Maintaining Sanity During NaNoWriMo (and writing for deadlines)

NaNoWriMo is intense. This is my first year trying it, and it’s one hell of an undertaking.

But here are a few ways to maintain your sanity.

(And these tips work outside of NaNo, too.)

Move around.

Go for a walk to get a change of scenery. That might be all you need to get past a bit of writer’s block.

It also helps reduce the risk of blood clots.

So, at the very least, you should get up and move around once every half hour or hour.

These breaks also give your eyes a chance to rest since staring at a screen for a long time can cause headaches (which never help anything).

Have a snack and drink at the ready.

You know you’re going to get all settled in, start typing, and then need something to drink. Then, you have to move the cat off your lap, unplug the laptop, set it aside, and haul yourself out from under five blankets.

Okay, so the details of that scenario are just personal experience, but you get the gist of it.

It’s always frustrating to have to get back up once you get into the groove, so just make sure you have a drink and a snack on hand.

Water is probably the best choice for that drink, btw. Most people I know walk around partially dehydrated all the time, and much like staring at a screen for a long time, this also causes headaches.

Try a different font.

It sounds silly, but sometimes typing in a different font can actually help. It just breaks things up, keeps it fresh.

I alternate between Comic Sans, Calibri, and Times New Roman so my brain doesn’t get used to any particular one.

Minimize distractions.

Some distractions can’t be avoided (small children don’t always listen and just might interrupt you despite all your attempts at privacy), but most can.

Either turn the tv off or switch it to something you won’t get caught up in. Sit in a room by yourself if you need to.

If you can’t leave your phone alone, turn it off or leave it in another room.

And no social media. That’s for break times, not writing sessions.

Let go.

Writing is supposed to be fun! So let yourself enjoy it.

Yes, NaNoWriMo is a marathon.

But don’t let it ruin writing for you. Give yourself permission to miss a word count goal for the sake of enjoying your writing process.

Letting yourself relax into your writing sessions might actually end up being the thing that helps you reach your goals anyway.


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