Co-written by me and my newest MC
Happy November, everyone! Seeing as I’m clearly qualified to write this post, I thought I’d share four and a half expert tips on how to survive NaNoWriMo as a college student.
First off, I’d like to say I’m sorry for not updating this blog in, well… months. Adjusting to college life is harder than it sounds, and learning to balance classes, homework, getting enough sleep, social life, a job, procrastinating, self-care, and blogging on top of all of that takes a lot of time. Just add in NaNoWriMo and you get what could be a recipe for disaster.
Fear not, friends! NaNoWriMo is not impossible even if you’re a college student. In fact, so far, it’s been going better than it has in years past. So, without further ado, may I present to you four and a half expert survival tips.
1. Be insane. You pretty much have to be insane to even attempt this. People will tell you that it’s not possible, that there’s no way you could complete NaNoWriMo and thrive at college at the same time. And I’m here to tell you that those people are probably right. Please, for the sake of your own sanity, stop reading and run in the opposite direction.
In all actuality, though, it may help to be slightly insane, but it really isn’t as drastic as all that. If you’re like me, if writing improves your mental health, then it might be just what you need. It also helps alleviate procrastination – instead of wasting time while procrastinating homework, I procrastinate by writing a novel, which is still productive. And when it comes time to procrastinate novel writing, I just do homework. It’s a win-win.
2. Take care of yourself. Please. Sometimes self-care trumps all projects waiting to be finished. Sometimes, going to bed at a decent hour is the best option. Remember to eat meals and lots of snacks, and don’t rely on caffeine and energy drinks to survive. Those do help, though. Not gonna lie.
Chocolate-covered espresso beans are my current favorite. If you eat enough of them, you’ll be awake for hours, plus, they’re covered in chocolate, which is the number one scientifically proven magical NaNoWriMo food.
3. Be patient. It’s likely that many people will ask you what you’re writing, and why you’re even writing at all. It’s just something that you’ll have to explain many times, so you might as well compose an eloquent speech to recite as soon as you see those questions coming.
Based on my experience, there are two types of writers. On the one hand, you’ve got the writers who are totally happy with telling you what they’re writing and what their story is about. If you’re lucky, they might even let you read some of it. And on the other hand, you’ve got the writers who keep their stories a complete secret and might kill you for even asking about it. If you fall into the second category, you have my empathy. May you be granted strength to resist all the questions. (We secretly like it, though. The fact that someone cares enough to ask what our stories are about makes our day.)
4. Listen to the story. You’ve heard the phrase “the wand chooses the wizard.” Well, it just so happens that every once in a while, the story chooses the author. And if that is the case for you, then what other option do you have but to listen to the story?
Even if you choose the story… characters have a way of taking charge. Before you know it, your main character might have gotten himself roped into a quest to kill the Archduke of Mordor, and you will have to go along with it instead of dragging him back to finish his tea and studying for finals. Little did he know that had he finished his tea, he would have found a message on the bottom from the Archduke himself revealing that he is his long-lost brother.
Oooh, plot twist!
4 ½. Do something else creative or out of the ordinary. A lot of people are saying this already, so it’s probably cliche by now, but it actually works. For example, try building a blanket fort that can be your little writing cave. Normally, people might chastise you for being childish, but this is college we’re talking about. No one will judge you for building a blanket fort. In fact, they’re probably jealous they didn’t think of it themselves.
That’s all I have for today, but I hope you benefited from these tips! And now, I’m off to work on my novel!