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3 ways to stay motivated throughout National Novel Writing Month

Los Angeles Central Library.
Photograph: Matthew Field/Wikimedia Los Angeles Central Library.

November is a month of challenges, from No-Shave November to the much more difficult and rewarding NaNoWriMo (no offense to the beard lovers out there). National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is the 30 days when writers across the globe sit down to finally write that book they've been thinking about for ages. Participation is free and the only requirement is that you hit 50,000 words in the month of November. If you're in the midst of writing the next great American novel and are about at the point where you're wondering what you've gotten yourself into, here are three ways to help keep yourself focused until you hit those 50,000 words.

1. Get support: A great way to stay on track is by having people to hold you accountable, so if you don’t have any friends that are doing NaNoWriMo with you, now’s the time to make some. There are writing groups all over the city full of people meeting up to churn out pages together. The LA Central Library in Downtown LA is hosting a workshop every Monday night in November, and there are plenty of other local groups just waiting for you to join.

2. Seek out professionals to stay inspired: If you’re hitting a wall, get inspiration by listening to some published authors speak. Book signings offer the perfect opportunity to hear excerpts from recently published works, and most of the time there’s a Q&A so you can grill authors on their writing process. Book Soup, Vroman's and Skylight Books all have killer lineups that'll inspire and guide you.

3. Keep your eyes on the prize: Look up some of the books that started out as NaNoWriMo projects and envision yours among their ranks. Water For Elephants, The Night Circus, Fangirl and others started off with NaNoWriMo. If they can do it, so can you. And while there's no actual prize at the end of NaNoWriMo, the bragging rights of having written a novel are pretty much a prize in themselves. We believe in you!

If you have any other tips for the novel writers out there, tweet us @timeoutla!