It is a week since NaNoWriMo ended, and while NaNoWriMo gives a very handy accountability word-count meter, how do you keep accountability and motivation going after December first?
If you are anything like me, the second the push is over and the deadline is gone, all urge to compose thousands of words a day also evaporates. A few paragraphs become success, even if those few paragraphs only span two to three hundred words. Alternatively, after writing like mad for NaNoWriMo December may just herald the start of the time that all writers seem to dread, the time of editing.
Create a Goal or Graph:
Keeping track of your progress is still motivational. Even if your goal for December is only 500 words a day, instead of the 1667 for NaNo, it is still forward movement. Track your goals, and watch as your novel continues to grow. If editing is your writing nemesis, track the number of words you edit. It could be a page, or it could be four pages a day, whatever it is try and be consistent. Little drops wear away large rocks.
Get a Partner:
An accountability partner, preferably non-family and a writer, is also very helpful in keeping one-self on track for writing, editing, and publishing. You can even exchange beta-reading services with your accountability partner so that you get a fresh perspective on your work (beta readings are best after the first edit, but before the second).
Make it Fun:
If your story and characters are not interesting or engaging enough, now that the added excitement is gone, try and mix things up a little. Writing a romance? add a fight! Writing an adventure with no romance in sight? add a romantic entanglement side-plot! Alternatively, you can turn writing into a game. In the games’ section of the NaNo forums, you can adopt word-count dragons and other fantastical creatures that feed on your words – make enough writing and they are happy, don’t make your goal for the day and they’ll be upset at you.
Give Yourself A Break:
Intensive writing, particularly at a higher rate than you are accustomed to, will drain your creative energy. December is dark, busy, and crazy. So, give yourself permission to take a break in December and pick up your writing afresh after a day, weekend, week, or even month off. However, set yourself a date when your break is over, and on that day start your writing habit again.
However, you don’t necessarily need to take a break from all writing, maybe you just need a break from that specific novel. In that case, try a short story in a different genre (or a 15-20k novelette). Keep your writing habit going, but step back from the story that is not working, and work on something else for a day, or a week. When you come back to the “problem section” you may be surprised at how your mind has already worked through the challenge.
Back To You:
What do you do to keep your writing habit consistent? Do you like short-term sprint challenges, or long-term marathon style ones?
Leave a comment, I enjoy hearing from you!