Posts Tagged ‘NaNoWriMo’

Keeping your Health for a Marathon Month of Writing

Whether work has you swamped, daycare cancelled, or your day is filled with stuff, making time for NaNoWriMo can be challenging.

And stressful.

The stress can get a hold of you and knock you down. Your head starts to hurt, your cold kicks in, or the flu bug knocks on your door. It also happens to be cold and flu season, so the importance of keeping yourself healthy and in tip top shape is very important.

I completed NaNo back in 2013. 50,013 words in 30 days. I won’t lie, it was a challenge, but the best challenge ever. And, I kept healthy through the entire month, so I was able to finish. Winning!

Healthy tips to keep writing

I have a few tips to keep you healthy through the month of November. Not in any order. The things that are important, in my opinion.

~~ Fitness
I know, though it’s not a four-letter word, It IS a four-letter word. Fitness of any kind keeps the mind active, the blood flowing, and the creative juices moving. You are less prone to sickness and medical conditions. It puts you in a positive frame of mind, allowing your body to relax and your writing to flow.

For me, Yoga is my go-to. It’s only 20-30 minutes a day. Who doesn’t have that amount of time to give to your own well-being. I’ve become more focused, less prone to eating all the “bad” things and my moods are more positive.

That can be you too, if it’s not already.

~~ Hydration
We’ve all heard this.

First thing each morning, sip a tall glass of water until it’s empty. Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue and organs counts on it to keep it in working condition. Your body uses water to flush out waste, maintain its temperature, and keep joints lubricated.

I know what you’re thinking, “Deb, stop! I know this.” But, it’s important to hear it again.

It’s all common for us as writers, to grab that cup of coffee, when in fact, caffeine can hinder our ability to focus long term and cause dehydration.

I drink coffee. All the time. I won’t stop, and I’m sure you won’t either, but just grab that tall glass of water and drink it alongside your coffee. I mean really, who can live without coffee? Not me!

~~ Have some fun
When was the last time you just went outside, took a walk, read a book at a coffee shop, hung out with your kids at the park, or watched your favorite TV show?

For me, my fun is knitting, cross-stitching, and reading. I make it a point to do one (or all) of these things each and every day. I call it my mental health time. Time away from my keyboard, from my work as a designer, from writing.

It’s a time to be with YOU. To get away from the everyday tasks and your writing.

Why eating healthy matters

You’ll be less stressed, more productive, happier, and healthier. Your brain will have the nutrients it needs to keep you focused. Certain foods have the ability to moderate the body’s cortisol levels, which is, if you didn’t already know, your stress hormone. Managing stress through the month of November should be your key ingredient to being successful in completing your novel. It’s the number one cause of writers pulling the plug, saying it’s too much.

Some of my favorite go-to snack foods (because, who doesn’t like to snack?) are:
~Banana with honey
~Granola bites
~Apple with peanut butter (anything with peanut butter, really) It’s a great source of protein.

I’m sure you have your own favorite snack foods. Keep in mind, the more processed foods you eat, the worse you could possibly feel. The more natural, organic foods you eat, the better you’ll feel.

In conclusion, writers, you have the ability to make choices that will keep your body in tip top shape during this all-important month of writing your 50,000 words. Why wouldn’t you want to commit to YOU for the month of November? And, if you so choose, why not start now, and give yourself a head start to being healthy so you can finish. Winning at NaNoWriMo.

Write On!

Deb Buckingham headshotDeb Buckingham is a long time member of Pikes Peak Writers and a published author of two successful knitting books, Dishcloth Diva and Dishcloth Diva Knits On. She writes for her own blog, and her artistic side is part of her every day. Deb is a creative photographer whose passion is “shooting” creatives in their own studios. She enjoys reading a well written novel.

NaNoWriMo – Is it Cheating?

My NaNoWriMo journey began in 2011, with the drafting of my novel Roadside Zoo. I participated four more years. I did not NaNo in 2016 or 2017, although I was writing more than ever. Let me explain why I began NaNoWriMo, and why I stopped after five years of passionate dedication to this amazing international happening.

Why NaNoWriMo?

When you announce you are dedicating the month of November to writing a novel, magical things happen.Understand your own writing process.

1) You make a public commitment to write 50,000 words in thirty days via the website. Stating concrete goals ensures success, or at least a stronger effort than those dreams you whisper to yourself in private.
2) People sigh with relief that you’re finally going to write that book you’ve been yammering about for the past six years, and hope you’ll shut up about it once the thing’s completed. They cut you slack when they see you are seriously pursuing your dream.
3) You push yourself harder because this is a time limited engagement. A lifetime? Intimidating! Thirty days? Eminently doable.
4) Working on an entire novel in a short space of time enables a mental continuity. You know your story inside and out, backwards and forwards, in ways you never grasp when writing a scene or chapter every month or so.
5) The website tracks your word count. You can’t lie to yourself. Unless you’re such a reprehensible cheat that you type “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” over and over, which has already been done. So now you’re a cheater and a plagiarist.
6) You have a fantastic excuse to guzzle gallons of coffee.

With all these great reasons, why would I give up NaNoWriMo? Because with my last entry, I felt like a cheat. Instead of writing 50,000 words of a new work, I used the month to heavily revise an existing novel.

NaNoWriMo is about slamming down 50,000 fresh words, right? I voluntarily banned myself from NaNoWriMo for two years. Now I’m rethinking my attitude.

How to make NaNoWriMo work for you:

1) The point is to give you thirty days of laser sharp focus on your writing. Use the time in a way that makes sense for where you’re at in your writing journey.
2) If you have trouble finishing writing projects, the month of November gives you no excuses. Dust off that manuscript moldering away in your desk drawer or electronic file folder. If you truly dedicate yourself to the process, you’ll be at least 50,000 words closer to The End.
3) Begin at the beginning, begin with an outline, or begin with a flawed manuscript that needs thirty days of tender loving care and a brutal no-holds-barred rewrite. Dare to be different and draft several short stories.
4) Understand your own goals and writing process. Don’t try to follow a path doomed to failure.

I no longer care if I am playing by a strict set of rules. The point of NaNoWriMo is to encourage writers to write. I’m jumping back in with a detailed outline. That’s not cheating, is it?

Catherine DiltsWhen Catherine Dilts began the NaNoWriMo journey, she was unpublished. She is now the author of the Rock Shop Mystery series, while her short stories appear regularly in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. With a day job as an environmental regulatory technician, Catherine’s stories often have environmental or factory-based themes. Others reflect her love of the Colorado mountains. Her short story Do-Over appears in the 2018 anthology Blood and Gasoline. She takes a turn in the multi-author sweet cozy mystery series Secrets of the Castleton Manor Library with Ink or Swim. You can learn more about Catherine’s fiction on her website.

NaNoWriMo vs YOU!

Are you ready to rummmmble? Or at least ready to knock National Novel Writing Month out of the park? Your resident writing cheerleader is here to get you going.

I’ve been an athlete my entire life, and everything I learned about consistency, discipline and commitment came from sports. Those lessons are absolutely appropriate to NaNoWriMo where you must write at least 1667 words per day to hit the 50,000-word goal in 30 days.

Be Prepared

Football players do not take the field without knowing the play. Are they running a dime or nickel defense? Is it a pass or running play? Even if the players don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, they do know their routes and assignments and can flex as needed.
The same is true for getting ready for NaNoWriMo.Are you ready to knock National Novel Writing Month out of the park?

  • Prep your plot – What is this story about?
  • Prep your characters – Who are these people?
  • Prep your conflict – Why can’t the main character achieve his or her goal?

Even pantsers do this. They don’t sit down, tilt their heads up to the heavens, raise their arms and suddenly the spirit of a plot weaves its way into their souls and the writing just happens.

There is a game plan.

Take a couple of days and build a full-on battle plan with all the Xs and Os, so that when you sit down, you know what’s happening and where you’re going. #HateMeTodayLoveMeTomorrow

Be Relentless

Write. Write every single day.
Whether you write for a certain number of words or certain amount of time is completely up to you. Just make sure you are consistent. Habitual action makes writing easier.

In CrossFit, Tabata is a 20-second on, 10-second off high intensity interval training for a specific number of rounds, typically eight. If you have a hard time getting started or staying focused, use this to keep you relentless in your writing. Replace seconds with minutes and get going.

Write for 20 minutes. When you’re done, get up. Walk around, get a drink, use the restroom, jog around the block. Whatever. Just take the 10-minute break. Then sit down and do it again. Do this for eight rounds and see where you are.

You can also break this up. Do one round in the morning. Another at noon. Again in the afternoon and one late at night.

If Tabata doesn’t work for you but word counts or time in chair does, then do that. Whatever you do, keep going. Every day.

Be Social

Teams are made up of all kinds of people, with all kinds of different roles: pitchers, catchers, out fielders, in fielders, head coaches, managers, conditioning coaches, fans. All of these people work to make the team successful.

While writing may be solitary in itself, the writing life isn’t. Your writing team is anyone who supports your efforts. From editors to publishers to critique partners, they are your cheerleaders, coaches, analysts and fans. They are your teammates.

Find them virtually or in person.

Make sure to register on the NaNoWriMo site to mark your progress. Then because we’re being competitive, watch your progress against others. It’s also a great place to meet other writers and stay motivated.

Then write with others. Write at Panera or the library or have a group of folks over to the house. The Rockrimmon Library is hosting a NaNo Kick-Off Party on October 27. Stay tuned to Pikes Peak Writers for their monthly events that will absolutely keep you motivated to win NaNoWriMo.

The team will keep you motivated and hungry. #BuiltByWords


You absolutely can do this. You are prepared. You are relentless, and you have people in your corner. 30 days. 50,000 words. Believe it.

Jennifer Lovette HerbransonJennifer Lovett Herbranson is the founder of Writer Nation, a podcast and Facebook group dedicated to helping writers market their work.
With 17 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity.
She currently lives in South Korea and travels around Asia for fun.
You can find her on her Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest: @jennylovett

You’re Doing WHAT in November?

November. Cooler weather, crisp leaves, pumpkin spiced everything, and that crazy time of year called National Novel Writing Month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo—easier to say, too. It just rolls off the tongue. That time of year when all writers hibernate to write out 50,000 words in 30 days.

Be a Little Crazy

Say what? 50,000 words in 30 days? Are you insane? You’re going to attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days, while shopping for the holidays, preparing for Thanksgiving, working your job, taking care of the family, and not send your kids out to pee in the backyard or pour your toddlers food into the cat bowl? Why yes, yes I am!

You have to be a little crazy to be a writer. Writers talk to themselves, trying to figure out plot points in their story, have conversations with their characters, and you really don’t want to check their search history.You have to be a little crazy to be a writer.

50,000 words in 30 days? How?

Planning. You may be a Pantser, but you really do need to do some planning for this if you wish to keep what little sanity you have as a writer intact. Your daily writing goal works out to be 1,667 words—roughly about four pages a day, single spaced.

When are you most productive? Do you write better in the morning or at night? If you are more creative in the morning, plan to write then, even if you have to get up an hour or two earlier to write before going to work. If you wait until after work to try to write, you’ll find yourself forcing it. Instead of 1,667 words, you have five, and two of those will be Chapter One. On the other hand, if you’re a Night Owl, writing first thing in the morning probably won’t work, even after your third cup of coffee. You’ll be worried about making your daily goal and sit there and stress for the entire morning, banging your head on your keyboard because you can’t find the words to write.

Caffeine. Stock up now on your caffeinated drink of choice. You’ll need it for those long writing marathons (it’s a marathon, not a sprint, as they say). Don’t overdo it, however, or you’ll be jittery and your writingwilllooklikethis or ttttthiiiisss. Buy a new mug for your drink, something special perhaps just for NaNoWriMo with a motivational quote on it. Coffee or tea not your thing? How about hot chocolate or a candy bar? The little bits of caffeine in chocolate may be enough to stimulate your creative juices. Make it dark chocolate for added health benefits.

Snacks. You have to eat sometime, right? Have healthy snacks at the ready to munch on while you’re thinking about how to kill off your bad guy.

Water. Don’t forget to hydrate, or your brain will turn to mush. Seriously, you’ll have a headache by Chapter Five. Plus caffeine is dehydrating. Drink your water!

Take a break! Get up and move around to get the blood flowing to your brain again, as well as to your legs and backside. Exercise, even if it’s just taking a walk around the block will help when you’ve hit that creative wall, and help you keep your sanity while writing those 1,667 words a day.

Turn off or silence your cell phone. Pretend you’re at work (you are) and aren’t allowed to answer your phone. The constant distraction from social media, emails, friends, etc, will certainly drive you crazy while trying to write.

No matter your writing style, keeping your sanity during this exciting month of writing will be beneficial to you and those around you. Otherwise, you have little Sally running to her room, screaming, “Mom’s putting my food in the cat bowl again!” Good luck to all you WriMos out there!

photo of margin holmesMargena Adams Holmes was born in Bellflower, CA sometime in the 1960s. She has always had a love for both reading and writing, writing her first song/poem in 1st grade. Margena is a big supporter of indie authors and will read anything that draws her into the story. She is an observer of life, and many everyday things could (and do!) end up in her writings. Her publications are available through her author page. Contact Margena via email: