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5 Reasons You Should Participate in NaNoWriMo

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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.

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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

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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