Attempting NaNoWriMo is a hard enough task as it is, but what happens when life gets in the way? Furthermore, what if you’re attempting it in the midst of a full-time career? It sounds hard, managing the two, but we think you can do it with ease if you bear these considerations in mind. 

After all, it is a dream of yours, right? 

The key to remember is that you’re not aiming for a masterpiece in the first draft. Your goal, in the month of November, is simply to go all out, lay down your thoughts, flesh out the ideas you have now. Few of us have the talent of getting it right in the first go, but hard work is deeply underestimated. 

Your task in November is to just get things done. Pour your heart out. Editing comes later. Writing 50k words is laborious as it is. Don’t let the romantic in you overtake that goal. 


#1: Plot your story beforehand. 

There are plotters and pantsers: people who meticulously lay out their story, and people who just ‘wing it’. If the latter comes to you naturally, then well and good. If not, then October is the time to plan. October, in this context dubbed as ‘Preptober’, is true to its name, in that this is when writers outline their story, decide which aspects are important, and generally set the stage for the Herculean task that is NaNoWriMo. 

This is when you map out your story: plot outline, character motivation, setting, key scenes, etc. Once you do this, you can focus on elaborating these, come November, and connecting all the dots together in the story.

While storyboarding is a general practice among writers anyway, this is even more crucial for you because you may not have the luxury of time. 


#2 Remember that NaNo is about momentum. 

The key to a successful NaNoWriMo run is maintaining consistency. It’s not enough that you have your story in place, but it’s also important that you actually get the writing done! Writing is a hard task, people often forget that. It’s not just flowery notions of inspiration, where if the idea is right, words just flow. 

One way to do this is, of course, to set aside time, but no matter when you write, try to maintain a target and write every day. To reach the 50k word count, you’d have to write an average of 1667 words a day. That’s a good enough limit. But if you don’t have time within the week, at least set up a weekly goal. 


#3 Understand your own writing patterns

For an amateur novelist, this might be one of the most crucial aspects of doing NaNoWriMo. 

We stress on this because, ultimately, you’re doing this for yourself, and it should be the enriching experience that you want it to be. Although NaNoWriMo’s official guidelines dictate 50k words a month as the parameter of success, you can set your own limit. 

But more importantly, do NaNoWriMo on your own terms. Understand what works best for you, not only in terms of plausibility but also in terms of how much you can actually write through the month. 

The very fact you’re doing this amidst all that’s happening in your life is good enough, so kudos to you! 


#4 Set aside time

That said, don’t underestimate the power of organization. 

‘I don’t have time,’ can no longer be an excuse. There was a definite reason you committed to doing NaNoWriMo this year, wasn’t there? Remind yourself of it. Put a sticky note on your desk. Remember all the effort you put into this project. 

If you can, plan your day in such a way that you leave at least two hours to write (we say two, but again, it’s up to you). It doesn’t necessarily have to be uniform time, but plot it out nonetheless. Perhaps you can write in the mornings on weekends, and in the evenings on weekdays. But whatever you do end up planning, stick to it! 


#5 Tell your friends and family

If public accountability isn’t too anxiety-inducing, go for it! Tell your friends and family, maybe set up a Twitter account to track your daily goals. Not only does this build accountability and motivation, but it also builds a support system! It builds camaraderie through all the support and encouragement you will get through the month. 

If you want to do this privately, that’s works too! Maybe tell your flatmate or partner, and a handful of writers you’re comfortable with. The point is not the number of people. The point is to pick confidantes who know how to keeps to keep your spirits going, while also giving you the reality checks you may need from time to time. 


So that’s our tips for acing NaNoWriMo I’m the midst of the full-time career! Hope this helps you achieve your goals for November 2020, and don’t forget to follow us for more articles about writing.