During the month of November, almost half a million writers signed themselves up for NaNoWriMo. Their goal: write 50,000 words in 30 days. I’ve already raved about how amazing this challenge is and offered tips in a previous post. (In case you’re wondering, I fell short of my goal of 100k words but I finished the rough draft for Nux Eternal.) Although the NaNoWriMo challenge is a good start, it doesn’t fully develop a good writing habit. That is, if a writing habit can be considered a “good” habit… I’ll leave it open for interpretation.
Research has shown that it takes at least 2 months to develop a habit. So while the event tries to push you to write every day, it only does so for half of the time needed to make it a habit. Try as you may, the companionship and inspiration you acquired while doing NaNoWriMo will fizzle out. Even before month’s end, if you are like me, the green/purple bar blues can hit and kill your drive to keep writing. It may even hit you during the dreaded week 2, which claims the lives of many wrimo novels who fail to slug their way through it. But through the fire of those trials, the steel of a writer is resolved.
The path of sitting and bleeding out words.
There are as many ways to keep a daily writing routine as there are writers. If you enjoy adding to your word count, tweeting, snapping, checking a box, or any other means to give yourself a reward for the daily achievement; have at it. While you are giving yourself your daily rewards, let me suggest 3 things to motivate you to becoming a habitual writer.
1. Write Down Your Progress
One of the greatest motivators for NaNoWriMo is a progress bar that shows how many words you have finished (or need to write to catch up). In my hunt for a similar program, I discovered some great apps and websites that allow you to track your writing goals. You can use a similar spreadsheet or journal to create your own progress on each book you are working on. I use my Books page to update my progress. Tweeting your daily goals is another easy tool I like to use.
2. Embrace Inspiration
You’ve sat at the proverbial typewriter and it stares back at you, mocking your futile attempts to write. This is good. In fact, the more fights you overcome in your commitment, the more likely you are to keep the habit going. If you lose motivation in one story, start another. Do it in a different style (poetry, prose, screenplay, etc). Some have suggested working on another skill or craft that enhances creativity. For me, it is sewing and acting. I participate in many Renaissance Festivals and conventions in the Midwest. It is my inspiration hive.
3. Give Away Your Passion
Become an author groupie. Every new author would love the opportunity to share their journey with you. They can help support you as you battle through the first few months. You can help them by reviewing their books on Amazon and spreading the word of their stories. Word of mouth is the best way for new books to bloom. Not only will it help other authors, it will help you grow as they catch your passion for writing. I’ve yet to meet another author who doesn’t love new stories. A great place to find other authors is from those you may have connected with during NaNoWriMo. If not, look for local authors in your area or even a Facebook group.
I’m always excited to find my new favorite story and write a review for it. Let me know in the comments if it is yours. I only ask you to return the favor.