Halloween. Time to take the kids trick or treating, dress up for your friend’s party, and cue up The Night of the Living Dead. But when you wake up tomorrow morning with a sugar hangover, you’ll wish you’d spent some time accumulating tricks and treats to help you tackle your Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN) Challenge project.
After all, WNFIN starts on November 1.
It’s not too late, however, to put gather your WNFIN tricks and use them, so you also get the treats: the ability to start and finish a nonfiction project in 30 days successfully.
Hurry, though…the challenge starts tomorrow.
To increase the likelihood of succeeding at a 30-day writing challenge, like the WNFIN, you need to learn six “tricks” that come directly from the world of Certified High Performance Coaching.
Specifically, you want these six high-performance habits in your bag of tricks. If you have—and use—them during WNFIN, you’ll experience the treat of finishing the WNFIN challenge successfully!
Ready to reach into the treat bag and pull them out? Super.
Trick #1: Seek Clarity
When you habitually seek clarity, you consistently feel engaged in and fulfilled by your writing project. The clearer you are about your WNFIN project, the higher the likelihood that you will get from start to finish.
Clarity during a 30-day writing challenge prevents you from starting and stopping because you begin doubting that you the project is headed in the correct direction. When you feel clear, you don’t wonder if you are the right person to write the book.
Instead, you feel bold and enthusiastic about writing. Your confidence in yourself and the project keep your energy high and your focus on the goal. That means you write consistently.
If you aren’t sure you have enough clarity about your WNFIN project to succeed at the challenge, ask yourself questions like:
- Who are my readers?
- Why did I feel compelled to write this in the first place?
- Who needs this book?
- How can I best share what I know with my audience?
Your answers will provide the clarity you need.
Trick #2: Generate Energy
Many writers fail at the WNFIN Challenge merely because they lack the energy to succeed. Those who write productively and enthusiastically for 30 days, have generated the trifecta of energy: emotional, mental, and physical.
You need all three types of energy to remain high until you finish the challenge. That prevents you from quitting partway through because your energy became depleted in one or more of these areas.
Energy keeps your stamina, motivation, and passion high so you can write daily…for a month. High-Performance studies show that energy is one of the most significant predictors of productivity.
When taking on a 30-day writing event, however, many writers end up stressed. And stress is a huge energy zapper.
To avoid this problem and maintain high energy during WNFIN, keep up an exercise routine during November (even if it’s just walking for 30 minutes daily), eat a healthy diet (no Halloween candy allowed!), sleep 3 to 8 hours per night, and be sure to drink a lot of water and breathe deeply. Try taking a break every hour to stretch, breathe, and hydrate. You’ll be amazed at how high your energy will stay if you implement this one trick.
Trick #3: Raise Necessity
You don’t have to take the WNFIN Challenge. There are no requirements. No one is watching if you do it or not nor will anyone know if you finish a project in 30-days. It’s a personal challenge. You decide to take it.
That means you must have a good reason to write a book in a month. You must feel it’s necessary to complete that nonfiction project in 30 days. And your sense of necessity leads you to consistent action—in this case, daily writing.
Do you feel you must write your book—like doing so is the only option? Do you have a clear sense that people need your book now and so you must write it for them? If you answer “yes” to those questions, you’ve raised your necessity.
If not, get in touch with your Big Why for writing your book. What’s the reason you want to write it? When you know that…and connect with a sense of urgency to get it written…you’ll have little trouble writing every day and completing your project by the end of the WNFIN Challenge.
Trick #4: Increase Productivity
Of course, to meet the WNIFN Challenge and write a book—or anything else—in a month, you must be productive. But many writers are not because they don’t set goals and remain focused as they work toward them.
You’re lucky! You’ve got a goal: write a book (articles, blog post series, or essay) in 30 days. You’ve even got a deadline to increase your urgency a bit—finish the WNFIN Challenge before December 1. You still need to develop a strategy to stay focused for an entire month on completing your project.
Of course, in our fast-paced and digital world, it’s important to plan how you will reduce distractions. That means you need to know what steals your focus in the first place.
Are you most distracted by email, social media, your children, the dogs, the mess in your office, the laundry that needs to get done, your boss’ requests, or friends asking you to go to lunch? Whatever “focus thief” shows up in your life most often must be put on notice…now…to leave you alone in November.
That could mean that you tell everyone you won’t be reading or answering email until 10 a.m. during the coming month. Why? Because you’ll be writing first thing in the morning. (When you stop reading email first thing in the morning you increase your productivity significantly.) Or it might mean turning off your phone and the internet for two hours each day. It also could mean recording all your favorite shows so you can watch them after you write…or in December. Perhaps it means getting another mom to agree to watch your kids five days a week for an hour (while you write).
Add clarity and energy, as well as necessity, to you plan to reduce distractions, and you’ll find your productivity skyrocketing during the WNFIN Challenge.
Trick #5: Develop Influence
What’s the trick to influence? First, persuade yourself to write daily—to stick to your writing schedule. Also, influence yourself to carry out your productivity plan and energy strategies. And then, you need to get yourself to ask for what you want and need—support achieving your goal of completing the WNFIN Challenge.
You also need to influence yourself to say “no” more often, especially for the next 30 days. Say “yes” to writing daily, and “no” to that last minute volunteer project, the unpaid (or paid) talk that requires a two-hour drive to the venue, and the three-hour hike with your friends.
Influence is the ability to shape people’s behavior. You want to motivate them to help you achieve your goal. As mentioned, that might mean asking them to do something for you, like walk the dogs.
To motivate people to do what you ask, tell them about your dream. Then ask them about theirs. How can helping you achieve your dream get them closer to realizing an aspiration of their own? Just getting them excited about achieving their goals can make them want to help you do the same.
Trick #6: Demonstrate Courage
You may need some courage to watch Halloween or a similar scary movie, but writers need courage, too. It takes courage to put your words on paper and share them with others.
Additionally, you must boldly make whatever changes are necessary to ensure you complete the WNFIN Challenge. That means you need the courage to change yourself.
You might feel the need to be courageous when telling your husband you will be doing less laundry, cooking, and child watching while you write a book during November. You may need a bit of courage to tell your friends about your goal and to ask them to hold you accountable. You may feel the need for courage to change your sleeping habits and get up at 5 a.m. to ensure you get your writing in before you head to your “real job.”
Sharing what you know or your life experiences definitely can feel courageous as well. It’s a bit like facing your demons and then letting the world get to know them, too.
But high-performance writers are courageous people, and that makes them more productive as well. They boldly say “no” and shut their door to all sorts of opportunities and people to ensure they do what’s most important to them. And, you know what? That makes them happier as well.
After Tricks Come Treats
Armed with six tricks to help you increase your performance during the WNFIN Challenge, you are sure to collect some treats as well.
What are they? Oh! Sweet things writers enjoy most, like seeing a pile of typed pages growing on your desk, feeling the satisfaction of a productive writing period, knowing you finished a manuscript, realizing you do have something important to say—and you said it on paper, and completing what you set out to do.
Maybe the sweetest treat of all, though, is knowing you can write consistently, which means you are a writer.
It’s almost the witching hour! Put these tricks to use so you receive your treats.
Do you have tricks to help you write a book in a month? Tell me in a comment below.
This post is part of the 2018 Write Nonfiction in November (WNFIN) Challenge, also known as National Nonfiction Writing Month (NaNonFiWriMo). Find out more about how to participate by clicking here.
The event is sponsored by the Nonfiction Writers’ University. Get a 1-week trial membership for just $1!