Balancing NaNoWriMo & blogging

NaNoWriMo is just around the corner. That’s right fellow writers, the month of writing is approaching swiftly. Grab those novel ideas, brush off your notebooks, go cry in a corner. Do whatever it is you do to get ready for NaNoWriMo. Going into my eighth year of NaNoWriMo, I feel like I have a pretty good idea of what to expect and what needs to get done ahead of time to be successful. However, as a blogger, I now have to find a way to balance my blogging responsibilities and writing a novel. Sounds hard, doesn’t it? Balancing NaNoWriMo & blogging can be a bit of a challenge. Yet, it is not impossible. It merely takes a bit of preparation and a lot of commitment.

For those who are new to NaNoWriMo, it is a month-long challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days which happens every November. That means, writing 1667 words each day in order to hit 50,000 words by November 30th. For more information, be sure to visit the NaNoWriMo official site.

Balancing NaNoWriMo & blogging

Make writing your priority

This one seems blatantly obvious. Yet, it can be hard to put your attention fully on your writing, especially when you are also blogging.

However, it’s important to shift your focus from working on your blog to writing your novel. Here’s the thing to remember: NaNoWriMo is only 30 days long but your blog is there all of the time. It’s okay to spend more time on your writing than your blog. In fact, I encourage it. For this month, put your energy into creating words for your story. Yes, you can absolutely still write blog posts at this time. Just don’t lose yourself in blogging and forget all about your novel.

Telling yourself to sit down and write may sound effective. However, it doesn’t always work. You need to truly train yourself to sit down and write. After all, for the next thirty days, you aren’t just anyone, you are a WRITER! Be the writer you want to be. Sit down and pour out all those words you have been holding inside. The best way to do this is the schedule writing daily writing time – more on this later.

Plan ahead

This is multifaceted, as you must plan ahead for your blog, your NaNoWriMo writing, and life.

Writing

For the most part, planning out your novel is something you should do before tackling NaNoWriMo. Now, there is a category of writers known as ‘pantsers’ who write by the seat of their pants. They do not require a full-blown outline and character sheets to be able to write. If you fall into this category, then I applaud you. I have tried pantsing before, and I’m not going to lie, it was extremely stressful on my plotter heart.

The other category of a writer is the ‘plotter’. Those who need to plan out what will happen in their novels and know as many details as possible before committing to writing a single word. I am a plotter. This means creating the main outline, timeline, character sheets, maps and a variety of other reference material that I keep close at hand. This is where planning ahead is key. Most, if not all of this work needs to be done before NaNoWriMo starts. After all, if you are spending your writing time plotting instead of writing then you aren’t going to hit your word count

Even if you are only just now considering joining in on NaNoWriMo, spend the rest of October planning out that novel. That little bit of effort now will make a world of difference in November.

Blogging

As a blogger, you already know the importance of planning ahead. You likely have a list of blog posts you want to explore in the coming weeks or months. Perhaps you even have some post drafts sitting waiting to be finished. The weeks before NaNoWriMo starts is the perfect time to polish those blog posts and get them scheduled.

Perhaps you don’t have enough posts to get you through the month while you focus on writing your novel. That’s okay. Even if you have the first week or two of posts figured out, that puts you ahead. The point is, know what you want to do on your blog during the month. The more prep work you do now will make your blogging and writing life so much easier.

Life

Yes, even your life needs to be planned ahead during NaNoWriMo. This will ensure that you keep up with your responsibilities at home, stay in contact with your family and that you eat proper meals. I highly suggest creating a meal plan for the month. It’s easy to make and can reduce the burden of figuring out what to eat. You don’t want to waste your thinking on what meal you want to make that day when you should be deciding between two paths that your character could be taking. NaNoWriMo is a great time to use the slow cooker for meals. Doing this allows you to spend only a few minutes preparing food and then focusing on your writing.

Even though we have made writing a priority for the month, it’s important to spend time with family. Plan for these times, and even schedule them in, to ensure you are giving them your attention throughout the month. You could plan something like a movie or game night, that gives you a break from writing and allows for quality family time.

Schedule, schedule, schedule!

You must schedule many things in advance. Bloggers already schedule so much of their daily and weekly posts that this will be second nature. Yet it goes so much more beyond this.

Blogging schedule

As a blogger, you likely already have a schedule you use. So, I won’t beat you with details on this. Stick with what you have been doing. Just make sure those posts get scheduled so you don’t have to worry about them.

Writing schedule

Most importantly, you need to schedule your writing time. Remember, we are making this a priority for the month of November. What time you set aside in your schedule for writing is up to you. It can be in the morning, mid-day, evening or spread throughout the course of the day. What matters is you not only schedule that time but stick to it.

Now, there may be times when your scheduled writing time turns into something else. Be it taking a walk outside, playing a board game with family or even relaxing in front of the TV – just try not to do the latter too often. However, that doesn’t mean this is wasted time. Keep a notebook and pen with you at all times. That way, even if you are out for a walk, you can quickly jot down an idea that comes to you. Then, once back at your computer you can get back to writing and expand that idea. This may seem counter-intuitive to the entire idea of scheduling your writing time, but I can assure you that sometimes those breaks in routine are just what your writing brain needs.

Social media schedule

Schedule as many tweets, Facebook posts, and Pinterest pins. Basically, if it can be scheduled in advance then do it. The less time you need to spend on social media the better. We all know how distracting it is to glance at Twitter or Facebook. Don’t lose yourself in the social media rabbit holes.

Set aside a certain amount of time each day to check all of your accounts. This is when you can reply to comments, like what fellow bloggers are posting and ensure your account doesn’t go dormant as you focus on writing.

Meals and life schedule

One thing you can’t ignore is the need to eat, drink and complete tasks in your daily life. This is where planning ahead and scheduling comes in handy. Decide and schedule not only what you are going to eat but who will cook. Ideally, it would be great to split the cooking between all the family members. Better yet, if you can manage it, get your family to cook every meal for the month to allow you to focus more time and energy into writing.

Be sure to schedule some downtime. Yes, we are focusing on writing, but we don’t want to burn ourselves out either. Schedule that movie or game night. Schedule a day to go walk through the park. Something to get your away from the computer and putting your mind on another task for a short while. I personally make sure to set aside time for regular walks. After all, between blogging and NaNoWriMo, you will be spending a LOT of hours sitting.

Cut back on social media

I can almost hear the collective gasp. “Cut back on social media? I can’t do that!” You can, and you will. This is why scheduling is so important. With many of your tweets, facebook posts and Pinterest needs already scheduled, you can easily take a step back from social media. That doesn’t mean that you have to completely ignore your social media accounts for 30 days. After all, that would probably affect your blog negatively. Hence why we already made sure to schedule social media time. Even taking that into consideration, you need to put a conscious effort into spending only your scheduled time on social media.

That’s how balancing NaNoWriMo & blogging is done! It’s a lot to take in, especially with such a short time before NaNoWriMo started. Just remember, you can do it. Don’t forget to get your NaNoWriMo survival kit ready. It really can make the difference some days between getting your writing done or not.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year?

26 Comments

    1. Avatar
      Author

      I hope you find them useful.

  1. Avatar

    Good tips! Although I have never participated in NaNoWriMo, I have many friends who do. Actually, today I met a new person who is writing a book and I told her about it. She had never heard of it, but was very excited about joining it this year.

    So my role for now is being a NaNoWriMo ambassador 😀

    Good luck with your writing!

    Carpe Diem | https://OurCarpeDiem.com

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Thanks. That’s great that you were able to share about NaNoWriMo with someone who had never heard of it before. NaNoWriMo ambassador sounds like a perfect title. Thanks, I’m really excited to start writing.

  2. Avatar

    These are wonderful tips! I always want to try nanowrimo but never plan well enough. Good luck! Look forward to reading how it goes for you!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Thanks. I was that way when I first started doing NaNoWriMo and it was a bit chaotic. I hope you do give it a try, it’s tons of fun. Thank you, I will be sharing my progress throughout the month.

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Thanks. Planning is such a major part of writing. Thankfully, I enjoy that part of it.

  3. Avatar

    Great tips about scheduling! I see people taking part in the event every year and I honestly don’t know how they manage it. Good luck! x

    Sophie

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Thanks. I will admit it can be hard some years, it all depends on what else you have going on, but planning and scheduling makes it a lot easier.

  4. Avatar

    These are great tips! I have such a horrible time with scheduling my time wisely. I plan things out and it looks great on paper, but then it never works out in real life.

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Thanks. I used to have such a hard time scheduling things as well. I still suck at it sometimes, but I have gotten better. I completely understand that feeling, writing it all down is one thing, actually getting it done is a whole other thing.

  5. Avatar

    I have to admit, I have never heard of NaNoWirMo but it sounds really fun but full on. Well done you for sticking to it for eight years! That’s a great accomplishment. I think this will be such a helpful post for those taking part in it, you’ve been really thorough here. Thanks for sharing NaNkWirMo with us all, I’ve learned something new and it sounds brilliant.

    Jordanne || Thelifeofaglasgowgirl.co.uk

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Despite the challenge, I do find it really fun. Thanks, I look forward to it every year. I do hope those considering trying NaNoWriMo for the first time will use these tips to make it easier to tackle it all.

  6. Avatar

    This is so interesting! We have never heard of this before.
    Yes, I think planning ahead for everything…meals, social media posts, blog posts, photography, really everything…would need to be a priority before going into the month of November! Great tips!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      I’m glad I could introduce you to NaNoWriMo. Planning is a must for it. I’m knee-deep in planning right now.

  7. Avatar

    Planning ahead is definitely the way to go for me! Nano was always so much fun to take part in andIll definitely be cheering you on! Also – I love your mug in the photos!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Absolutely. Without planning ahead, it’s a lot harder. Thanks, I appreciate you cheering me on. That mug is one of my favorite. I also have a C-3P0 mug.

  8. Avatar

    Some really interesting tips here! This isn’t my first NaNoWriMo, but it is the first one I’m doing since starting my blog and I’ve been wondering how to fit it all in! Hopefully this will help!

    1. Avatar
      Author

      Thanks. Good luck hitting your word count goal! I’ll be rooting for you. I hope with these tips you can balance it all.

  9. Avatar

    I just saw post one after I replied to the one published today. This article is even more perfect for me!

    I definitely think cutting back on social media is huge–again for life in general too. You can network there and get your brand out there as a blogger. However, it’s also a time sucker with very little ROI for many. I’ve been cutting back in general and noticing a huge increase in my productivity.

    1. Avatar
      Author

      I agree. Social media is great for putting yourself out there but it is such a time sink too. I’ve been slowing cutting back on it these last few weeks in preparation for NaNoWriMo. It’s been quite refreshing.

  10. Avatar

    Today is the first day I have ever heard of this and I think it is a brilliant idea.

    I hope to join in next November as I am no where near ready enough to take on the challenge.

    But this is a great post and I think the tips are helpful for all areas of blogging/writing.

    Good luck x x

    1. Avatar
      Author

      I’m happy to hear that you are considering joining next year. It’s always nice to spread the word about NaNoWriMo to those who didn’t know about it. Glad this post was helpful to you.

  11. Avatar

    Great tips! This is my first year participating in NaNoWriMo- I already warned my household that I am doing this and my writing in November is my reward for all the craziness of the last several months. I am hoping to balance both blog and NaNo – I just started posting on it again. Hopefully it all works out. Good luck to you! 🙂

    1. Avatar
      Author

      I’m glad to hear you are participating. The first year can feel a bit intimidating but I am sure you will do great! Good luck to you as well!

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