Camp NaNoWriMo is just around the corner! Now that March is here, we’re starting to think about gearing up for our next writing adventure. Today, NaNoWriMo participant Marlena Storm shares a few tips to help you get in the writing zone before it starts:
There isn’t a much bigger or more daunting task than approaching a new project.
You stare at the blinking cursor that haunts your waking hours, sometimes even your dreams, and you wonder to yourself…“Where do I even begin?”
The biggest thing to remember is that making the decision TO begin is an accomplishment in and of itself. Celebrate your small victories and then work toward your bigger victories. Respect and appreciate your commitment and everything else will come a bit easier.
In the almost five years that I have participated in NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo, I’ve learned that micro goals (mini goals) and benchmark goals are a strong key to success. Pacing is a critical point to success that I think we, as writers, tend to overlook. It seems so simple but in the bigger picture, those small details are a great foundation for the world you will create through your writing.
1. Above all else: Be realistic.
Be realistic in your goals AND in your expectations. We all want to strive for greatness but greatness is achieved through baby steps. Keep that focus.
2. Along with pacing comes self-care.
Self-care seems simple but when you are focused on hitting your word count every day, we can forget simple things. Prepare before the event starts! Make sure you have your preferred coffee or tea, your snack haul and those simple comforts covered before you start plugging away at your goals.
3. Keep your goals in mind.
Remember the micro goals thing? Keep that in mind not to overwhelm yourself. If you look at your daily goals and have a day where you fall behind, pace your catch-up. You don’t have to write twenty-thousand words a day to succeed. If you get behind, mini goal your catch-up goals. It all starts with smaller building blocks. I’ve learned through execution that sometimes being so hyper focused on that end goal and the overview can be murder for your inspiration. Don’t let your mind get the best of you. Take care of yourself and everything else will start to feel exponentially easier.
4. Don’t run on empty.
You can’t expect a vehicle to run without an energy source, right? You can’t work toward your goals on empty, either. I can’t emphasize the importance of self-care enough.
5. Why do you write?
Another thing to keep in the front of your mind is why you’re doing what you’re doing. Why do you write? Why did you want to participate in NaNoWriMo to begin with? What inspires you to create? These questions and answers can really be an additional fuel source needed to push you to greater heights.
6. Make your writing space work for you.
Finally, one more thing I have learned throughout doing this event is VIBE MATTERS. What kind of space do you require to write and be in the mental space to create? Personally, I enjoy lighting incense, putting on music, lighting a couple of candles, and getting nice and zen in my creative space. Add in a hot cup of tea and I’m good to go. Every writer is different. Every artist is different.
At the end of the day, writing is hard. To create something from nothing takes a lot of time, a lot of patience, a lot of focus, and sometimes a lot of tears. Utilize your resources (ex: word sprints, group support, etc.) Find your groove, set your goals, and keep it pushing.
I believe in you, but moreover, I hope YOU believe in you, too.
I’d say “good luck”, but a writer makes their own luck. Remember that.
Now, let’s get to work. Novels don’t write themselves.
Marlena Storm is an amateur writer who has spent her life telling stories. She lives in Tampa, Florida with her partner and her cat. She is an LGBTQIA+ advocate, an animal lover and a nature obsessed tea enthusiast with a deep love of horror culture and rock music. She is currently working on a number of projects, including the Mirrors Series & The Daylight Dies Series. You can visit her on Instagram @MarlenaStorm and her website.