Not Doing NaNoWriMo? 5 Things to Do Instead
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! NaNoWriMo 2023 is a scant few weeks away—er, for some of us. Not participating this year? Same, friend. But that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the writing energy and motivation that floats in the ether around this annual event. If you’re not doing NaNoWriMo, here are 5 things to do instead that will help you take advantage of all the writerly goodness in the air.
Query or submit
What about setting yourself a challenge to query agents, or submit your work to contests? It could be one query and/or submission a week, or one a day, or a set number a week.
Use October’s prep to review Manuscript Wish List or QueryTracker for agents, or Google writing contests for some that look interesting and appropriate for your work. Track your finds in a spreadsheet, and set your goal to make a number of queries or submissions by November 30.
Do you have a finished novel or story or poem drafts sitting around, waiting to be revised? November would be a great time to pull those out of the “drawer” to read through and self-edit.
Decide on a number (if you have more than one project) to tackle during the month, and set yourself a page count goal to complete by the last day.
I have shelves full of writing craft books that I’ll get to “someday.” Are you the same?
Why not pick 4–6 and commit to reading one a week during November? (And, hey, if you’re American, there’s even a long holiday weekend in there to give you a bit more time for this.)
Keep a notebook handy, and jot down insights or aha moments you come across in your reading.
Writing isn’t called a “craft” for no reason—it takes practice to improve your skill. Luckily, there are many resources available to learn new writing tricks and get some practice with them.
Writer’s Digest has a new webinar library available for a monthly subscription, and the first month is free. Check out their lectures, select a handful, and set aside some time during November to work your way through any exercises that go along with the learning.
If you’ve never participated in a writing critique group, November might be just the month to find one and get some valuable outside feedback on your work.
One idea: Amherst Writers & Artists workshops. Every month, this group hosts multiple themed and open workshops for writers of all skill levels. Their critique method focuses on positive, affirming feedback along with structured writing time during the events. You can drop in for one workshop, or start up a monthly membership and attend several.
A bonus idea: REST
That’s right! Rest is as important to your writing as anything else, so here’s your permission slip to take the month of November off from your goals and/or writing schedule. Eat some turkey. Go for a walk in the woods. Watch some trashy TV. Give your mind and typing fingers a much-needed break to recharge and reset.
You might find the ideas and creativity come back sharper than ever after a refresh.
Have a wonderful month!