Monday, December 7, 2015

Keeping That All-Important NaNoWriMo Momentum Through December

The excitement and sense of community around NaNoWriMo is one of the most effective writing motivators you can get. All those people cheering you on, offering support and writing alongside you helps propel you to massive word counts over the course of thirty days.

And then it's over. It's like waking up from a fever dream. But for most of us, our story did not wrap up neatly on the evening of November 30th. We still have work to do. We have to finish the story. And without that cheering section, and looming deadline, that momentum we've built up over the month can start to wane pretty quickly.

Don't let it.

Remind yourself of the work you've just put in, and don't let it go to waste. That's easier said than done, obviously, but you'll have a greater chance of success if you avoid one of the post-NaNo pitfalls that can really trip you up.

With NaNo, we're used to hitting daily word counts, come hell or high water. For an entire month, we've put a lot of other things in our lives on the back burner, and we spend every free minute trying to get to 50K. That strategy isn't necessarily sustainable through the holidays, and failing to hit self-imposed word counts can kill that all-important momentum we just talked about.

So instead of trying to hit a specific number of words every day, commit to spending a certain amount of time every day with your story. It could be 30 minutes, it could be an hour. Whatever you get written during that time is fine, because the important thing is that you're staying connected to the story.

You might also want to spend a little time taking stock of where you are in your story, and plotting out the rest of it if you haven't already. I'm not the biggest plotter (I'm more of a sign poster), so this is a challenge for me. But, I find that once I've reached a certain point in my story where the world and characters are built, plotting becomes much easier.

So, do a little plotting and spend time with your story each day. That's not as intimidating a goal as 2K a day, right? Sure, you might not write 50,000 words in December (or January). But by staying connected to your story, you'll keep that momentum going until you complete that first draft.

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