• Shawndra Holmberg

Meet Your Writing Team for November - NaNoWriMo

All 450,000+ of us.

When you want to write but the words don’t seem to come, consider some external motivation. Use a writing challenge, a writing group, or combine them and join NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. But don’t let the “Novel” part turn you away.


If you write non-fiction like I do, then NaNoWriMo will work for you, too. Of course you’ll need to check out the details directly on site, but here are a few things to get you started.


Start


Start November 1 with the intention, goal, dream, hope, possibility of ending the month with 50,000 words. Because life happens and because some writing days are more (or less) inspired than others, my goal is usually 30,000 words for the month. Set your own goal, but definitely START!


Join


Join a local group. Though all events in 2020 are virtual, they still might bring that extra bit of excitement to the journey to keep you going. If you’re more of an introvert, consider inviting a writing buddy or two and create your own group. Check out the “Buddies” tab on your profile. And if you’d like me to be your buddy, look me up — Shawndra — and invite me.


Build


Build your support and environment. Take 15 minutes, an hour, or the entire day to build your support strategy. Will you need to delegate tasks so you have more time to write? Is your writing area ready to go? Surround yourself with the tools you need to take your writing to the next level in November. And that includes your local NaNoWriMo group, writing buddy, or those cheering you on (I am!).


Focus


Focus on one idea or project, at least for 30 days. Most writers I know have several (or lots!) of ideas for books. Hey, I’ve changed my NaNoWriMo focus three times this week. But choose one idea and work on that for this year’s event.


And towards the end of the challenge…


Identify


Identify what other inspirational and supportive events you might choose next. There's Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July. You could search for a writing retreat, workshop, or conference. Before you end this challenge, decide what motivation (external or internal) you’ll need to get your message out into the world in book form.


Here’s a bit about my NaNoWriMo journey:


I just spent an hour of my “writing” time setting up my account for the latest NaNoWriMo event. Was it wasted writing time or was it building up motivation, intention, and structure for success? I could describe it either way, but I know that I am even more excited to get going. I even got my writing buddy ready to go.


I’ve been taking part in NaNoWriMo for years now. Some years are active, full-on writing months. Others are a great idea, but not a priority. Regardless of whether I’m actively writing or not, NaNoWriMo is an opportunity for me to assess what I want and where I’m going. It’s an opportunity to identify the ONE book I want to work on next, at least for the month of November.


The yearly jump start in November had been working for me,so my husband and I got a real jump on it in 2016. We scheduled a personal writing retreat at our favorite spot the week before November 1. We wrote! We talked plots, stories, and characters! We walked, talked, and breathed writing. That week gave me a brilliant start to a project that would require a bit more “creative writing” in my non-fiction organizing book. I had energy and excitement. Then the election results threw me into a tailspin. I haven’t worked on the project since. The 2020 NaNoWriMo could be another emotional wreck with COVID and the elections, but I’ve convinced myself that I win if I’m still standing, so I’m not letting anyone or anything stop me. Life happens and I know there are situations and things that will slow me down, but I will keep going!


I’ve never achieved my own goal of 30,000 words, let alone 50,000 in that one month, but I have written and published several books since first joining. For me, it’s all about the tools, the structure, and the re-motivation. Maybe this year, I'll reach my 30,000 or even go all the way to 50k. Who knows, but the journey will get me closer to finishing this project which I've been working on for awhile.


Here’s a pic of my Stats Board before November 1 — let’s see what my board will look like on December 1. Will you join me this year and focus on your writing this November?




© 2020 by Shawndra Holmberg