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5 Reasons You Should Participate in NaNoWriMo

5 Reasons You Should Participate in NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month is fast approaching. Come November 1, hundreds of thousands of people are going to sit down with their computers (or with paper and pens) with the goal of writing a 50,000 words novel before midnight on November 30.

While this might sound crazy, there are actually a few good reasons why you should join in and start working on your novel too.

1. You’ll have a community of writers

You won’t have to be the only person you know writing a book. You won’t even be the only person you know who’s tackling writing the whole book in a single month. Every morning (or evening!) when you sit down to write, you’ll know that you have other people doing the same thing you are.

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When you sign up, you can choose your region. This lets you team up with other people who live nearby. Sometimes your region will have get togethers where everyone shows up at the same place and writes together for a while.

If writing in a group isn’t your thing, you can still participate in the forums. You can offer (or get) encouragement from other writers, find help on character and plot, and get tips on how to finish out the month strong.

No matter how you choose to communicate with others, you’ll still know that you’re not doing this alone.

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2. You’ll have a reason to write every day

The one piece of advice I hear over and over about writing is that you have to do it every day. Unfortunately, there are a million reasons why we can’t write every day. We have school, classes, families, kids, pets… it all adds up to some pretty convenient excuses.

When you’re working on NaNoWriMo, though, you have a schedule to stick to. You’re not just working on an elusive goal of eventually finishing this novel. You’re trying to finish the novel before November 30. That puts more pressure on you (the good kind of pressure) to actually work every day.

I’ll do the math for you. If you want to write 50,000 words in 30 days, you have to write about 1,667 words per day. And you can’t do that if you don’t just sit down and write every day.

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3. You’ll have the opportunity to help charity

NaNoWriMo as an organization works with libraries, community centers, and schools to help foster a love of writing in everyone –without charging a dime. This means that the money that they use to keep their organization running and creating the kits that they give away for free comes from sponsors and individuals who donate.

Even if you don’t want to give them any cash, you can buy merchandise, get sponsored by fundraising, or set up your Amazon Smile account to donate a percent of your purchases. And with the holiday season coming up, that can add up quickly.

4. You’ll have actual words to work with at the end of the month

Whether you hit your 50,000 goal by November 30 or not, you’ll still have something written. And better some hastily written words than no words at all. You can’t edit what you haven’t written!

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Committing to begin writing on November 1 means that you’ll finally be able to get out that story that’s been in your head. And after November is over and you have your 50,000 words (or however many you managed to write), you can take advantage of the organizations “Now What?” emails for help finishing your story or revising what you’ve already started.

5. You’ll have a good habit

Remember what I said in my second point? The one piece of advice I always hear published authors giving is to write every day. And they say that it takes 21 days to solidify a habit. So once you’ve written every day for 30 days, what do you have?

The habit of writing every single day.

And, whether you write 50,000 words, 100,000 words, or just 10,000 words — just having this habit is worth the effort. Don’t you think?

Featured photo credit: mpclemens via flic.kr

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Kathryn Harper

Media Relations Manager

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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