Do you know and love a writer participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)? What you may not know is they are currently preparing for a month of intense writing goals and they need your help.
How on earth can you help a writer dive deep into the challenge to put 50,000 words together in the month of November? Plenty. Here is a list of only seven ways you can help your writer complete their goal.
1) Honor their time, space, and dedication. If they don’t have a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door to their writer’s den, be the one who does it for them. If you catch them on social media, kindly “Poke” them and remind them to get back to writing. Refrain from inviting your writer out to eat or to any difficult-to-turn-down fun. This is time for writers to focus and distractions are everywhere. The best thing you can do is put those fun invitations off as rewards in December and January for finishing the 50K milestone.
2) Feed your writer brain food. Writers notoriously crave quick convenient foods when they’re on a deadline, and that might not be kind to their health or budget. What you can do in preparation months is help stock their cupboards and freezer with good brain food, like fatty fish (smoked is great for snacking), nuts, homemade broccoli soup, and frozen berries for quick genius smoothies. During the month of November, you could be the one to bring the best meals to the desk to keep them away from the doughnuts and nachos. Coffee is a brain food too, but writers are usually well-stocked there. Instead, keeping good water in front of them to keep the brain hydrated would be a tremendous help. Dehydrated brains slow down and make writer’s block all too inevitable.
3) Sneak surprise words of encouragement into your writer’s space. We hate to admit how much a good quote works on us. You can be the proud dork who looks up the motivational quotes to save your writer’s pride and boost their productivity. The 50K word challenge is no small task! Little notes of encouragement, letters via snail mail, post cards timed to show up every other day, and colorful slips of paper snuck under a coffee cup can provide that much needed kick in the pants your writer inevitably needs to keep writing, whether they will admit it or not. Love wins.
4) Walk the dog. Writers don’t want to ignore their pets, but their fur kids might demand more time away from the writing than the writer wants to handle in November. Your writer might feel terribly guilty asking you for this favor, but if you offered to walk the dog, clean the litter, whatever the pet situation may require, chances are you will be an instant hero. The fur kids will thank you too.
5) Walk your writer. Your writer might not know this, but brains need either forest therapy or water therapy. I call it WoW- Woods or Water. Simply walking near them helps reduce anxiety, and stimulate creativity. You’ll feel it too. If you notice your writer getting frustrated, unbearable, or scary due to too many hours hunched over this novel-in-the-making, take your writer for a walk and aim for a path that takes you either to the woods and/or the water. Your brains and hearts will thank you.
6) Present the tomato timer to your writer. Most people actually perform better if they embrace the Pomodoro Method, in which you take each daunting task only 25 minutes at a time. Literally set the timer for 25 minutes, work like crazy until the timer goes off, and then take a five minute break to shake it off and refresh. If you can help your writer stick to that a few times a day with the writing, you just might be a saint, and your writer could crank out those 50K words like a champion.
7) Help your writer with simple chores. Your writer is either going to use cleaning as a perfect excuse to find no time for writing, or write obssessively for hours and ignore the dishes, laundry, and shower. OK, so you’re not going to sponge bath your writer, but you could take on a few chores after writing a few “You Owe Me” coupons. Let’s face it, clutter in the house creates clutter in the brain. I personally hate cleaning, so I’m your basic nightmare housemate, especially during NaNoWriMo. Giving your writer permission to write will be met with such gratitude, once the goal is met, your writer will be more than happy to make up for everything you’ve done to help them along the way.
On behalf of all the NaNoWriMo participants, we thank you from the bottom of our aching story-filled hearts for all of your support. We tend to love surprise care packages filled with items to help our cramping hands, sore crooked necks, tired eyes, and sensitive souls. If you’re supporting from a distance, this might be the best way to be there for your writer.
If you have any other ideas, suggestions, or related examples, I’d love to hear from you. In the meantime, may your days be filled with great stories.