Motivation can be hard to keep up during the 30-day marathon of NaNoWriMo. I do say “marathon,” because it feels like one: not a sprint, not a 5k — but also not an ultra. It’s do-able with some preparation, as we’ve been working on the last three weeks, but it’ll be easier with a few rewards along the way.

How you want to approach this is individual. For myself, after many years of refining exactly what motivates me, I like to give myself a reward every 10,000 words. Usually, the week before November, I’ll go out and buy 5 (or 10 if I’m going for 100,000 words that NaNo) small rewards and put each of them in a paper bag. I also include some candy and maybe special tea. Something enjoyable.

This month I decided to buy myself 5 new books – just cheap ones from the ol’ Goodreads To-Read list. And an assortment of my favourite chocolate bars in mini-size, so I can put a couple into each 10,000 reward bag, and then la piece de resistance – quote-cards.

What are quote cards? I stumbled upon these three or four years ago while trying to find inspiration for NaNo. It’s a pretty simple concept. I go on Pinterest and search for those little writing prompt lists you see every once in a while–

I grab a couple. Maybe a list of “5 scenes” and then a list of “5 sentences,” something like that. I print them off and cut them up, so I have 10x little prompts. Then I stick a couple, at random, into each of my reward paper bags.

What’s the point of this? Well, let’s say I wrote 10,000 words. I get my book and my chocolate and I’m very happy. But I also now have two different prompts that I must use in the next 10,000 words. It’s surprising how much this little mini-goal along the way helps. It can be difficult, but it’s like having little sign-posts along the way, every 10,000 words. Here are the prompts and sentences I’ll be using for 2023:

And here are my own 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50k reward bags! I left the 10k bag empty to show the treats, book, and writing prompts.

Hope this helps give some inspiration for keeping motivation up during the entire marathon. Tomorrow I’ll be tackling the nitty-gritty: where to write, when, and how much. Until then, happy writing!

By Jade

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