Welcome to the first day of the rest of your novel! Whether you’re reading this in the first week or day 30, or maybe even after NaNo is over: Congratulations! Deciding to write is heavy business. Deciding to write during NaNoWriMo is both exhilarating and exhausting, which makes self-care even more important. Right now you maybe be looking at November as a chance to let go of the things you normally feel obligated to do: shower daily, not eat junk, laundry (oh, the laundry), but I want you to look at November a little differently. I want you to see this as a chance to take care of yourself better than you ever have before. After all, you’re writing for two now (yourself and your muse)! So here are 10 ways to take care of yourself during NaNoWriMo, or really, anytime you’ve decided to focus on writing. Good luck!
10 Ways To Take Care Of Yourself During NaNoWriMo
1. Wake up early – If you’re a night owl, this one might make you want to curse, but I’m still leaving it. If you have a day job chances are you’re going to go to work, come home, do your normal night time things, and have to go to bed before you’ve found time to write – so make time. Wake up an hour early and put those fingers on the keyboard. You might not achieve your full word count goal in that hour, but hopefully you’ll get far enough that you won’t feel overwhelmed trying to finish before bed.
2. Eat healthy – I’m not talking go full-on health nut, but don’t take this month as an invitation to gorge on the bad, either. Eat a candy bar, then an orange. Something like that. Just make sure you’re eating food that will fuel you, rather than leave you sleepy and sluggish.
3. Take showers – This one might only be for me, but when I’m in the middle of a project I sometimes forget to do basic self-care: showers, brushing my teeth and hair, etc. So, since I know this is an issue for me, I’ve set alarms to remind myself during NaNo. If it’s an issue for you, I’d suggest you do the same.
4. Don’t let chores pile up – You might think avoiding chores will help you focus more on writing, but there’s a chance watching the dust build, and the floors get dirty will also be overwhelming and kill your creative vibe. So don’t let them go. Not saying you have to do a deep clean or anything, but make sure you do something every day so that you’ve got one less thing to deal with after the month is over.
5. Ask for help – Seriously, this is a big one. You aren’t an island, so don’t act like one. If you need help picking up the kids, ask. If you need someone to make your meals, ask. We all have people in our lives who would love to help us if only we reached out, so make this the month you let them.
6. Baby steps – Deciding to write 50,000 words in a month is a huge decision. And if you’re sitting down at your keyboard on day one and thinking about those 50K words, you might get squished under the weight. Instead, remember that writing happens one word at a time. Just for today, give yourself permission to start with one word. Then another. And tomorrow? Give yourself the same permission. Baby steps will help you finish even if it doesn’t feel like you’re moving very fast.
7. Plan ahead – Not just with your story, but with your every day life. Pick out your work clothes the night before. Put your groceries in a cart app. make sure someone has dinner planned in the morning. The less that piles up in your life, the less you’ll feel overwhelmed about taking time out of life to write your great book.
8. Drink plenty of water – If you’re planning on burning the midnight oil with the rest of us, you might decide to up your caffeine intake. That’s fine, but make sure you up your water intake, too. Don’t let the sluggishness that comes from dehydration slow you down. Caffeinate AND hydrate.
9. Socialize – Writing is usually a pretty solo endeavor and it’s easy to slip into a quiet writer life without thinking about it. NaNo is a time where you can take advantage of write-ins and meet fellow writers. That socialization might be the rocket fuel your novel needs, and the friends you make now will be friends you keep for life.
10. Give yourself a break – Yes, you’re writing the novel you’ve always wanted to write, and yes that’s a big task, but don’t let this big task bring you down. If you fall behind, or if life gets overwhelming, or you’re just not sure how to keep up with everything, don’t give up. Instead, give yourself a break. Take an hour to breath through what you’re feeling and recognize that you are allowed to keep going – no matter what, just keep writing.
Whether you’re a NaNoWriMo veteran, or a big-eyed newbie, NaNo is an incredible time where you can do incredible things. Not everyone can write 50,000 words in a month, but YOU can – especially if you take care of yourself along the way. Good luck!