If you’ve been reading motivational advice around the Internet, you’ve probably come across the classic “break objectives down into small achievable chunks” or “focus on manageable short-term goals”. By all means, do this for your second week of NaNo. Just like we’ve all broken down the 50k into daily goals, break down the 1,667 words a day into three 556 sprints or even smaller.
Most importantly, give yourself opportunities to celebrate yourself.
Reached 556 words? Make yourself a cup of your favorite beverage. Reached 1,112? Have your favorite snack. Blasted through your 1,667 goal? Pat yourself on the back and brag a little.
Do not – and let me insist on this: do not!—skimp on the little rewards. They serve two very important purposes in keeping you productive:
- They make you take a break which gives rhythm to your writing and resting time to your brain and fingers.
- They remind you that you can do this and that NaNo is a fun, satisfying experience, which helps fight the occasional feeling of “this is a gruelling pace”.
Since I’m between jobs (visa for Australia submitted yesterday! Yay!), I can afford to give myself bigger rewards, like catching up on a TV show, because my writing hours are numerous. My small goals are also bigger since I’m reaching for 100k by the end of the month. Find a split of goals and a type of reward that works for your schedule.
You can also supplement this with other writerly accomplishments and celebration. Post your favorite sentences on the NaNoWriMo forums or share them of social media. Hell, share your NaNoisms too and have a good laugh. This’ll remind you that you can do this.
I’m lucky enough that I have other sources of small accomplishments to boost my confidence when I hit a creative wall. I have this blog and WordPress is nice enough to track a few stats for me. A few days ago, someone from Hungary read the entirety of my first blog novel, Unforeseen Dives, in two days straight. Today, someone from Norway started blasting through chapters of Killing Time OST, my second serialized novel.
These are old stories, written at a fast pace and basically posted as I went, and yet, people are seemingly still enjoying them. They’re not legion, but they’re enough to tell me that I can do this.
And I celebrate that small accomplishment.
And it keeps me striving toward better writing and that 100k.
So thanks, Stranger One and Stranger Two!
Now, not every WriMo reading this is lucky enough to have a Stranger One and Stranger Two to boost their morale, so in honor of the middle of the Dreaded Second Week, I offer to be your Stranger. Reach out to me in the comment section, on Twitter or with a NaNoMail and let me know your NaNo username. I’ll write you a NaNoMail motivational/celebratory message. If your profile and novel information are filled or if you let me know about your current hurdle or accomplishment in your message, I’ll personalize your message as best as I can.
I pledge to do this for 10 NaNo, at least. I invite any other NaNo who wants to make a similar pledge to do so.
Let’s celebrate our small and big accomplishments and reach our NaNo goals like champions!