NaNoWriMo Slump Survival Tips
It’s the third week of National Novel Writing Month. Writers around the world are thousands of words behind on reaching their goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Muses everywhere have gone on vacation and left no notice of when they will return. The NaNoWriMo slump is here.
How do we survive the slump week of NaNo? Here are some tips to get writing again.
Make a Catch-Up Plan
If you are thousands of words behind, it doesn’t help to try and catch up in one day. That’s an easy way to feel overwhelmed and discouraged. Instead, pull out those calculators and figure out how many extra words you need to write per day to catch up by November 30th. Aim for that new goal every day.
Write Out of Order
Did your manuscript hit a wall? Do you not know what to write next? Did you write yourself into a corner? The easiest solution is to write out of order. Write the scene that happens later in the book. You know, the one you’ve been dying to write. Work your way backward from there. Or, rewrite the novel starting from the scene where you last felt inspired and create a new sequence of events. If you don’t know what to write next, spend some time reading through what you have, but don’t edit. This may help you figure out where to go next.
Be a Rebel
You can count anything towards the 50,000-word goal. I have counted journal entries, notes I’ve taken from articles or videos on writing craft, and this article. You can count grocery lists, homework, or social media posts if you want. It’s up to you. Make sure to type these up in a word document so you can verify your word count. You could also work on several different projects if writing out of order doesn’t help bring your muse back from his or her sudden vacation.
Participate in Word Sprints
Go on Twitter and follow @NaNoWordSprints for daily word sprints throughout the month of November. You can hit up your writer friends and organize sprints through Facebook chat, calls, or video; Google Hangouts; or Twitter. Or, use the NaNoWriMo website to do your own word sprint and race the clock.
Write Whenever You Can
The key is to bring your writing tools everywhere. Carry pens and paper, your phone, tablet, or laptop with you. An app that could help with writing while on the go is 4thewords, which has recently updated to be mobile friendly. The Scrivener app for iPhone or iPad could also help.
Things to Remember
NaNoWriMo is about making a habit of writing. It doesn’t matter if you reach that 50,000-word mark. Some people are slow writers and it’s too lofty a goal for them. Others can write much more. To win NaNo, set your own goal for the month that fits your writing style, fast or slow. Don’t compare yourself to others.
Comparison is the thief of joy. -Theodore Roosevelt
That doesn’t mean you can’t push yourself to achieve something that seems out of reach. By all means, challenge yourself. But remember, any progress counts as winning.
You can connect with other writers using the #NaNoWriMo or #NaNoWriMo18 tags and make some new friends. This is especially helpful if you want to commiserate or need some encouragement. You can also get answers to your questions from a published author by using the hashtag #NaNoCoach.
Ask questions, connect with others, and, above all, write. Good luck. Most importantly, remember to have fun!