But first, let’s figure out what type of writer you are.
How people do NaNoWriMo
For just a moment, I want to talk about the four kinds of NaNo participants. They way I see it, there are Racehorses, Steady Writers, Bingers and Dropouts.
Now, the Racehorses just run off and finish NaNo on Day 10, and then go on to accumulate word counts of over 100,000. I know people like that. You’re not one of them. I can say this fairly confidently, because Racehorses don’t bother to read NaNo blogs. They don’t need support since they are doing just fine.
The Steady Writers power up to the NaNo word count (1,667 words per day, plus a little buffer) every day, and they are exactly where they should be, plus buffer. There have been years when I have managed that, and it’s how I prefer to do NaNo. My daily aim is 2k words. One year, I finished NaNo on November 25th…
The Bingers go on writing binges and sprints and sometimes pull an all-nighter, and then they need a day or two to recover. They write their NaNovel in spurts.
And the Dropouts, well, they drop out. You’re not one of them, or you wouldn’t be here hoping to save your NaNovel.
If You’re a Steady Writer
If you’re a Steady Writer and you have fallen behind, you simply need to adjust your daily word count. You can easily figure that out by subtracting your wordcount from 50,000, and dividing the result by the days left in November.
(50,000-word count)/number of days left in November = new daily word count
You’ll get the number of words you have to write every day in order to finish on time. And then you set out to do just that, plus a little buffer because life tends to happen, and today is Thanksgiving.
If you’re a Binger
In that case, you may find it hard to get started every day. You may sit in front of your novel and feel blocked. If you can get over that block and start writing, the words flow. And flow. And flow. Binge, binge, binge.
Your problem is life. Since you love to binge write, you need lots of uninterrupted time, and that’s just not happening when you’re working, raising a family and celebrating Thanksgiving. You may be exhausted by writing late at night, and for much longer than you should…
Solution #1: The Timer
Here’s one trick that totally works for me, and I think it should work for both Steady Writers and Bingers – for different reasons.
Get a simple, old kitchen timer, or an app on your phone, and set it to 30 minutes. That’s the pomodoro method, btw.
And then write. Do nothing else. No Facebook, no Email, no Twitter – nothing. Tell your family that these 30 minutes are yours, and only yours. It’s you and your story for those 30 minutes.
Steady Writers, do this three times a day, and plan those times.
Bingers, set your timer for 60 or 90 minutes. Write your heart out in that time. And then STOP. Save your strength. Save your family. And do it again tomorrow. If you really need to catch up a lot, do it twice a day, and then rest. You can use your word count to check your progress.
Solution #2 Tap away the Stress
NaNo is about stress, obviously. It’s about the pressure to write a lot every day, and that’s part of its appeal.
But the trick is to make it fun, as well as being productive.
And you can only do that if you manage your stress level. As I said in last week’s video, our modern brain can only handle so much stress before actually turning off and handing the immediate management to our old, reptile brain. Which is all about survival and not about creativity.
You can’t write very well in reptile brain. In fact, you might start eating junk food, watch TV, play with your dog and such in order to appease it.
EFT tapping is a very effective way to reduce the sense of stress, and to get our modern brain as well as our creativity back on line. Which is what you need if you want to win NaNo this year.
Even though I’m really stressed out about being behind in NaNo, I’m still totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to let go of the stress and make writing fun again.
Even though I’m so far behind that it’s stressing me out, I have no idea how to catch up, I’m still okay the way I am, and I now choose to calm down and find ways of writing a lot in those last days.
Even though I’m behind in NaNa, and I’m angry and disappointed in myself, I’m totally okay the way I am, and I now choose to get focused and write in a way that makes it fun again!
How are you doing on NaNoWriMo?
How far are you behind?
What happened while you were tapping?
And finally – what’s your NaNoWriMo project?
Please share in a comment.
Image Source: F. Moebius
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