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Ten Tips for NaNoWriMo

1. Have a plan - - of some sort. Your plan might be that you’re going to free-write the whole thing and refine the story later. Or, you might try your hand at outlining the whole thing, start to finish. Or perhaps you’ll take a casting approach by gathering your characters and then deciding what sort of lessons each individual will learn during their journey. Put some thought into it in advance so you’re not spending the first week figuring out your course of action.​

2. Prep your workspace. Make sure your writing area is comfortable and free of distractions. If you can’t keep off facebook, consider trying an internet distraction blocker. If you need some inspiration, try creating an inspiration board or visual plot map to hang on your wall where you can see it. Most importantly, make sure your workspace has a spot for your coffee or tea.

3. Be social. Find a friend or coworker to participate in NaNoWriMo along with you. If you can’t, hit up the forums to interact with other writers online. Find a regional chatroom or a writer’s group to join. NaNoWriMo is a long and difficult journey, but it doesn’t have to be a lonely one.

4. Jot it while it’s hot. Ideas have a funny way of popping up when you’re away from the keyboard, so make sure there’s a notepad or recording device in reach every time you take a walk, take a shower, drive to work, or hit the hay.

5. Give yourself a side document for random scenes and ideas that don't fit into what you've written yet. You can figure out where they’ll live later, but there’s no reason not to get them down and counted now.

6. When you’re stuck, get up. A change of scenery often does wonders for a case of writer’s block. When you hit that wall, step away from the keyboard and rejoin the world. Take a walk. Go to a cafe. Do some people watching. Get up and go somewhere, and bring a notepad with you.

7. Use prompts! Whether you find them on twitter, on the forum, or elsewhere, prompts are a great way to kickstart your creativity.

8. Actively take pride in yourself. When you’re feeling like a failure or a lost-cause, stop and take a look at what you’ve already done. Even if it’s ten words, that’s ten more words than zero. The act of deciding to pursue such a difficult task is an act of bravery. Remind yourself how much further along you are than those that didn’t even have the courage to start. You are awesome.

9. Don’t pursue perfection. Turn your inner editor off and focus on finishing the story. Deliberating on the perfect word or phrasing can be done later. Now is the time to write. Write like mad.

10. When all else fails, just breathe.

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