NaNoWriMo Tracking & Reward System | Week 1 Update

Hello everyone! Today marks one week of NaNoWriMo! I’m happy to say that I’m actually surviving, and I’m on target with my word count. I didn’t know if I would even make it this far, so I’m extremely proud of myself and all that I’ve accomplished. I’m past 10k words at this point! That is so crazy to me.

I didn’t realize that all I needed to get myself to write was a bit of a push. I wish that I had forced myself to participate in NaNo in the past, like I did this year. Maybe I could have written multiple novels by now.

I think what’s really helping me is my tracking and reward system! If you didn’t see my last post, you can check it out here. I mentioned the Lightspeed Planner, which I have been using since the start of the month. I am absolutely loving it! I would highly recommend checking it out and possible buying one for yourself.

Here is what a blank page looks like:

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How I use it for NaNo:

Each day looks slightly different, but I always write my word count goal in either the “must do” or the “should do” spot because it is a huge priority for me. I don’t plan on ever putting it in the “could do” category unless I absolutely have more important things taking up my time. If it’s in the “should do” category, it’s because I have a big homework assignment that I need to complete before I can write. Otherwise, it always goes in the “must do.”

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As for the notes section, I use that to track my actual progress. I write down how many words I started the day with, then I write how many I ended with. On the right side, I put down the total words written that day. If I am on target for NaNo, I give myself a star sticker for that day. I really want to keep that streak going and have a star every single day, so this is another motivating factor. The planner also has a little pocket in the back, so I can keep all of my stickers with me!

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In the planner, there is also a performance tracker. You can rate yourself on a scale from 10-100% based off of how well you performed in a given day. The way I use it is that every 10%=200 words. Therefore, 100% means I wrote 2000 words! It’s very hard for me to write 2k words in a day, so I haven’t yet reached this. However, it motivates me to push myself so that I can get as high up as possible. My highest was 90% one day, which I am extremely proud of!

Rewards System:

The back of the planner contains some pages for you to set your goals. I’m using this as a rewards system for each milestone I hit in NaNo. Here’s how it looks:

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  • 10k words- Chick-fil-a trip
  • 25k words- clothes shopping
  • 40k words- buy myself a book
  • 50k words- get the new Kindle Paperwhite!!

This has been a great way to push myself to keep going. I want the Kindle Paperwhite so bad, so I’m only letting myself get it once I hit 50k words. Ideally, this would be by November 30th, meaning I won NaNo. However, if I don’t make it, I’m still going to use this to make sure I finish this draft after NaNo is over!

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I really hope you guys enjoyed this post! I am loving my system and how well it’s been working for me so far. Let me know if you have a system of your own and how it works for you, cause I’m always open to new ideas.

Also, check out the lightspeed planner, which you can buy here!

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Writing A Book Review- Taking Notes

I am by no means a book review expert, but I have written a decent amount (be it on here or Goodreads). So I decided I wanted to write a mini series* about how to write and better your own reviews (You don’t actually have to listen to me; I don’t really know what I’m talking about).

For the first part of the series, I am talking about how to take notes while you are reading the book, and what to include. If you are anything like me, you tend to forget all the important details of the book and only remember whether you liked or didn’t like it. The review is about why you did/n’t like it though, so it’s important to have a reason. Otherwise you will be repeating yourself over and over.

*By mini series, I mean really mini. Probably only one more post to follow this one.

To make things easier, I broke down my notes into a few steps. Grab a notebook and follow along!

Before Reading:
Turn to that fresh, brand new page and begin by writing down the title and author of the book. As silly (and obvious) as this seems, you don’t want to forget what book the notes are actually for.

Now the fun part. Write your predictions for the book based on the cover, the synopsis, other reviews you read/heard, etc. Be sure to include whether you think you will like the book or not, too! I like to have my initial thoughts before I start reading to see how my views have changed when I’m done. This is also a great thing to talk about in a review.

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While Reading:
The next part requires a little bit of work, but it will guarantee a successful review later on. While I read, I tend to come up with sentences to use for a review later, but when I sit down to actually write the review, I completely forget what it is I wanted to talk about. So the notebook is there when I have fragments of sentences to include.

I also keep a list of page numbers and quotes that I really enjoy. It can be about characters, the setting, plot twists, the author’s descriptions, etc. Basically anything that seems interesting and catches my attention. And, the more information you jot down, the better.

For example, I am currently reading Illuminae. The blood splatters on page 158 really intrigued me, and I appreciated how thought out the design of the page was. It is something I might want to include in a blog post later.

After Reading:
As soon as you read the last word of the book, grab your notebook, your phone, a napkin- anything near you-and write down your thoughts. The way the book leaves you feeling is important, and you don’t want to forget it. Let it all out, even if it doesn’t make too much sense.

Mine usually ends up being all caps and tons of “ASAHKSLDHAJFK.” Even though it looks like a mess, I can use this to bring out my initial emotions and put them into coherent thoughts. It just gives me a final idea of what I was feeling when reading the book.

This process is just the beginning of book reviewing. The next post in this series will be about actually writing the review- what to include and how to start.

I hope you found this helpful, and will use some version of this method to keep track of your reviews. Feel free to change it up to fit you.