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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 August 12, 2019

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

1. Nuts

The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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2. Blueberries

Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

3. Tomatoes

Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

4. Broccoli

While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

6. Soy

Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

7. Dark Chocolate

When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

9. Foods Rich in Zinc

Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

10. Gingko Biloba

This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

11. Green and Black Tea

Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

12. Sage and Rosemary

Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

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Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

Reference

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