Monday, November 8, 2010

NaNoWriMo Survival Tip

We're one week into National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). If you are still writing, congratulations! I was on track until yesterday, when I didn't write at all and now I'm suddenly a day behind. But, there are still 22 days left to get to 50,000 words and I know I can do it. Here is one of my personal favorite tips for getting through the month with your word count high.

To stay focused while writing, I have a specific writing playlist in my iTunes. The value of this is fourfold:
  1. When I hear the songs (always played in the same order) I know it is writing time, and Pavlov's dog-like, I want to write. 
  2. They length of the playlist helps me keep track of how much, or how little, time I've spent writing and I can tell myself I'll keep going just through the next Broken Bells track.
  3. If I need a little extra motivation, I'll buy a new song I like on iTunes, and put it in my writing playlist. The only way I'll let myself listen to it is on the playlist, and I don't listen to the playlist when I'm not writing, so it's like a little reward.
  4. I'll add certain songs to my playlist if I think they will help inspire some part of the writing process, so if I character mentions a certain song, I'll do my best to add it. The playlist becomes tailored the novel I'm writing, and I get to start over again when I start a new one.
What strategies do you have to keep focused when you are doing a task that takes time and energy, that perhaps you don't always want to do?

Lelah Baker-Rabe is a Los Angeles-based professional organizer. To discuss your organizing needs, call her at 818.269.6671 or email


  1. It looks like you open with "Wake Up" because Arcade Fire is your only "A" but still I think it's a suitable writing catalyst.

  2. Yes, it works well as a rousing opener.

  3. This is a great tip, I need to get my play list together so I can get motivated to start writing. I am still debating about writing fiction or non-fiction. I am so glad you found my blog, thanks for your comment!

  4. Thanks, Amanda. Good luck with your writing!

  5. Such a good tip, Lelah! I'm going to use it, starting this weekend!