Saturday, November 5, 2016

NaNo Tips: Give Your Story a Chance (Hannah)

Welcome to NaNo Tips!  This is the second half of my NaNoWriMo series.  The first post introduced NaNoWriMo and shared why I love it so much and believe it can revolutionize your writing.  The next three posts shared some of the best resources I have found for improving your characters, setting, and plot.  So far, the posts have been very long and meaty.  Throughout the rest of November, I am going to conserve as much time as possible for working on my novel, so the NaNo Tips posts will be rather short.  Don't worry, I will be back to normal after NaNoWriMo is over.

I have a confession to make: It is the fifth day of NaNoWriMo and I haven't written a single word.  Why?  Life.  That insidious, malicious thing that keeps us from accomplishing our dreams.  "I'll write later," I say, "once schoolwork is done."  "I'll write when the chores are finished."  "I'll write when I'm not quite so busy with church and social events."  "I'll write when I'm not so tired."  The excuses go on and on, but at the end of the day, nothing gets written.  I'm sure you have been there.  I have big dreams, but everyday life gets in the way.

NaNoWriMo was designed to combat this very problem.  It's a challenge that makes you actually sit down and write, whether you want to or not.  You have to push through the distractions, other commitments, and the "I-don't-wannas," as my family calls them.  Find time to write and do it. (If you want some practical tips to help motivate you to keep writing, read K.M. Weiland's "7 Ways to Keep Writing During NaNo When You Only Want To Watch Football.")

"That's great," you say, but you're the one who has been talking so highly of NaNoWriMo!  Why haven't you even started yet?  If it were so great, you would have started already!"

That is a valid point.  But NaNoWriMo is like exercising.  It is hard, and often I don't want to do it.  It is so much easier to make excuses and put it off until tomorrow.  But if I constantly avoided the pain of exercising, I would never even know how wonderful it felt immediately afterward, with adrenaline pumping through your body and energy surging through you.  And I would never get to watch myself grow stronger and more capable as time went on and I stuck to my commitment.

It is the same with NaNoWriMo.  It certainly isn't easy to start or be consistent, and at first, there doesn't seem to be much reward.  It's only later, when you get caught up in the story and the words pour from your imagination like music from an instrument, that you experience the pure bliss of writing.  Once you hit this point, NaNoWriMo suddenly seems so easy, so fun, and so worthwhile.

Give your story a chance to suck you in.  Fight through the difficulty at the beginning so that your story has time to sweep you off your feet.  You won't regret it.

Have you ever struggled with summoning up the motivation to do something, even though you knew it would be worth it in the end?  What do you do when you find yourself facing a task you don't want to do?

Thanks for reading!
~ Hannah

P.S. I know I am breaking the "Top 3 on Saturday" pattern, but this post needed to be written.  Don't worry, Laurie will be back next week with another Top 3.


Thanks so much for reading!  This month, I am busy preparing for NaNoWriMo, so I took advantage of the excuse to share some of my favorite writing tips and resources.  I hope you are enjoying it. See the bottom of the page if you would like some more worldbuilding resources. If you would like to read other related posts, see below:

NaNoWriMo: Write with Abandon!

NaNo Prep: Character Resources
NaNo Prep: Setting Resources
NaNo Prep: Plot Resources

NaNo Tips: Give Your Story a Chance
NaNo Tips: What Helps You Focus?
NaNo Tips: My NaNo Journey


  1. I feel for you, Hannah. I am a terribly unmotivated person, even when it comes to things I am passionate about. Like you said, it's not that I don't enjoy doing them, but getting started is really hard. Yet somehow, I've managed to stay on top of my wordcount so far this year. My best guess is that, having worked on my first novel for a year, I was ready to start something new, and the excitement is driving me. I'm also feeling surprisingly competitive- doing my utmost to be at least a little above par at the end of each day.I'm hoping to make 60k this year... we'll see how that goes.

    You can still win. I have faith in you! I distinctly recall that sometime in the middle of November last year, you were commenting on your lack of progress and saying, "I probably won't win this year, but oh well." Hmmmm- remind me what happened last year again? :)

    Good luck! And thanks for the NaNo encouragement post!


  2. Thank you, Hannah, for your honesty about getting started with you NaNo. It is a mystery as to why all else seems to come before writing, but then once started it becomes the most exciting, fulfilling endeavor! Good luck with your NaNo this month...each time you succeed the reward becomes sweeter!! I know you will do it!!


Please note that your comment hasn't gone through unless you see the notice: "Your comment will be visible after approval." We apologize for any difficulties posting comments or delays in moderation.