Embarking on a challenge of writing 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is no easy feat! It takes lots of hard work and discipline to accomplish this goal. For so many of us, we are not full-time writers. We work jobs, have families, or other commitments that we need to be involved in on a daily basis. Adding writing into our routine can take its toll!
I’m a huge proponent of practicing self-care. It’s so important to take care of ourselves. When we do so, we’re better equipped to get all the things done and get them done well. This is especially important during NaNoWriMo as it’s very easy to become burned out when taking on a challenge like this. So, to avoid stressing yourself out, here are 3 ways you can practice self-care this month!
1. Take Days Off
When planning out how many words you can write per day, it seems totally doable to write every day during the month of November. I do not recommend this. At all. Take at least one day off per week from writing. You need to give yourself a chance to recharge and step away from your work for a little bit.
You will likely be faced with some writer’s block during this challenge. It happens to the best writers. Sitting down and forcing yourself to get those words in when you’re feeling blocked can have a detrimental effect. You’ll end up feeling so frustrated with yourself for not being able to write that it will cause you to become even more blocked.
You can take your days off one of two ways. First, you can plan out which days you want to take off when creating your action plan each week. Or, you can take a day off as needed. Even if you planned on writing that day, if you are just not coming up with ideas, you can take a break.
Take your day off and don’t feel the least bit guilty about it. The guilt can get to you! Trust me though, you need this break and you can get back into writing the next day feeling refreshed.
2. Indulge In Non-Screen-Related Activities
Spending hours at a time in front of your computer screen can put some major strain on your eyes. And if you’re like lots of other writers, you’re probably on your computer for your full-time (or part-time) job as well. That’s a lot of time in front of a screen! When you do take some downtime, consider something that doesn’t involve a screen. That means no aimless Instagram scrolling or Netflix binging.
Here are a few great ways to relax without a screen:
- Go for a walk
- Take a bubble bath
- Read a book (a hard or soft cover, no Kindle!)
- Meet a friend for a meal or a drink
We’re so conditioned to entertain ourselves with our devices but there are tons of ways we can relax without them. Think of something that you love to do without having your screen handy and do it! Aim to do this at least once a day. You’ll feel so much better.
3. Reward Yourself
Don’t discount all of your hard work during NaNoWriMo. Remember: what you’re doing is awesome! Reward yourself for that. I planned out what my rewards will be when I meet my goals. It’s one of the things that’s helping me stay motivated! When you do reach your goals, indulge yourself and consume yourself in your reward. What do I mean by that? Let me paint the picture using the rewards (that I’ll enjoy during the month) I’ve set for myself.
- Enjoy my favorite chardonnay. I’ll go to my local Whole Foods and purchase my favorite chardonnay. When I get home, I’ll open the bottle and breathe in the glorious scent. I’ll pour myself a glass and sit on the couch. Without the TV, my phone, or any other device, I’ll take a sip and taste each flavor on my tongue. I’ll enjoy every single drop of that glass, focusing on only that.
- Go out to dinner with my husband. We will both put our phones away and focus on each other (and our son, who will obviously be joining us!). We’ll talk about the drinks, the food, and the atmosphere of the restaurant. We’ll truly enjoy each other’s company and the dining experience. This will be our night to relax and unwind.
- Buy a new coffee mug. When I’ve decided where I’ll shop for my new mug, I’ll make a whole experience out of it. I won’t just pick one willy-nilly from the shelf. I’ll check out all of my options and choose something I really love. Maybe it’ll take more than one store, who knows? I’ll likely have a Starbucks latte in hand while I meander through the store just enjoying my little shopping trip.
See what I did there? I put myself in the moment to enjoy my reward. After all, I’ve deserved this. I want to enjoy it as much as I can!
Now, my rewards are set based on meeting word count goals by a set date. Maybe you’ve only set a reward for yourself when you’ve hit 50,000 words. But there’s nothing that says that you can’t reward yourself along the way when you feel you deserve it. Say, for example, you are totally on your game and end up writing 7,000 words in one day. That’s pretty incredible! You should reward yourself!
My NaNoWriMo Update
So far, I’m a bit behind on my word counts. Feeling sick this first week and coming off a long vacation has caused me to lose my momentum. But I’m not letting it get to me! I know that I’ll have to work hard to meet my first goal. I know that I can do it! If you’re participating, I hope all is going well for you! If you need a bit of motivation or guidance, I’m just an email away, you can always reach out!