The key to success during NaNoWriMo is to turn off all distractions. This means TV, telephone, internet, gabby friends, etc. By turn off, I mean to limit them as much as possible if not totally during the time you have allotted for writing. I know a lot of people need some kind of noise in the background when they write. That’s fine. How about you turn on some music while you write? I would suggest that you turn on something instrumental, otherwise you might be tempted to sing along. I know I am. Then that defeats the whole purpose. One thing I have done in the past is to create a playlist that I can burn on to a CD or play on iTunes or on the Amazon Cloud Player. My play list consists of some instrumentals from movie soundtracks like the Harry Potter movies, Indiana Jones, Rocky (yes that’s old but so am I), Chocolat, Jurassic Park, etc. I’ve also included some instrumentals by Frank Zappa, such as Watermelon In Easter Hay, Black Napkins, and Peaches En Regalia. It works for me. Find what works for you.
I’ve also found a neat little program that lets you set a writing goal per writing session then as you write, it keeps track of your goal and if you stop typing, the screen will begin to flash to remind you to start typing again. There is a series of reminders you can set. You can even set it for kamikaze mode which will wipe out all of your writing for that session if you don’t heed the warnings and start writing again. Nothing like the threat of losing your writing to keep you writing! The program is free to use online or you can pay a $10 fee to get the program downloaded to your computer so you can use it even if you are not online. It’s called Dr. Wicked’s Write Or Die. I use it every year.
There is also another free program which I just discovered this week but haven’t tried. It looks promising, though. It’s called FocusWriter. This one lives on your computer so you don’t have to be online to use it.
So, as you prepare for NaNoWriMo, remember not to schedule optional stuff during the month. Which means, don’t plan on throwing a party that is going to take you hours and days to plan during November. Don’t plan on long two or three hour doctor appointments if you can help it. Don’t volunteer to do anything that takes you away from writing this month. Be selfish with your time in November. You can give your time away all you want come December 1.
Don’t forget to be nice to yourself during November. Set goals and reward yourself when you reach them. Maybe set a goal to reach five thousand words by day 3 and treat yourself to a meal out. Or how about turning off your internet while you write and treating yourself to an hour online when you reach the goal you set? Or treat yourself to a day off from writing IF you reach ten thousand words by day 5. When you reach 25,000 words (the half way point) maybe you can go out to a movie? Plan out your writing schedule. Think of rewards. Do it. And don’t be upset if you fall behind. You can get caught up. I’ll try to come back and give some “catch up” tips in a few days.
Good luck and happy writing!