November 13, 2017 No Comments » For Authors, Writing Advice Shakyra Dunn

National Novel Writing Month is probably one of the most glorious, peaceful, and overall stressful times of a writer’s life. And not even just the new kids on the block trying out the concept for the first time—even those who have been at it for years find it to be a hassle churning out 50,000 words on a project that’s been either collecting dust or is being polished like a new bike.

I’m into my second year now, and after my experience with the first year, it’s clear to say one thing: you need to have the right focus if you want to win NaNoWriMo.

So, how do you properly free your mind to reach the golden number? How do you avoid the distractions of other people and regain some moments of silence?

To be honest… there IS no right answer on properly freeing your mind, as everyone works differently, handles their focus in a different way.

But we are all capable of achieving the ultimate focus needed to score a NaNo victory, and I’m here to give you a variety of ways on how to do that!

#Option 1: Listen to your tunes!

Are you a fan of music? What’s your favorite track to blast when you’re having a bad day? Do you get imagery from instrumentals or a certain genre?

Well, you’re in luck—maybe listening to music is your go-to method on properly freeing your mind!

This one is my own personal focus method, as I tie a lot of my imagery into the balance of instrumentals. I’m so bad at dealing with mundane tasks without music that I can’t even do stocking at work without my trusty headphones. Otherwise, you’re bound to see me thinking way too much about what’s next in store for my works in progress.

Most recently, blasting the Final Fantasy XV soundtrack is what I used to clean up my scenes and help fill the essence that is blood, sweat and tears for the sadistic writer. But there’s so much variety out there that you’re bound to find something that can keep you in line.

Why don’t you try giving the soundtrack a listen and see what you can gain from it?

#Option 2: Balance your time!

Some people don’t have the fortune of being able to sit down and properly write their minimum 1667 words per day due to other obligations (family, work, etc.), and that’s perfectly all right. I personally deal with constant streams of distraction from one person, and although it’s easy for some to ignore it, I’m not fortunate enough to have been given that skill.

My biggest advice is to write as much as you can, even if it’s not your minimum word count for the day, even if you feel like it’s incomplete, even if you’re wanting to go back and erase the words that you wrote and start again. If there’s something that needs to be done that’s more pressing, come back to your NaNo work at a later time. There’s no need to feel guilty.

Get. Something. Down. That’s all that matters. It’s hard to do sometimes, but the idea of writing can be just as motivating as actually writing.

There are some pretty fantastic articles out there, such as JK Allen’s “How to Deal with Writer Burnout”  or Life Hackers “The Importance of Scheduling Down time”, that help you avoid the idea of author burn-out, an issue that arises from taking on a thousand tasks at once and not having any downtime. That is what the month of October has so lovingly blessed me with, and having a schedule definitely helps you out significantly. I’ll even show off how mine has been.

Be sure to schedule that down time, along with your writer time. It will help with clearing the writer’s block. 

#Option 3: Ask for Help!

If you find yourself struggling on a plot or idea, know that it never hurts to ask the right people for help to discuss your thoughts. Sometimes it’s hard to find the right motivation, or even the right crowd to turn to, but know that there will always be at least one person that’s willing to help you.

Never be afraid to ask others to guide you, and soon you’ll be on your way to a successful start to your NaNoWriMo victory. And definitely feel free to tune in to “Our Write Side” for any inquiries you may have!

This month, we’ll be having a variety of articles taking place for the famed writer’s event, and there’s so much content that you’ll barely be able to keep up! There’s a lot that I don’t know myself about certain aspects of NaNoWriMo, and I’m probably looking most forward to “5 strategies to Banish Your Writer’s Block” (coming soon)  and “Don’t get Mired Down in the Details, has been very helpful as my biggest fault in my writing lies in losing focus due to many ideas coming to mind and having to rework everything.

Stay tuned for what’s to come!

Shakyra Dunn, fantasy author, can’t stray away from the impression that there is always an adventure around every corner! When she isn’t playing the role of the Creator, she is marching through the worlds of her favorite video game characters or taking drives around her city to see the sights. Born in Chicago, Illinois, she currently resides in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, striving to experience more than the little town. 


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