The Elusive NaNoWriMo/School Balance

If you’ve ever thought about writing a novel, then you’ve probably heard of NaNoWriMo – a nonprofit based around the idea of helping you write a 50,000 word novel in one month.

stocksnap_sx1qj8o1p5Now, if you’ve tried Nano, you know it’s scary and requires a lot of hard work. Maybe you’ve failed it before. Maybe you’ve won before. Maybe you’ve done both.

Either way, now that you’re in university and November is a month of midterms, projects, and the end of term rapidly approaching, Nano probably seems impossible. As someone who did my first Nano in my first year of university, I can tell you that’s not the case. It is entirely possible to write a novel in a month while balancing school work. Here’s how.

1. Make Nano Part of Your Daily Routine – There are things that you do every day no matter what. Even when school is kicking your butt, these are the things that you will never give up. Make Nano one of those things.

2. Understand That 1,666 Words a Day Isn’t That Much – Any writing student who’s written a short story the night before their deadline can tell you the Nano daily goal is child’s play. It seems intimidating, but when you’re on a roll, it can take less than an hour to complete your daily goal.stocksnap_j8hp1pxsej

3. Use Nano to Start Your Homework – Starting your homework can be hard. Some days you don’t want to do it at all.But if you put Nano at the start of your homework pile, it can be a lot easier to get working. Starting with something fun, that you’re passionate about, will get you into a working mood and make it easier to start on the things you don’t want to do.

4. Budget Your Time – Your novel is due at the end of the month. Your project? It’s due in a week. So if it comes down to it, homework over novel every time. Plus, it’s probably easier to work on your novel at midnight than it is to finish your project then.

5. Don’t Give Up – When you get a day or two behind on your novel, don’t sweat it. People tend to freak out and think they’ll never make it. Take a breath. Look at the graph. See how many words a day you need to do to finish on time. Is it 2,000? You’re still in the game. Is it 5,000? Push yourself. Is it 10,000? Get your head in the game.

6. Remember That Nano is a Voluntary Commitment – If you need to quit Nano, if you really can’t write a novel on top of everything else, that’s okay. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. But also try to remember this: Nano is also a challenge. It’s supposed to be hard, so try not to scoff at the difficulty. The only way to get better is to try.

If you just don’t think you can do Nano this November, remember there’s also Camp Nano in April and July.

It is completely possible to write a novel on top of your November workload. If you’ve committed, try your best to stick with it. At the end of the month, you’ll have a brand new, shiny novel at your disposal. If you haven’t committed, it’s not to late to get started.

Happy writing!

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