If you’re anything like me, you were overflowing with inspiration at the start of NaNoWriMo, but after the first few days of consistent writing, life got hectic, and writing took a back seat.
Maybe you’re a few days (or even weeks) in and you’re not sure how to catch back up.
I’ve compiled some tips that help me to catch back up when my writing falls behind, so that you can end NaNoWriMo on a high.
Set a new schedule
Is your routine sabotaging your writing?
We all work differently and we all thrive under different conditions. Experiment regularly to find out what works best for you.
I figured out early on during NaNoWriMo that I am definitely not an evening writer. If I don’t write first thing in the morning, I keep putting it off, and by 7pm, I just want to collapse into bed.
So I set aside 30 minutes every morning, when I feel freshest, for dedicated writing.
If you’re not sure whether the schedule you’re using is working, experiment with a few different times of day and places to write.
Whether you’re on track with your writing or not, having a change of scenery is always helpful to keep your work exciting. Go out to a café to write for an hour (once we’re out of lockdown), try writing in the garden (weather permitting) or wake up before the rest of the world to get in some extra words. Who knows- you might even enjoy it!
Try new writing techniques
Studies have found that working for shorter lengths of time is more productive. Why not mix up your writing and try out scene sprinting? This means writing as fast as you can for a short amount of time (10-20 minutes).
For this method to be effective, you can’t look back- this means no editing as you go along! If you can’t think of a word, use a placeholder and don’t worry about phrasing. You can rewrite the whole thing later if needs be.
Another great technique for creativity is free-writing. This not only helps to get out of a slump, it’s also a great way to further delve into the minds of your character.
A quick google search will bring up a whole ream of prompts for you to use. Don’t worry- you don’t have to include any of this in your actual story if it doesn’t fit. But it will be helpful for developing the scenes that do go into your story.
Work on a different part of the story
You don’t have to write from start to finish. You can start at the second chapter, then write the end, then the middle, then come back to the beginning (or any other order).
If you’re struggling to write a particularly tricky scene and that’s holding your writing in one place, skip it! Write that scene you’re looking forward to, even if it’s at a different point in the story. You can always fill in the blanks later.
Writing is difficult enough, without extra distractions and opportunities for procrastination.
Before endind each writng session, make sure your work space is tidy and set up for the next session. This way, you can start writing as soon as you sit down.
Today, there are distractions from all angles. These are some techniques I use when technology is just too much of a temptation:
- Turn the Wi-Fi off whilst you write
- Install an app like Forest to help block distractions.
- Close all browser tabs on your laptop, except the ones needed for writing
- Remove any devices from the room altogether.
Change your goal
NaNoWriMo isn’t about endless stress; it’s about writing consistently and connecting with other writers.
How many words would you have by now if you weren’t taking part in NaNoWriMo? A lot less than you have now, right?
If the 50,000 word goal is out of reach, why not just go for writing for 30 minutes each day? It’ll still be more words than you would have had.
Accept your limitations
Reaching 50,000 words isn’t worth sacrificing your mental health for. It’s a massive ask and even reaching half of that is an amazing accomplishment.
Instead of pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion, take a break. Your writing will still be here when you gt back and another nanowrimo will always come around.
It can be difficult when we’re seeing people achieving the 50,000 goal at all sides, but everyone’s situation is different. Some people will have more time to write than you, they will have less commitments, writing might even be their job.
Comparison is destructive; give yourself grace and accept that you wont always reach every goal.
Have fun with your writing
We’re all here for one reason- we love writing! And nanowrimo is just an extension of this! A little motivation is useful, but if nanowrimo is making you actively anxious, take a step back and refocus on the reason why you’re here.
Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year? Are you on track with your goal or have you fallen behind? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below or you can connect with me directly on any of my social medias.