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  • Karina Sokulski

NaNoWriMo Prep: Pacing

Here's another exceedingly important concern when it comes to NaNoWriMo. Pacing yourself. Don't leave generating word count to the last minute, or the mountain will be too high to climb. Alternatively, don't try to win the race in the first week or you'll burn out before the month has even started. It isn't about how fast you can rush through, its about using your time wisely.

To review, last post we discussed how daily target word counts are key to victory. My daily target word count is 1,667 words per day. I highly recommend this target word count, its effective and this number isn't overwhelming to stick to.

It's also been previously said that any editing during NaNoWriMo can be tossed right out the window. The judges are going to check for quantity over quality. There's no need for you to concern yourself with how refined your writing is, just write.

As October unfolds and we all spend our time preparing for NaNoWriMo next month, here are a few tips to also prepare your game plan for pacing yourself through November's approaching thirty days. Some of these will seem like no-brainer tips, but they go a LONG way.

1) Tell your family/spouses/roommates, etc. that you're participating.

Obvious or not, you need a distraction-free zone. No random nocks on your bedroom/office door in the middle of crunching out your words.

2) Computer notifications off/focus mask (or other focus app) set to "active" when computer is turned on.

Change some of those computer settings. Nothing drives me more crazy than when my computer interrupts me to tell me I have an incoming phone call.

3) Deport all distracting phones/tablets/electronic devices

Literally move all chargers in your office/bedroom/cave elsewhere. You need to dedicate all the time you can spare for this challenge and you need to do it without interruption.

4) Snacks if you please

Whether its a plate of veggies, a bag of chips or a bowl of fruit, you don't sit down at your desk to begin crunching words without it. Foods must be at the ready to increase productivity time.

5) Take-out/delivery food is completely acceptable sustenance

Ordering a pizza or Chinese food is perfectly acceptable, especially when getting closer to the 30th.

6) Must be accompanied by caffeinated beverage to write

I spent so many days last year with a pot of tea on my desk and a teacup to drink from. If coffee's your poison then have at it...but I don't recommend drinking an entire pot.

7) Desk/battle station clean

Distraction-free zone! No clutter, unless clutter helps you focus. Either way, your keyboard and mouse must be reachable.

8) Schedule if possible

I always did my word count in the evenings. If anything prevented me from keeping consistent, I always rescheduled a time that day, but I never skipped a day to write. Cram time into the day to crunch those words.

9) Your prep notes from October must be on hand at all times.

Your Three Act or Snowflake Method outlines need to be cemented to your desk/battle station. Easy reach for enhanced productivity!

10) Music playlists/ambient environments/scented candles at the ready

Get your writing zone comfy and ready to inspire you for next month. I also love having my scented candles lit when I write. They relax me and keep me inspired. Whatever it takes to make your office/bedroom/battle station the perfect environment for writing. Get. It. Ready.

And here's the other thing. If this is your first NaNoWriMo challenge, take a breath and do your best. If it's not, take a breath and do your best. Strive to win, even if you don't. The goal is to write. You get close, great! You wrote a lot! You get half-way, great! You wrote a lot! You get through the first quarter, great! You wrote a lot, and have proven you are capable of doing more! It's about challenging yourself, training yourself and most importantly: expressing your willingness to write more. See how far the challenge takes you, and set a goal to best yourself next year, no matter where you land next month.

NaNoWriMo is fast approaching which means, as of today, you've got 29 days to get ready before it begins. Get your notes ready, get your battle stations clean and stock up your "focus snacks" because NaNoWriMo is practically here.

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