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NaNo: Day the Fourth - Staying Motivated

Today I thought I'd blog about motivation. If you're doing NaNoWriMo, you already know that a huge part of succeeding is self-motivation. The support network is available and huge, but when it comes down to making those words appear on the page it's all you - the writer - and what you do to get to the finish line.

So what can we do to keep ourselves motivated writers?

Here's my list:

Networking: Even if you can't get out to the parties and write-ins, it's a great motivational drive to have a friend or two, even on the internet, writing with you and cheering you on. That's why I love that so many of my friends are doing NaNo alongside me. We can commiserate with each other. We can support each other. And we can succeed together.

Music: Not all of us are blessed with the ability to write with music playing in the background, but for those of us who can, it can be really motivating. I've been working on a large play list of songs that relate to various scenes, characters, and emotions in my novel (and/or ones expected to be) Finding a song that fits one of my characters just right is almost as good as finding a song that suits my own mood perfectly. It thrills me and makes me want to get more of that character down on the page.

Reading: Don't forget the age-old trick of picking up a favorite book and snuggling up to it for a chapter or two (or more!) Time is limited during NaNo, but if you find yourself staring at the screen and not writing, it might be worth the time to get re-inspired by your favorite writing heroes.

Staying Positive: Focus on succeeding, not failing. It's far too easy to let the anxiety of failing get to us, especially if our word count starts to drop behind. Letting negativity get the best of you is setting yourself up for failure. You'll start to get used to the idea of not making it and before you know it, you'll expect and let that very thing happen. Stay positive Nanoers! You CAN do it!

Staying Focused: Losing focus is a huge motivation killer and it happens to the best of us. If you find yourself losing focus on your manuscript or writing in general, take a day to regroup. Pull that outline back out for tweaking (or make one if you didn't to begin with.) Do whatever you can to find your focus again, even if it means implementing some new scenes into your WIP to get you excited again.

Mixing It Up: I'll be preaching to myself here, but I think mixing things up can really help keep a writer motivated. If you always write at home, try heading out to a coffee shop. If you normally write at night, try getting up early in the morning and punching out some words. If you never let anyone read your writing, let someone read some snippets and get some feedback, etc. It's amazing how routines and insecurities can bog us down, so if you feel a writer funk coming on, try whatever you can to mix things up, and remember, stay positive!

So what am I missing fellow writers and NaNoers? How do you stay motivated or plan on staying motivated? Let's see if we can grow this list of motivationals so we can refer back to it when our motivation starts to wane.

P.S. Don't forget to vote! Exercise your political freedom and right to be heard!


Stephanie J said...

SO TIMELY. It's only day 4 and I'm needing this! I guess it's because I'm behind...

Reading -- I completely agree! Sometimes we just need to rejuice.

I might need to break out of my shell and let a friend read some pieces. It freaks me out but I'm sure it will inspire me to write new things or make me realize something needs to be added. And hey, any extra things that need to be added are great for WC!

Casey Something said...

I know exactly what you mean Stephanie! I was thinking about making an excerpt post within the next few days where everyone can post an excerpt from their NaNo novel or current WIP. Problem is, I'm frightened to post the first one!

You may be behind, but it doesn't mean you can't catch up! Do what you have to do. If letting someone give you some feedback will help, than force yourself to hand some pieces over to a friend. It's always motivating to get feedback, especially good feedback!

Hope you can get caught up soon!

Heather Hansen said...



Erm, that's all the words I have to spare. NaNo's kicking my bootay.

PJ Hoover said...

No way on the music!
I stay motivated by loving my story so much and really trying to live the story through my characters.
I'm so glad you're having fun!