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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 March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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