Scaredy Cat has been working overtime lately:
YOU want to write a novel in 30 days?
Good luck with that!
In 2020, more than a half-million authors from around the globe accepted the annual National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) .30-day November challenge to hit 50K words for their novel. Since I’m a thoughtful writer who avoids self-imposed stress, I was never tempted to join NaNoWriMo when penning my short children’s books.
Until this year. Gulp.
I’m pushing Scaredy Cat aside and joining NaNoWriMo. It's all Cheerleader Cat's fault. She convinced me to do NaNoWriMo this year ...
You love a challenge!
AND you need other people around to keep going.
PLUS, only 20% hit 50K words,
so no worries if you don’t hit that number.
Plus, Cheerleader Cat assures me these eight simple strategies for tackling tough tasks will have me gaining on my 80K-word rom com in no time. Call me Crazy Cat, but I'm jumping in!
1. Set Reasonable-for-You Goals
TBH, I’ll proudly be among the 80% who won’t reach 50K words in 30 days.
I’m taking off Thanksgiving week and will not work 12-hour days or weekends like most NaNoWriMo 50K-ers. Instead I’m aiming for a reasonable 15K words. I can do that without headaches or panic attacks [crossing fingers here].
Photo: "240/365 National Novel Writing Month begins" by the girl who owns the world is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0
2. Spiff Up My Creation Station
I can write in the hubbub of a coffee shop, but cannot concentrate if my office is a mess. Gotta clear distractions, yet cozy my creation station with a few tchotchkes to keep the mood fun and light.
My secret sauce?
...having the last book Mama read before going into hospice tucked under my keyboard.
My mother's collection of romance novels filled every corner of her home. It was sheer luck I found her final book resting where she laid it on her nightstand before she left us. (Can you guess her book's title that's partly hidden below?)
Mama was the one who always encouraged me to write, so it's especially comforting to have her presence nearby as I push myself.
Cat's Creation Station
3. Queue Up a Playlist
Streaming orchestral movie music on YouTube while writing is my thing. Any selections scored by the likes of John Williams, James Horner or Michael Giacchino keep me chill and creative for hours.
4. Prevent Middle Mire with an Outline
I already outlined my 30 chapters – just a few sentences summarizing each – and created an Excel worksheet to track word count. Of course, once I get into my tale, my characters tell me where they want to go, but that rough outline keeps us from getting mired in the middle.
Yep. Crafting a delicious mid-section is my biggest challenge, but I have a few ideas about those scenes taking up 50% of my beachy rom com:
If you care to share your ideas
for clean and delicious beachy rom-com middle scenes,
I’d be over the moon to hear them.
Just drop them into the comments below
shoot me a private email, and I’ll consider all.
Hey, you might even be named a contributor
in my acknowledgements
if I use your ideas -:D>!
5. Stick to a Daily Writing Routine
A structured day helps me hit my word count goals:
6. Get Moving
I cannot sit still.
After hours of writing and thinking hard, I need my yoga, walks, workouts or Pilates. Love walking outdoors in the woods best, but in-person or virtual workouts cut it, too.
This ambivert needs people, so I'll...
8. Smile and Laugh Every Chance
Our neighborhood’s unofficial Children’s Hour begins around 4:30 as young‘uns fresh off the school bus converge in a mad dash to play together.
Theirs is a joyful release of unbridled pleasure and pent-up energy across yards, bikes, swing sets, basketball hoops and trampolines dotting our street.
Listening to children’s laughter is THE best way to end anybody's workday, don't you think?
What would you add to Cheerleader Cat's eight ways to tackle tough tasks? Have some helped you with past challenges? Any an absolute bust? Please share in the comment section.
And before you go …
Please drop your rom-com middle ideas
in the comment section
shoot me an email.
Cheerleader Cat and I can't wait to see what YOU come up with!
Photos by Cat Michaels except where noted
National Novel Writing Month Logo: NaNoWriMo.org
11/5/2021 11:58:51 am
Good for you! I won’t be joining, but admire those of you attempting this feat and will be cheering you on. Can’t wait to see the final results!
11/5/2021 02:12:12 pm
Fingers crossed, Julie! I’m satisfied with my progress so far. Def not in the 50K camp but ok with that. Majorly appreciate your company! I am lost writing all by my lonesome.
11/6/2021 01:43:04 pm
Wow, you are you go! I can't wait to hear of your experience on how this all went for you, Cat.
11/7/2021 09:12:48 am
Thanks so much, Rosie! Writing is lonely, and I truly appreciate your company on this journey. I’ll be pounding away for sure to reach my goal-:D.
11/6/2021 10:27:04 pm
Wow, good on you Cat for taking your first steps towards 50,000 words in a month. I like that you have set a realistic goal of 15,000 words instead. I have never signed up for NANOWRIMO, I find the idea too daunting and too much pressure. Good luck, I'll be watching to see how you go.
11/7/2021 09:10:37 am
I felt the same about NaNo, too,mSandra, until I realized I did not need to be tied to the 50k goal. The connection with other authors striving to create their novels has been the best part so far. It’s motivating and encouraging and I’m optimistic I can reach my personal goal -:D.
11/7/2021 08:54:40 am
LOL…..Good tip, Julie! I need to go back and consider my character names -:D.
11/8/2021 01:51:23 pm
MIne, too, Janet -:D! It’s all I can do to keep up with my “Lite” version but I am trying!
11/8/2021 09:43:10 am
It sounds like you are definitely using the NaNoWriMo challenge in the best way...to set goals and deadlines and as motivation! You have such an entertaining writing style in your post. Keep us updated about this book so we can check it out!
11/8/2021 01:55:20 pm
Thanks so much, Kate! I have been anxious about trying NaNoMoWri up until now, and setting my own goal was the only way I could do it. Appreciate your kind words…they will help my crank my next chapter!
11/8/2021 09:48:02 am
Yoga is the best for stress! I can’t imagine wiring 50K, writing my short posts are stress enough. You are amazing.
11/8/2021 01:57:41 pm
Agree about yoga, Maria. In fact, I am starting back in person after 18 months of virtual yoga and cannot wait to see real people! Many thanks for your encouragement. It helps tons -:D
11/8/2021 11:04:56 am
Good for you. These are great tips for everyone. I always take time out each day for a walk. Laura
11/8/2021 01:59:55 pm
Laura Lee, I am with you about walking. Even a quick stroll outside makes all the difference. Appreciate you walking along virtually with me on the writing road -:D!
11/8/2021 05:28:51 pm
That is a big challenge I am flat out writing 2k words on my blog. Good luck and happy writing with these great tips.
11/8/2021 07:21:12 pm
LOL…you add all those fab pix and tuts on your site, too, Anita, which would wrong me out. I am just wordsmithing to the count of my own goals. I love the social connections and appreciate encouragement like yours to keep going.
11/9/2021 07:56:27 am
That's one crazy challenge. 50 000 words would make my head hurt :D And I loved that book (if it's the one I'm thinking of - Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet?)
11/9/2021 05:10:37 pm
You guessed the title, Michelle! The book is Hotel on the Corner of B&S. It makes me happy to know know you enjoyed it, too-:D. Also, I love your middle mire suggestions….Turtles and palm reading. Super creative and fun! I’m on it.
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