Episode 027 | Resiliency Systems
The most important systems you’re going to set up in readiness for NaNo and your writing life belong are your Resiliency Systems.
It helps immeasurably to have made time for writing, set up systems and learned little tricks to make the most of your writing time, figured out your best outlining, research, and drafting systems. However, they can all end up abandoned and untouched if you don’t have your resiliency systems in place. Sooner or later, something is going to come your way that makes you doubt yourself (talent, discipline, whatever), your story, or both. Be ready.
Mindset is your first line of defense. Knowing what motivates you, facing your fears, choosing carefully the words you say to yourself, valuing yourself (including your health) and your own contributions to the world are the foundation of everything else. For some refreshers on ways to develop some of those habits and skills, check out these episodes:
Other Writers are invaluable. You can’t have too many of them in your life. Who knows better what you’re going through than someone else who’s out there doing their best to get their words down onto the page and then to get those pages out into the world to their readers? They can offer you context, they can offer you advice and feedback, they can tell the difference between when you need a shoulder to cry on and when you need a (gentle, but firm) kick in the pants. They speak your language, and they know stuff — the name of a new agent that just tweeted that they’re looking for a story like yours, the deadline for a contest that’s perfect for your type of story, etc. Find them and then make them a part of your day-to-day life.
NaNo Site Buddies
Family, Friends, Fans, and Faith (as you understand it) are there to love you and remind you that you’re more than you’re writing, that you need to take breaks, take a nap, take a chillpill, whatever. Remember to keep them at the center of your life and you can’t go wrong. When they ask how it’s going, tell them. When they ask what they can do, give them a job. Can they help and/or trade off with you on childcare? Are they good cheerleaders or natural born coaches? Do they read in your genre and would be good beta readers? Do they have a knack for grammar? The best thing about talking to them or giving them jobs is that it provides built-in accountability. Who wants to tell someone who’s supporting you that you’re giving up because it’s too hard? No way, man.
Help you free up writing time (e.g. trade/help with chores or childcare)
Blog your progress
Set up a parallel goal with a friend or family member with a bet, cost, or reward dependent upon how you do.
Organized Dreams – okay, I’ll admit it, I wanted this to spell MOFO and I tweaked it a little, but the idea stands. One of the best resiliency systems you can set up is to get real about your dreams. And by that I mean get specific, start allocating worktime, and assigning deadlines. There is an indescribable difference between writing a book “someday” and writing 50,000 words in November. There are lots of tools out there to help you do this. I’m a huge fan of Sarra Cannon and her HB90 Writer’s Bootcamp that walks you through planning, three months at a time. I use my own writing planner (available on Etsy) every day, along with (thanks to Sarra’s bootcamp) a Kanban Board where I keep track of my various writing tasks that make up my larger writing goals and dreams.
So find your resiliency systems, people. You may be one tough MOFO, but everyone needs a little help now and then. Everyone.
Good luck on NaNo, everybody! I’d love to be your NaNo buddy! Come find me! I’m listed under H. Dair Brown and I’m working out of Bloomington, Indiana. I’d love to cheer on your progress!
Next month is all interviews. I’ll be talking with people who take all kinds of approaches to getting NaNo done. Everyone I’ll be talking with has won NaNo before. Some are more pantser-oriented, others love themselves some outlines. Some are Steady Eddies, hitting around 1,667 words a day. Others (ahem, like me) are blitzers and get across the finish line by alternating between writing streaks and writing lulls. Some start strong and then take it easy. Some start slow and finish strong. All of them will offer insights and encouragement. Until then…
Happy writing people!
How to Win NaNoWriMo by Heart Breathings (Sarra Cannon)
How I Create My 90 Day Plan and Use a Kanban Board to Achieve My Goals – Heart Breathings (Sarra Cannon)
Sarra Cannon’s HB90 Bootcamp – Heart Breathings (Sarra Cannon)
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