National Novel Writing Month is the magical month when we do impossible things. You can take the energy and the tools of NaNo to build a writing practice that will help you reach your goals.
Write everyday. 100 a day=36,500, 500 a day=182,500, 1000 a day=365,000. It doesn’t have to be a single project. Just sit down everyday with the intention to write and keep track of your words somewhere. Build those muscles.
Read good books. Both within your genre and without. Read books on craft. As Jane Kenyon says, “Keep good sentences in your head.”
Write with friends. If you loved Write-Ins, create your own weekly Write In. I’ve been writing with friends on Sunday mornings since 2010 (We started in NaNo). There is a power in going it alone, together.
Race yourself. Are you a word sprint addict? Do you like the spirit of competition a word spring gives you. Create the adrenaline rush by setting a timer on your phone. Set a goal that’s hard to reach. Feed the muse chocolate if you reach the goal.
Create community. There are a number of wonderful online writing communities. On Facebook, on Instagram, on Yahoo groups. Find a group whose spirit meets your aims and check in with them regularly. 10 Minute Novelists and NaNoWriMo on Facebook are current favorites. If you write for Children, SCBWI Blue Boards are great. Don’t let community building eat up all your writing time, but build your community a little bit each day.
Visually track goals. My favorite part of NaNo is the wonderful bar graph that shows how many words I’ve done and how well I’ve stuck to goals. I haven’t found an app that does it as well as NaNo, but MyWriteClub is a website (in Beta testing) that allows you to track goals for several projects (it also has a Word Sprint feature). You can write your daily count on a calendar. Make your own bar graph, pile up the pages you’ve finished on your desk. However you do it, visually tracking your writing goals is a powerful motivator.
Believe in yourself. How did you finish NaNo? You believed you could even if you wrote 20,000 words, you wrote just a little over 500 words a day. That’s impressive. If you didn’t complete what you set out to complete, you still built some new habits. You can make those habits last through the year. Give your writing a chance, build your writer’s muscle. Let your writing be a gift you give yourself all year long.