Right now, if you’re jumping on the whole NaNoWriMo thing, you’re probably freaking out a little bit, or at least, taking a deep breath before the plunge. Hopefully at this point, you have an outline in hand, even if it’s somewhat crude- a point A, point B, and some manner of path between the two.
Before the clock strikes and you dive headfirst into your 50,000 word monstrosity, you should set some goals. But my goal is to write a 50,000 word novel, you say. Indeed it is. But all novels were hardly created equal. What do you hope to accomplish with your novel? Is it to put 50,000 words on paper, no matter what? To write the great American novel? Improve as a writer? I’ve said it before and I will say it again- Know why you write. Having a purpose in writing- especially with a hard deadline- will help you get there.
Have goals along the way as well. I love having an outline for this- I feel more accomplished reaching the next plot point or finishing a scene than I do with a specific word count (not that that’s bad, either).
Once your goals are set, stay focused on them and look for victories. I don’t have to tell you everything will not go according to plan. You’ll get sick. Your kid will get sick (THIS HAS NEVER HAPPENED EVER). You forgot you have to go to Nebraska for that one cousins wedding. So have backup plans, and backup plans for backup plans. And when you succeed, even in small ways, reward yourself. A friend keeps a candy jar on their desk and eats a piece every 500 words. Since I write pretty late at night, my reward is usually sleep. Give yourself little things to look forward to.
Feel free to post your goals and motivation tricks in the comments! Good luck to everyone taking a stab at it tomorrow!