6 Fun Things You Can Do While Procrastinating On Your NaNoWriMo 2020 Novel

NaNoWriMo 2020 is here y’all! Annnd…we’re tired. Like, really tired. Maybe you can relate.

Maybe the events of this year have you bursting with pent up angst creative energy, ready to channel all of your insecurity anxiety anger ideas onto the page, allowing yourself to be absorbed by the escapism of writing. Or maybe you’re sitting in front of that blank blinking cursor trying to mobilize your brain into some semblance of sentence structure, tea gone tepid as you wonder “Where do I even start?” Or, “Why is all of this garbage?”

For those who may be feeling a little less than inspired this year — we get it. And it’s time to plan your procrastination strategy. Wait wait, here us out. Exhaustion naturally results in a lack of creative energy, difficulty focusing, and (you guessed it) procrastination. This year we invite you to skip the guilt trip and plan ahead. Don’t just schedule your well-earned writing breaks; actually allow for time off that isn’t tied in any way to your productivity. You can even add a space to your calendar titled “Time I ‘should’ be working on my NaNoWriMo novel but I’m procrastinating and no one can stop me.” Procrastination sans guilt can be very edifying, and may even give you a little creative boost.

How should you fill your procrastination time? The answer is, of course, however you’d like. But before you fall into another mind-numbing social media rabbit hole, consider that there may be more fun, interesting ways to procrastinate. Here are a few:

Make a funny photo series or video about procrastinating. Documenting your NaNoWriMo journey does not have to be all pretty Instagram images of steamy beverages beside computers or humble brags about your word count. Plenty of authors are procrastinating just like you; they’re just not showing it online. Create a tongue-in-cheek photo series or video about the trials, tribulations, and procrastinations of NaNoWriMo; no doubt countless authors can relate (and will be relieved that they’re not the only one!).

Make an over-the-top snack or dessert. Good procrastination needs food fuel, and procrastination fuels the best food. You don’t have to be a Master Chef or a Great British Bake Off contestant to whip up a dish worthy of either (at least as far as your taste buds are concerned). Imagine the best possible snack you could eat right now, the most delicious thing you could think of piling together. Then go make it. You can also look up a new recipe for an especially tasty dish or dessert, something you wouldn’t normally give yourself time to make, and give it a try!

Do a random chore or run an errand that you’ve been putting off. Isn’t it funny how when we’re procrastinating on one task, suddenly we must go accomplish another task we’ve been putting off RIGHT NOW? Lean into that. Go buy that fancy cooking item you meant to get that one time. Rearrange your bedroom furniture, or organize your closet by color. Go drop off that dog grooming kit you should have taken to your aunt months ago. Look at how productive you are! No matter how big or small, now’s the time to prod-crastinate.

Design a wardrobe for each of your character(s). Use Pinterest, draw, create a photo file or PowerPoint, or even cut out pictures from magazines. What elements define your characters’ individual styles? What would their activewear look like? How would they dress for an elegant event? What about their casual day-to-day attire? If they could time travel, what would they wear in various eras?

Create a mood board for your ideas and aesthetics. When you imagine the “feel” of your book — its settings, mood, character styles, and various aesthetics, what do you think of? Collect various images that you associate with the world you’re building. These can be literal or figurative interpretations; totally up to you. Digital Pinterest boards are perfect for this, but physical boards with collaged cut-outs can be great as well.

Write a 1-3 page short story or a poem you intend to delete. Feel like what you’ve written is trash that you want to burn in a fire? Good _ let’s do some more of that. Write a silly, random, and/or bad short story or poem that is unrelated to your NaNoWriMo project. You can even use a random idea generator to get started. Pour that frustration into this; show that page what bad writing really is. You even start having fun with how over the top you can go. Delete the piece at the end — or, you might find that you actually enjoyed it enough to keep it.