Getting ahead in NaNoWriMo (Blog Ahead!) + My Challenge to YOU

Although NaNoWriMo technically stands for National Novel Writing Month, it’s really a month to inspire writers of any kind to get ahead. In the past, November was just the worst possible month for me to embark on a challenge like this. Between managing the Santa photo set 40 hours a week at the mall, owning and being sole writer for Pretty Opinionated, and being editor-in-chief and writer for OurFamilyWorld, MyKidsGuide and now DogVills…well, I could barely keep up, let alone get ahead. Last year, I worked on average of 84 hours a week (close to 12 hours a day, 7 days a week) just to barely stay caught up.

This year, after 12 years, I bid farewell to my managing position at the Santa set. I’ll help out the new manager (hand-picked by me, hired by me when she was still in high school a decade ago), but I have no responsibilities. I don’t have to rush in when someone calls in sick. I don’t have to spend 42+ hours a week in the mall. No stress when Santa gets sick or helpers don’t show. It’s a huge relief. I love the company, I adore my staff, but I’m just at the point in my life where I can actually MAKE IT working from home. Not just scrape by, but really MAKE IT. Pretty Opinionated is doing well. I did it. I succeeded.

The thing is, I’m a little behind right now. Partly due to circumstances throughout the year out of my control, partly because I really need to hire a VA and bring on another reviewer. It’s time. I need to figure out how to relinquish some control. Anyway,  I am using NaNoWriMo to Blog Ahead. I joined a challege, hosted by Herding Cats & Burning Soup, along with about 70 other bloggers. Our goal? To have 30+ scheduled posts for December (and beyond, I imagine) by the end November. The + depends on what you already have. So if you are one of those magical creatures that has posts already scheduled for December, add 30 more.

This is very ambitious, don’t you think? I’m aiming for 15. While 30 would be spectacular, I don’t want to give myself a goal, then cry because I didn’t reach it. So 30 is the big goal, but 15 is my reasonable expectation.

5 Ways to get involved in NaNoWriMo, even if you’re not a blogger or writer

Now, here’s my challenge to you, and you don’t have to be a blogger or novel writer to do it. For NaNoWriMo, I  challenge you to write every day. Five ways to do that when you’re not a writer or blogger include:

  • Writing in a dream journal: writing down your dreams helps you analyze what’s going on in that pretty little head of yours. It’s also kind of fun to see what wild adventures your mind takes at night!
  • Keeping a memory book for your child: Take a few moments every night and jot down your favorite memories of times spent with your child (or children). Write about the fun you had together, the things you remember most about the day. Give the book to them for Christmas, or keep it and add to it as they get older.
  • Write a letter to your favorite relatives. Pick a relative or friend each day and write a letter (emails count) reconnecting and and telling that person what makes them so special to you. If you go the handwritten route, these also make great additions to your holiday cards.
  • Write about a single moment. Back around Mother’s Day, I reviewed this awesome journal called One Line a Day. Each day, you just write down one thing. One feeling, one memory, whatever. It’s so easy, even the busiest mom can do it.
  • Start writing your life story. You don’t have to be famous to have a life story worth reading. Trust me, your kids and grandkids want to know everything about you, especially when you’re gone. I wish I had taken more time to write down all my grandparents’ stories. Everyone leads an interesting life to someone. Even if you don’t feel like you’re the best writer, do it anyway. Got older kids (or grandkids)? Enlist their help to transcribe. You get bonding and writing time in one.

Anyone can participate in NaNoWriMo. I view it as a month to flex those creative writing muscles, even if you don’t view yourself as a creative writer. So get out there and write!

What are your goals for NaNoWriMo? Are you a blogger, writer or just someone who wants to put pen to paper a little more often?