7 quick-fire tips for surviving NaNoWriMo

Last week I went into quite some detail about how to get prepared for NaNoWriMo. Well, we’re now four days in (that’s 6,666 words for all you NaNo-ers), and I thought I’d give you some quick and simple tips to help get you through this exciting project, after the first flush of excitement fades away and the reality sets in.

Here are my quick-fire tips for surviving NaNoWriMo:

    • Don’t fall behind: Easier said than done, of course, but if you can’t quite be bothered to make that last 500 words today, you sure won’t want to make up the difference tomorrow (believe me, I know – I’ll share my two bar charts down below). Get all 1,667 out NOW, while you’re sitting there with the document open in front of you.
    • Find someone to talk to: If you can find someone who will happily listen to you talk about NaNo, hold onto them and never let them go (except to type). You might need to spread the load across several friends so they don’t get sick of you and run for the hills, but having someone to hash out your ideas and plot woes with can be a real help.
    • Tweet your painThere are plenty of other people out there doing this crazy project too. Whether it’s going well or badly, get on Twitter and let the world know. It’s good just to get those emotions out there so you can keep on writing with a clear head.
    • Write early: This may not work for everyone, but it’s often the case that getting something done sooner rather than later helps you get it done at all. If you can squeeze in any writing time in the morning before work, you’ll be going at it with a far fresher mind than when you get home at 6pm and still have to cook the dinner.
    • Get ahead: Weekends are the perfect time to get ahead, if you can. Use any extra free time to go beyond the daily word count and take a bite out of tomorrow’s. You’ll thank yourself if you suddenly find you have a totally packed, no-writing day later in the month.
    • Write fast: We all know to avoid editing during NaNo (although I have heard that some conscientious souls correct their latest work at the end of every day, which leaves me open-mouthed with awe). In the same vein, write quickly. Slow writing might mean you’re doing the editing in your head, so if that’s the sort of thing that bogs you down, try to type as quickly as you can to stop that critical voice getting in the way.
    • Coffee, lots of coffee: I mean, that’s just common sense.
surviving nanowrimo
I’m pretty sure Bill Murray was 2 weeks into NaNo at this point.

As promised, here are my bar charts from the two years I took part in (and won at) NaNoWriMo. As you can see, in the first year I wasn’t terribly good at following my first piece of advice: don’t fall behind.

surviving nanowrimo
’20 Questions’ – 2014
surviving nanowrimo
‘Skin’ – 2013








You’re already four days in! If you’re keeping a good rhythm, stick to it and you’ll do fine. If you’re falling behind, there’s still plenty of time to catch up.

Let me know if you have any more quick tips for NaNo-ers out there. Good luck!

1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s