Survival kits are really valuable, I particularly love Rachael Stephen’s Nanowrimo survival kit.
But I don’t want to just survive November, I want to thrive in it. I want to enjoy the experience, to be happy and healthy.
If I’ve written 50K words by the end of November, but I’m a desiccated husk of a human being, I’ll have failed. My mission is to write 50K words sustainably. So that I get to the end with a huge story and a huge smile.
So, how to do that?
Breaks! One zero day each week
Last week, I was planning for no zero days, and last week it worked.
But this week, I went straight from an intense week of working to travelling to another country. I know that it takes me 2 days to recover from such activity. I’m always surprised, but I know that it’s true. So, it was an achievement just to sort next day’s breakfast, brush my teeth and attend a virtual writing class. (So glad I did that, by the way, it was Aya de Leon’s class.)
I’ve been thinking a lot about what rewards might be helpful. I’m steering clear of food-based rewards.
Some rewards I gave myself in October:
- Ficus plant
- Hair clippers
- Watching a Nanowrimo Prep video: Find the Time to Write
- Dining out
- Watching YNAB budgeting videos
- Watching a film
Some rewards I’ve lined up for myself in November:
- Schedule Artist Dates – I’m aiming to have more in November to support my creativity, this will help me achieve that
- Affirmations jar – based on this warm fuzzies jar idea, except I’ll be adding in affirmations as well as taking them out
- Selfies on Instagram when I reach my goals
- Dancing round my room
- Watching films
- “Mystery pack” / “treasure box” that I make myself, wrapping up stationery and things like that
Add £1 to a coin jar every time I reach my word goals for the day
- More plants
- Rose quartz things – maybe something for my room I can hang up
- Ooo polish nail varnish
- It’s All Good! Sweet Dreams tea (Wieder Gut! Eine Mutze voll Schlaf), Sonnentor
- Tea advent calendar, Sonnentor
- ‘The Snooty Bookshop: Fifty Literary Postcards’ by Tom Gauld
I expect I’ll be attending fewer writing classes and not watching so many writing videos, but they’ll still be an important part of my writing journey. Because connecting with writers in this way motivates and inspires me. Lately, I’ve been using these videos as a reward for reaching my word goals. I plan to keep doing that to ensure I don’t use them to avoid writing.
Tips & tricks: Helpful apps
Anything that helps me get my word count in a sustainable way is great, including apps I try out sceptically, right? I was so surprised how much Forest app helped me, but help me it did. So, I’ll keep using it!
How it works: You set the time that you want to focus for. If you don’t use your phone in that time, it plants a virtual tree as a reward. If you do, you kill the tree that’s growing. Simple. Effective. Great!
Other apps I find helpful:
- Insight Timer for all kinds of meditations (I mostly use it for the sleep meditations)
- One Moment Meditation for super quick mediation
- Music apps (I use Google Play Music and Amazon music). I’ve been listening to classical (Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess, Mozart’s Don Giovanni), anti-folk and pop
I’ll keep trying things I hear that people find useful and see if they work for me.
I’ve found setting goals so useful in October, and I plan to continue that into November. Sharing my goals and my progress here has been vital for helping me stay on track. So, I plan to continue with that too.
What I achieved last week
✔️ Write 1000 words daily
I was aiming for 8500 words (3 days of 1500 and 4 days of 1000). I beat that. I’m counting this as a win 😊
I learned that being really strict about the number of words each days isn’t helpful for me. And having a break is necessary sometimes. Having daily goals helps me a lot, especially when I’m not motivated. (On Saturday, I was completely unmotivated, but I made myself write and it really paid off). Beating myself up about not reaching daily goals doesn’t help me. So long as I’m on track overall, it’s all good.
This weekend, I spent some time to modify my plan for November, based on how October’s been. Excited to start now!
Hooray! Achievement unlocked. Smashed my word count target today – writing most of it on the bus this morning, very little on my way home and nothing at lunch time 🙌🏿 Relieved 😅 Tired 😴 Excited for tomorrow 😁— LiLi Kathleen Bright ✨🌈 (@gobrightly) October 23, 2018
✔️ Attend at least one virtual writing class – Mon / Wed / Fri
Smashed this one by attending all 3 of the writing classes this week 💥
Rachael Herron: "it's an online lark… put the clay on the wheel, not the time to be a perfectionist, just the time to play."— LiLi Kathleen Bright ✨🌈 (@gobrightly) October 24, 2018
Sophie Littlefield: "I have days when I can't get 1000 (words) down, that's part of the gift of NaNoWriMo is giving yourself permission."
🎯 Write poems in response to poetry challenge prompts
I did this last Sunday, but no other days. My plan to write the poems as part of my Morning Pages was supplanted by getting some more useful prompts. Dave Ursillo’s class How to Overcome Writer’s Block was so helpful for this. I’ve added his question: What have I been avoiding lately? to my pages now.
I’ve got more prompts for November on standby, but this just isn’t a priority for me. I’ll put a list of them in my Workflowy app, so they’re easily accessible if I want them tho.
✔️ Publish article on my experiences of Preptober for NaNoWriMo
Here it is!
🎯 Place a groceries delivery order
Nearly forgot about this one… I’ve been adding things to my online basket, but not checked out yet. Set myself a reminder to make sure I do tomorrow so that I’m well stocked for November.
What I’m aiming for next week
- 🎯 Write 10000 words weekly – adjust my plan whenever I write significantly more or less than I expected
- 🎯 At least one Artist Date weekly – ideally, three
- 🎯 Do one nice thing for myself every day – write it down in my activity planner