MANW Check-In Week 44: NaNoWriMo Tips and New November Theme

Pleased to announce today’s theme is FINISH! Whether you’re starting out on a new project or using this month to play catch up, the goal for this month’s Make Art Not War Challenge theme is to finish what you start.

Whether you’re new to writing or not, self-doubt can creep into your mind, and you freeze. You either go back to edit that first paragraph, over and over again, until you get it “just right” — or you never finish that story. Sometimes, self-doubt occurs because you’ve bitten off more than you can chew. That’s normal. That happens. And, sometimes, tackling a big project is necessary to grow and show you where you’re at.

Your strength lies in what you do next. Do you lash out? Biting back at your critics? Or, do you suck it up and ask for help? I can’t tell you where you are in your process; no one can unless they’re reading your work and with you during your journey. What I can tell you, is that sometimes there is a lot of value in finishing what you start. If you can’t finish the big thing, try breaking off your project into smaller chunks. Finish those, and chug away until you’ve completed it.

Finishing your projects doesn’t mean that they won’t require more work; what it does mean, however, is that you’ve cycled through that first, crucial step to making art. That, dear readers, is what November is all about.

Time to check in and see how I did last week.

Weekly Check-in

My Original Make Art Not War 2017 Challenge pledge:

  • I pledge to devote one hour a day to my original art.
  • If I don’t feel motivated, I pledge to write down the reasons why I wanted to take this challenge for fifteen minutes or one-to-three pages whichever comes first.
  • I pledge to mark down on the calendar whenever I complete a day’s efforts.
  • As the challenge creator, I pledge to create a weekly accountability post every Wednesday beginning on January 9th. Comments will be open. Hashtag #makeartnotwar2017 #manw2017
  • I pledge to check into social media twice a week for personal use, and once a month with my local community of artists and writers.

Here’s my current status:

  • I announced Diary of an Aspiring Alchemist, and I also (courtesy of a friend) received some adult coloring materials, too. I’ve got this down!
  • Couple of days were a little rough. I’ve been adjusting to the seasonal shifts, and walking outside has been helping a lot.
  • Instead of logging my time, I’ve been logging my words with an app. When I remember to use it, it seems like it’s a better solution to what I had been doing.
  • As the challenge creator, I pledge to create a weekly accountability post every Wednesday beginning on January 9th. Comments will be open. Hashtag #makeartnotwar2017 #manw2017 You’re looking at another post, right now! Hee.
  • I’m good re: social media. Got a kick out of all the Halloween-related updates.

On to some tips for NaNoWriMo!

10 NaNoWriMo Tips and Tricks

50,000 words in a month seems daunting, and it definitely can be. There are two parts to NaNoWriMo: a) hitting 50,000 words in a month and b) tracking that on “a” project. I realize you might use NaNoWriMo to finish multiple projects and that’s cool. That’s definitely a different set of processes than focusing on one, larger work.

To start and finish NaNoWriMo, here are some tips!

1.) Summarize your plot. Helps keep the story on track.
2.) Sketch out an outline and characters ahead of time. Focus on the sagging middle!
3.) Add a motivational saying or goal to your writing space. A sticky note on a laptop or notebook works fine, too. Like: “You got this!”
4.) Use a word tracker that recalculates your goals. The NaNoWriMo.org website has one, but you could always look for apps or spreadsheet templates, too.
5.) Do a little bit of writing in the morning if you can. That way, if your day goes to shit, you’ve at least gotten some words down.
6.) Adding something new (e.g. a writing goal), means you’ll need to let something go. Whether that’s watching less TV or not, actively make a plan to reduce something else in your life.
7.) It’s okay to not like a scene or a paragraph you’ve just written. Your goal, here, is to hit the target in a specific period of time. Mark what you want to come back to later instead of deleting or rewriting it up front.
8.) Write your story before you sell it. You don’t have to share every piece of what you’re working on, nor do you have to work on a cover letter right now. Write your story, first!
9.) Use a pen-and-paper journal to track additional ideas that come out of your sessions or writing breaks. You won’t necessarily be on the computer to be inspired.
10.) Above all: have fun and enjoy the ride! The best part about this month, is that it’s designed to help you hit your goal of 50,000 words. It’s all about the discipline of plunking them down. Do that, and you’ve already “won” NaNoWriMo. Even the best books are revised multiple times, but you can’t perfect a draft you haven’t written yet. So go! Go! Go!

I am not participating this year for various reasons, and wish everyone good luck!

Mood: Feel Like I’m on the right track.
Caffeinated Beverages Consumed: Can’t remember. I was withdrawing some yesterday, but fixed that.
Work-Out Minutes Logged Yesterday: Walking a few kilometers. Cold, yo.
In My Ears: Stranger Things 2 Soundtrack
Game Last Played: Pokémon Go – Halloween Event!
Book Last Read: Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
Movie/TV Show Last Viewed: Stranger Things 2
Latest Artistic Project: Make Art Not War Challenge eBook now available!
Latest Releases: Over the Edge for Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, Dagger of Spiragos for Scarred Lands.
Current State of Projects: Read my latest project update. New project update coming when I get time.






Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

Want to Interview or Hire Me? Send Fan Mail?

Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

Want an interview? If you’d like to interview me or request a guest blog post, please connect with me via the contact page, too. Due to time constraints and other communicative concerns, I typically don’t follow up on requests via social media.

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