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Your Brain on Writing: How to Write a Novel Every Other Month

Stimulate your mind by eliminating distractions

1. Take a story idea you have

It can be anything, as long as you know you can expand on it enough to be a full novel.

2. Set aside a month

Take a month off work and your daily schedule. Arrange all your appointments and meetings to be outside of that window of time, either before or after.

3. Stock up on food and water

You’re not going to need much. Nothing fancy. Nothing to be able to distract you. Just simple: fat, protein, greens. Something you can just throw on the stove with salt and pepper once a day. That works best. Can add black coffee for the mornings if you like. This keeps your body in ketosis, limits any distractions, and keeps you running on fat for fuel; the latter of which means it keeps your mind sharp. And that’s what you want when you’re going to be writing nonstop: a sharp mind and zero distractions. No addictions. No sugar. Which brings you to the next step.

4. Eliminate all distractions

And I mean all. Your friends, family, and adventures can wait, after you’ve finished for the month. Right now, make it your only obligation to write, your only chore. Your sole purpose. Quit social media. Check your phone only once a day, toward the end of the day or the beginning, whichever is your preference. Treat texts like emails. Save phone calls only for emergencies.

5. Don’t overthink it

Just sit down or stand at your desk, open the Scrivener or Word file on your laptop, and begin typing. Write down your ideas, thoughts, and musings. Switch it up as you go, if you like. Whatever comes to you. But just keep writing. You can worry about what you’re going to do with it when the month is up.

6. Repeat this process every other month

Use the month before writing to experience. Use the month after writing to experience. Gather up any and all information you can in the form of experience during the months in between. Your mind will recall them during the months you set aside for writing. Why does this work? Because when you take away external stimulation, your mind is forced to create its own, or recall what it has experienced from the past. Your brain’s recall will grow better over time. This is also why you want a sharp mind and no distractions (see steps 3 and 4). This brings us to the most important step of all.

7. Just keep writing

NaNoWriMo is not the only time you have to write a novel in a month; you can do it anytime of the year. Dedicate a month to writing and see how it goes.

If you decide to take on the challenge, comment below on your results. Did eliminating all external stimulation encourage you to look inside your mind for that creative spark?

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