"A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle" - Father James Keller

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

GUEST POST: Surviving National Novel Writing Month: Five Ways to Keep Your Butt in the Chair By Rochelle Melander

November has its share of lovely days, so it can be hard to sit down and write for days on end. How do you keep your butt in the chair when you’d rather be out socializing or vegging in front of the television? Here are five ways to keep writing when you would rather do just about anything else

1. Give yourself daily rewards. When my kids were potty training, they got to put a sticker on the calendar every time they went to the bathroom in the toilet. I do the same thing during NaNo. I get a sticker for every day that I make my word count. If I double it, I get two. If stickers do not float your boat, you can try rewarding yourself with food, cheerful beverages, and even a round of your favorite online game.

2. Bet on your success. We often do what needs to be done when our money is at stake. In No Plot, No Problem, Chris Baty offers a genius betting tool: write a check to your least favorite cause and give it to a friend. If you make the word count, your friend promises to rip up the check. If you do not, your friend will send it to the cause. I don’t know about you, but the thought of my hard-earned money going to a cause I cannot support—well, that just might keep me writing.

3. Tie writing time to something you love. When I first started exercising, I had a rule: I could not watch my soap opera unless I was riding the exercise bike. I hated that bike, but I loved the soap. So, every day I got on the bike and road for the duration of the soap opera. You can guarantee your word count if you tie your writing time to one of your daily essentials: your morning cup of coffee, an afternoon snack, or even that late night glass of wine.

4. Get competitive. During last year’s National Novel Writing Month, I met someone online who finished her book in two weeks. Two weeks? Holy cow. That got me wondering how fast I could write my book. Sometimes we write better in competition with others. Buddy up with a few friends and work hard to outpace them. You can track each other’s word count on the National Novel Writing Month site.

5. Don’t forget the big reward! Daily rewards are fine, but sometimes we need a big reward to motivate us to finish the book. Credit card companies and airlines give out bigger rewards depending on how much money you spend or how much you fly. Why not reward yourself for word count. Design your own reward catalog complete with gifts for each level you reach. What will you give yourself when you hit 20,000 words? How about 50,000? Is there a bonus for going over? Promise yourself something awesome—like a massage or a day trip to a favorite place—and you will get those words in on time.

Maybe the best way to keep our butt in the chair is reminding ourselves why we are doing this in the first place. Since I was a little girl, I have wanted to write books. No doubt you have similar dreams. Visioning yourself as an author will certainly keep you writing until all 50,000 words are finished!

Author Bio
Rochelle Melander, the Write Now! Coach, is the author of 10 books, a certified professional coach, and a popular speaker. Her new book helps writers conquer National Novel Writing Month, Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It). Melander teaches professionals how to write fast, get published, establish credibility, and navigate the new world of social media. In 2006, Rochelle founded Dream Keepers Writing Group, a program that teaches writing to at-risk tweens and teens.
Get access to free tips, classes, a write-a-thon word count tool and more online at www.writenowcoach.com. Contact the author to speak by phone with your critique group, NaNoWriMo region, or book group: rochelle@writenowcoach.com 


  1. That was such a wonderful and inspirational post. Thank you Rochelle. This is my first NaNo and I am sitting on Day 7, 2115 words with three missed days of writing. Reading your little hints and ideas has shown me ways to help me get through this.
    Thank you Kiki for having a brilliant guest on ABA.

    *bites n kisses*

  2. Hi there! I am glad that the post helped you. Keep at it--I know you can catch up. :-) Thanks for stopping by and Kiki, thank you for having me as a guest, Rochelle


In accordance with the new FTC Guidelines for blogging and endorsements, Kiki Howell of An Author's Musings, would like to advise that in addition to purchasing my own books to review, I also receive books, and/or promotional materials, free of charge in return for an honest review, as do any guest reviewers.