7 Tips to Finish NaNoWriMo Strong
by MC Smitherman
Well would you look at that, we’re now halfway through National Novel Writing Month already! Depending on where you’re at on a scale of 1 to 50,000 words, that’s either very exciting or very terrifying. However far along you are though, it’s possible that this sprint is testing your spirit (and your typing fingers), so we’ve got a couple of tips that might help you finish this race strong. Grab a drink, take a breath, and let’s see what we can do to help out.
Revisit your plan (or maybe make one)
The halfway point is a good time to revisit the plan you made at the beginning of the month, or perhaps make a new one if you’ve strayed a little too far from the path. Or maybe you never made a plan and don’t feel like it now because you’re a pantser-for-life. If plans are your thing though, take stock of how far you’ve come. If you’re short of where you hoped you’d be, then account for some upcoming days to include more writing sprints. If you’re further along, add in some extra time for rumination or snacks.
Keep a habit
We’ve found the best way to tackle NaNoWriMo is to keep things consistent. At this point, you’ve probably found the best time of day for you to write, the time when your mind is firing on all cylinders. Try to keep writing at the same time, in the same place, with the same atmosphere every day (or get as close as you can). The more of a habit you develop, the faster and easier it will be to get into writing mode and slam out your word goal for the day.
Make sure you’re warming up
When we say that NaNoWriMo is a sprint, we’re not kidding. Just like you need to warm up your body before going for a run, you need to warm up your writing muscles before bolting toward your daily goal. This means quick writing sprints that aren’t a part of your novel, doing a classic writing exercise, or whatever else helps you get those creative juices flowing. And some physical wrist stretches wouldn’t be a bad idea either.
Don’t worry about getting it perfect
Nobody gets it 100% right on their first draft, and getting that perfect manuscript isn’t going to happen at the end of the month. NaNoWriMo is all about pushing yourself and getting a strong start for your next novel, not racing to publish your book the fastest. Don’t worry about editing on the fly, all of that will come later. Just focus on that word goal, even if you’re convinced that your writing is a blazing trash fire only fit for fueling your future tears shed over failed hopes and dreams. You can always fix it in December.
Get involved with your local writers
If you struggle with finishing things, or self-motivation, then join some local NaNoWriMo events! The writing community is filled with some of the best folks around (and we’re not biased at all, we swear). Make some writer friends, bounce ideas off each other, share a few coffees and convince each other that your headaches are due to stress and not the seven coffees you each just downed in twenty-eight minutes.
Have a little snack and a cup of cocoa (reward yourself)
Writing is an exhausting task. Make sure to take breaks and do things that fulfill you. Spend some time with the people you love, enjoy yourself, eat some good food, do whatever is good for the soul. Taking that time to rest will help you avoid burnout and keep to a consistent and manageable schedule. Slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.
Write what’s most interesting to you
After focusing on the central plot of your novel for two weeks and thousands of words, it’s possible that you’re getting a little tired of it. Or maybe there’s a scene you came up with three days ago that you feel like you can’t write because it’s at the end of the book and you have to get there linearly. Whatever it is, write what’s most interesting to you. Whether it be a subplot, a tangent, or a scene out of order, if you are excited about what you’re writing then whoever eventually reads your book will be excited about it too.
Those are our tips to help you finish NaNoWriMo strong! And remember, you know your process better than anyone else, so if there’s something that works for you that wasn’t on this list, or something on this list is antithetical to what works for you, then go ahead and do that! Everyone’s process is different, and no one thing works for everyone. But at the end of the day, make sure you’re having fun because we think that’s what writing is all about. And traumatizing your readers. But mostly the fun part.
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