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Day 25: Self-Care

NaNoWriMo is a bit like running a marathon. Or perhaps thirty sprints is a better analogy. In either case, you want to train your body and mind for the challenge. Self-care is an important aspect to getting ready and staying in shape to conquer Nano.

Here are a few tips to keep in mind when it comes to self-care.

Establish a morning routine.

A morning routine can start the day off right and if you have a good morning routine, it is easy to slip the habit of writing into your daily practice. That way you can get started on your word count first thing in the day. Some things to think about including in your morning routine:

  • Rise early (okay, I’ll admit that I’m just parroting the advice that you see all over the place. As a dedicated night owl, I find this one really hard. So, let’s say that early is relative.) Despite my nocturnal nature, I have found it helpful to wake at a consistent hour (even when my schedule doesn’t dictate it), and I try to make it just a wee-bit earlier than I’d like.
  • Eat breakfast
  • Meditate
  • Write morning pages. Seriously! More writing? The purpose of morning pages is to do some thought processing. The technique comes to us from Julia Cameron. She characterizes morning pages as “the bedrock tool of a creative recovery.” They “provoke, clarify, comfort, cajole, prioritize and synchronize the day at hand.”
  • Do whatever else you need to get engaged with the day, to get focused and fueled up for excitement. The one thing to avoid doing is checking your email and taking in the news. Once November comes, aim to get 500 words done before getting online.


This is a great practice for your morning routine but it can be done anytime and doing it more than just in the morning magnifies its benefits. I meditate regularly and can personally attest to the benefits of creating clarity of mind, easing of stress and anxiety, and enhanced equilibrium.

Here are some perspectives on how meditation benefits writing:

Author Unlimited

Jane Friedman



Meal planning can feel tough in November, but don’t neglect this vital aspect. You have to keep your instrument in tune and for you, that instrument is your mind and body. I don’t know about you, but when I don’t give some forethought to what I will be eating I ended up eating fast food or other poor choices. Put some extra attention on meal planning in November and your body, mind, and productivity will all reward you.


Getting plenty of exercise is a great strategy for Nano. It helps the creative juices to flow and keeps restlessness at bay for your long stints at the computer. What’s particularly cool about exercise is that it should be a go-to technique for getting you out of a writing rut. Think ahead now how you’re going to exercise during the cold, dark, wet (snowy maybe?) days of November.

So that’s it. I know today’s suggestions were pretty basic, but that’s part of the point. Self-care doesn’t have to be complicated. Nonetheless, it can be hard. Just remember that self-care is one of those things that is self-reinforcing: the more you do it, the more you’ll see the benefits and the more you’ll want to do it. So do yourself a favor: get started now.

If you’re not already on the “31 Magic Days of NaNoWriMo Prep” mailing list, sign up here.

Looking for more support? I coach writers on the Nano process and I’m currently offering a free planning session to help you get started. You can sign up here.

Table of contents for other articles in the series.

Be sure to also check out the 5 Epic Clues to NaNoWriMo Success webinar.


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