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YWP Participant Pep Talk from Noa S.

Feeling stuck writing your novel? Running out of chapter ideas? Does it ever feel like that little goal tracker chart is looking less like a helpful way to hit your word count, and more like a taunting deadline, as we get ever so close to December?

If anything of these things have crossed your mind recently (I'm right about the goal tracker, aren't I?), then it might be time for a much needed reset! Check out the tips below for advice on what's helped me through my first time doing NaNoWriMo last year (and what I plan to do again this year).

1. Remember, you're not alone.

If it feels like sometimes your keyboard is your only company during this time, know that you're not alone! Find yourself a writing buddy to keep you on track, or check out some of the amazing NaNoWriMo resources available on the YWP site.

I know from personal experience that having someone else who's also tackling the challenge to talk, rant, or cry with — especially on long nights where your word count just isn't going up — can be just the kind of writing therapy you need to push yourself over the finish line.

2. Be prepared to write the worst chapter(s) of your life.

There were days when, while going back and editing my story from last year, I was legitimately concerned about what I was seeing in front of me. "Why'd I write that?!" I would think. The grammar was incorrect, the sentences flowed weird, and most of all, it just didn't make sense.

And that's okay!!

Throughout this process, there are gonna be days when you just want to get that word count up and you may write the worst thing you've ever written. But that's the whole point of this challenge — don't be perfect, just finish! That being said, if you are a perfectionist and that weirdly worded clause is bugging you, it's okay to go back and fix it. Just don't dwell on the mistakes — they're part of what will make the editing process more fun later.

3. Find inspo wherever you can.

I don't think I'm alone when I say this: Finding. Inspiration. Is. Everything.

Without a good idea or plot, how will you ever have the motivation to reach your word count goal? Inspiration doesn't have to be this picture perfect thing (think: scrolling through reels instead of having an idea arrive on the back of a dolphin), it just needs to be something that works for you.

One way I like to be inspired is by listening to music. I have about 10,000 playlists on my computer I like to listen to while I write (I may or may not be listening to my indie love one as I type this), and I find that it really helps me stay focused.

Note: Be careful with the tone of your music/mood board/whatever inspires you. I remember listening to a sad playlist last year while writing a scene for my story and almost killing off a character. Have different inspiration for different moods, if that's helpful.

4. Take your writing with you.

Whenever inspiration strikes, you are gonna want to be sure you remember it. Whether it's your phone, a notebook, a sticky note, or whatever else works for you, always take something with you so you can record your fantastic ideas on the go. I have a very distinct memory of driving down a remote road in Kauai over the summer and asking my sister to text me "sunblock stand", which was a random idea for a scene I was planning in my mind. That being said, if you have an amazing memory and don't need something to help you, then by all means keep that great idea in your head.

So, you've read these tips, you have the YWP tab open, and you're in the midst of sipping a cozy beverage — this is the time to keep writing! Press play on your writing playlist, snuggle up closer to the nearest cat, and start typing...

photo of Noa S.

Noa S. is a passionate writer who enjoys reading, art, nail designs, and singing Taylor Swift. She is currently in 8th grade and will gladly talk to you about Heartstopper and Downton Abbey if you're interested (or if you're not). Her favorite thing to do is play with her five pets and go to the beach. This is Noa's second year doing NaNoWriMo and she hopes to publish her current novel or one of the many short stories she's written soon!

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