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NaNoWriMo Survival Guide: 2018 Edition

November 20, 2018

As of today, there are just 10 more days till NaNoWriMo 2018 comes to an end and all of the word goals must be met. Here are a few non-writing tricks to help you push through these last couple of weeks.

As someone who writes and has a lot of friends who write, I know that November can be a very stressful time for wordsmiths. I know you started out this month with good intentions. "Do NaNoWriMo," they said. "You'll love it!" they said. But now it's day 20, you're about 4,000 words behind, your sink is full of dishes, and you've ordered UberEats for the fourth day in a row. It's a dire situation. But don't panic: here are a couple of things you can do help you push through these last few days.

Eat Some Veggies

A very wise friend once told me during a conference that "when your body starts craving vegatables, you should probably listen to it." I know when I'm really focused on something, the first thing to go is any concern for what I put in my body for fuel. I will live on soup and leftover Halloween candy for as long as humanly possible. But it's not a great idea and I don't recommend it. Instead, when you feel yourself starting to wear down, grab a handful of carrots or steam a bag of edamame, or carve out a little time to try a recipe from Tasty. Your body will thank you.

Water the Plants

Or do the dishes. Or throw in a load of laundry. Essentially, make sure your space is functioning so you can function. When my space is cluttered, I can't do anything until I clean it. I'm also the kind of person who enjoys cleaning when I'm upset or nervous, and I've found that sometimes I will use cleaning and organizing as an excuse to procrastinate on something else. If this happens to you, might I recommend Gretchen Rubin's Happier at Home. The book is full of excellent life advice, but her suggestion to go "shelf by shelf" when organizing has helped me reign in my desire to completely redecorate when I should be writing.

Take a Break

Yes, I know you're behind on word count, but you've been staring at the screen for about 20 minutes, just erasing and retyping the same word over and over. It's time to take a small break. I have a couple of go-to movies, but if I'm in the midst of fending off writers block, I put on Big Fish. It's the right amount of magical and the focus on story telling is inspiring to me. The ending makes me ugly cry, but I always walk away from it feeling refreshed.

Find Encouragement

When you hit a wall, it's really easy to convince yourself to give up. When those moments happen, don't give into the temptation. Instead read Lin Manuel Miranda's Gmorning, Gnight. Miranda is basically the Mister Rogers of Twitter, and this book inspired by his tweets is sure to keep you going when you feel like you can't write even one more word.

So happy writing, everyone! You got this!



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Emily is the Branch Services Specialist at the Main Library. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, hiking, and playing with her dog, Fern.