Monday, December 3, 2012

The NaNo Mindset or, How to Get Things Done

Hello!! I know, I know, it's been a while. Over a month, actually... whoops. But I figure it's OK that I've been MIA here on my blog, because most people go missing in action during November anyway because of that NaNoWriMo beast.

I didn't do NaNo, although a couple of days before November I was determined to, because I watched this video:

...and I realized that all those excuses Kristina Horner shoots down in that video? Well, those were my excuses.

However, it was a day before November 1 and I barely had an inkling of an idea. As well, I'd decided to make a goal of running 60 miles in November. With the schedule I have, plus running every day, I knew I wouldn't be able to crank out 50,000 words. So I just scaled it back to 30,000 words.

And guess what? I did it! I actually ran 60 miles, and wrote 30,000 words in November. After November ended, I couldn't help but ask myself, how did that happen? How did I manage to write 30,000 words while being as busy I was, especially when I have gotten way less writing done in other months that are way less busy? How does that even work?

What was different?

Then I realized that I had put myself in this mindset. Here are the steps for my personal NaNo mindset:
The NaNo Mindset:
Step 1: First of all, I was absolutely, completely determined to make both of my goals. I wasn't wishy-washy about it, like I sometimes am with goals. It wasn't "well, I'll try to write 30,000 words, but if I don't, that's okay too." Nope. It was "I am GOING to run 60 miles, and I am GOING to write 30,000 words."

Step 2: I prioritized. I wrote when I would've done other things, but since reaching my goal was important to me, I made the time to write.

Step 3: I took advantage of every possible time to write. I like Kristina Horner's suggestions in her pep talk video when she shoots down the "I don't have time" excuse. What about those times when you sleep in? Or go watch youtube videos? Or read your book? I actually had lots of time, but I just usually didn't use it for writing. If I had time, using that time to write was the first that came into my head.

So, I definitely think this mindset could work for anything, not just writing or NaNo. You just have to shape your thoughts into a certain mindset so you'll get things done. Convince yourself that not writing (or whatever else) isn't an option.

How was your NaNo, if you participated? How do you motivate yourself to write or get things done?


  1. You are so right about the mindset. days before i started the nano, i told myself that i would just gave it a try and see where it would lead me. My exact thought at that time was: i will be gone for a week during the nano + i have a full time job, a wife to spend time with, 2 dogs to take care of so i cannot possibly be able finish it. But then the Nano started and i began to think: Oh my i think i can do this. Not long after i was like: God damn it i will see this through. everything i was doing or think was for the nano and my project.
    Even now, i can't help thinking about it and i love it.
    i guess it is what being a writer feels like.

  2. Nhim - wow, that's awesome! It's amazing what we can get accomplished when we just put our minds to it, isn't it?

  3. It's the mindset, you're totally right!

    For me personally, though, I knew I had a verrrry slim chance of finishing this. So I set more reasonable goals: learn something from it. Specifically, I wanted to learn how to speed-write cleanly, how to shut down the inner editor, and how to get better at writing both controversial stuff and first person present tense. I made all of those goals with resounding success, even though I didn't "win" NaNoWriMo. I'm glad I did it. :)


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