Wondering if there’s a method to succeeding at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)?
Yes, there is. And it’s not nearly as overwhelming as you may think.
The goal NaNoWriMo is to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. But NaNoWriMo doesn’t have to be just for novelists. After all, who says fiction writers get to have all the fun? Who says bloggers can’t use the momentum and hype of NaNoWriMo to give themselves a break when things get a bit topsy-turvy?
Let’s break this annual challenge down for bloggers. A typical blog post is anywhere from 500 to 2,000 words, and around 300 words if you’re into microblogging. Therefore, 50,000 words translates to 50 to 100 blog posts—or roughly 160 micro blog posts.
Now, in the realm of the Internet where content is king, it’s safe to assume that the queen behind such a throne is Lady Consistency. For those of you looking to create an empire of followers, you not only have to write content people want to read but you also have to produce content on a regular basis. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, no not really.
We’ve all had upsets in the writing schedule. Maybe you had to step away from the keyboard because Little Timmy fell down the well again. Maybe you forgot about your Aunt’s five-year anniversary for Mr. Whiskers and you had to run out to purchase enough catnip to redefine the word “catatonic” as an apology. Maybe you found yourself stranded with a flat tire wishing you at least had a horse with no name. The point is, due to health, nearly forgotten prior commitments to loved ones and YouTube Shorts our dear friend Murphy can make consistency anything but a breeze.
However, imagine if you were prepared for such whoopsie-daisies. Imagine if you had at least 40 articles in your back pocket to choose from on any given day. Imagine all the things you could do guilt-free.
Say yes to friends and family. Say yes to that vacation you’re eyeing. Say yes to mental health days. Say yes to generating more money as a freelance writer because you can finally afford the time to expand your cyber territory now that your personal blog is taken care of.
Just don’t say yes quite yet, we still have a bit of quick planning to do before November if we are going to pull this off. No really, it will be quick, only five steps to succeeding at NaNoWriMo.
5 Steps to Succeeding at NanoWriMo as a Blogger
Step 1: Generate Ideas
To write 50,000 words in 30 days, you need to have somewhere around 50 ideas to write about, and the best way to do this is to implement an Idea Journal. An Idea Journal is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a journal that you keep with you (a physical notebook or electronic device) and use to jot down any and all ideas that come to mind.
Please know that there are no dumb ideas, bad ideas or ideas that are off limits to the Idea Journal. Like a rough draft, nobody but you has to know what’s in it. Besides, it is important that you provide positive reinforcement to your subconscious every time it tosses a spark of creativity out. It keeps writer’s block away.
Step 2: Plan Your Research
Once you have roughly 50 ideas to play with it’s time to dig into SEO and figure out what research links you will need at the ready to write your articles.
Knowing what you want to delve into and where you plan to dig up your information is crucial to churning out content quickly. The less time you spend hunting around Google and Google Analytics when it is time to write, the better chance you have of succeeding at NaNoWriMo. Have at least two or three links for research reference, the links you wish to anchor to your article, and any keywords you plan on using.
Step 3: Get Organized
With your article ideas and research mapped out it is time to get organized using your favorite e-calendar. One way to go about this and maintain your sanity is to write two articles a day, Monday to Friday (excluding American Thanksgiving and Black Friday).
If each article is roughly 1,200 words long then that is 2,400 words a day for 20 days, which is equal to 40 articles or 48,000 words for the month of November.
Step 4: Find Your Motivation
What rewards will you give yourself for completing your writing goal each day? Let’s face it, sometimes telling yourself you did a good job isn’t enough to motivate you to do it again the next day.
I know for me it isn’t, and I also know that being a writer with ADHD, the things that I rather do outside of writing varies from day to day. So, to motivate myself I figure out what it is I’d rather be doing, and then I tell myself that I can do that activity as soon as I finish my word count.
However, sometimes we need something extra to keep ourselves in line. What is a price you can pay, but are not willing to pay if a reward isn’t enough? One of my coworkers struggles to get up early in the morning so she made an arrangement with me, a morning person. The deal is that if she doesn’t call me to let me know she is up by 7 a.m., then she has to pay me $50.
I never thought I would say this, but I have yet to receive $50 from her. Not that I’m disappointed, as I have grown rather fond of her cheerful voice every morning telling me thank you and to have a great day.
Step 5: Accountabili-buddies
Writing doesn’t have to be a lonely process, and the fact that NaNoWriMo understands the community is part of what has made it a success since it first began in 1999.
Every year, NaNoWriMo brings writers together with one common goal: write 50,000 words.
Each writer is then allowed to run their own race to completion while surrounding themselves with a supportive network of people who are going through the same ordeal as them.
So, don’t go it alone. Find someone who can keep you accountable, just like my coworker did with me for getting up in the morning. You can motivate each other when things get tough, remind each other of the rewards you will reap once the hard word is done.
And hey, maybe one of you will make $50 if the other one decides to slack off and not show up.
If you’re American, let Thanksgiving be the day you give thanks to yourself and to anyone else who wishes to join you. November can be the most rewarding month of the year!
Besides, it’s about time someone dethroned December. And to think, all it takes is 20 days of butt in the seat, fingers at the keyboard and petal to the medal for a worry free blog in the upcoming year.
What are you waiting for? This is the formula to succeeding at NaNoWriMo as a blogger!