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Tips for completing NaNoWriMo

"There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you." ~Maya Angelou

Hi there!

Guess what? I wrote 50,000 words (or 120 full pages) in 30 days, meaning YES, I completed NaNoWriMo! You may have already seen this if you were following along on my journey over on Instagram.

Curious about my draft?

Well, guess what? So am I.

This draft, this book, is quite bad. I know that we are our own worst critics, but my goodness! What is this!

But, I'm giving myself grace, since I have not attempted book writing, nor have I actually followed through, since my senior year of high school, or four years ago.

Also, the key of NaNoWriMo is to write bad, to not go back and edit to perfection, but to churn out as many words as possible to build that habit. While I am taking a temporary break from writing due to creative burnout, as well as finals next week, I am surprised to find that I yearn to write!? That habit of (almost) daily writing has stayed with me!

I'm not going to lie and say that accomplishing NaNoWriMo was easy and that by providing the following tips, it'll be a breeze for you. Also, I'm not at all saying that I know how to perfectly achieve this goal. (I had to write 12,000 words in 3 days to catch up and actually win.) However, I do believe that with these tips I will share, showcasing what helped me push through, it may assist you for next year, or with any other writing goal you have!

Tips for completing NaNoWriMo

1) Have a support system

This is, by far, probably the most important tip. I and some folks from my creative writing club would meet up about once a week, or call via discord, to write together and discuss plot holes or frustrations with one another. Each day, we would send our total word count to the group chat, which motivated me to actually write that day. By having that support system, and generously receiving guidance when I felt like giving up (especially when I got very behind) was a huge key factor of me pushing through.

My boyfriend, Jared, as well, was always there to listen to me rant about the state of my WIP, and encouraged me to complete the goal. And people on Instagram would direct message me, motivating me and asking me about my WIP, which was so nice to hear! I couldn't have been more grateful for these wonderful people who believed in me.

2) Schedule when you're going to write

As a college student, my daily schedule is occasionally terribly disorganized. (But thankfully, classes have officially ended, clearing up my schedule big-time!)

For instance, Monday and Wednesday I was busy from 9am-9pm, whereas Tuesday and Thursday I was busy from 11am-5pm but either run in the morning or at night depending on my energy levels and what my body was telling me. This made a difficult to figure out when I would write for an hour (how long it took me, on average, to write 1,667 words). However, I would force time in, just as I could force time in for relaxation and running, where I could. I would write down in my schedule when exactly I planned to write (ex. first thing in the morning before breakfast but not before coffee, of course; during my hour break between work and club; or after dinner instead of watching TV), and would push myself to follow through with that as though it was a priority, because, well, it was!

Eventually, writing daily became habitual and instinctively I'd plan out time to write.

3) At the end of each writing session, write:

1) What you enjoyed writing most this session

2) What you're most excited to write next session

3) What you're most scared to write next session

I am a panster, so I don't plot out my book beforehand (*gasp* I know). Normally, I am okay with writing blindly and following my characters' decisions. However, with writing so much in so little time, I burned out quickly and had a difficult time pushing through blocks. Doing this at the end of each writing session helped me think about my book while away from it, decide how to write that next scene as well as overcome any fear or dread. When I sat down to write, I'd know just what to do!

4) Remember why you started/visualize yourself completing the goal

There were so many times when I almost gave up. I asked myself, "What am I even doing?" and quite honestly, felt embarrassed for embarking on such a silly goal. Also, because my writing was so horrendous, the story so everywhere, it was difficult to motivate myself to keep writing it.

In those times, I would think back to my past self, who so badly wanted to write another book, complete another first draft by the end of the year. The girl who dreams of becoming the next Stephen King, of making a liveable income on writing stories, the task she loves greatly. Keeping that promise to myself, I continued forward, not wanting to let my past self down.

I would also visualize what it'd feel like (very satisfying, indeed) to write "the end" and move on to the editing phase. This would further propel me to write toward the finish line!

Referring back to this blog post covering my first 5,000 words, also assisted me.

5) Give yourself grace, and do what you can

Writing 50,000 words a day is no joke. Therefore, give yourself grace when aiming to complete NaNo or any other writing challenge. There were a few days when my mental health took a toll, or I was too burnt out on classes and work to put my energy into my book. While this made me get behind in my word count, I was able to put myself first and return with a sharp and ready mind! Thanks to the handy-dandy system NaNo's website has, I knew exactly how many words to write each day to catch up easily.

Writing daily, I've learned, is key to building a strong writing habit. But, if you need to take a break? Take. A. Break. (Just don't step away entirely!)

Check out this video for an incredible tip I use with most of my habits!

And check out my most recent post on how to form endurance for writing practices.


The fact that I completed NaNoWriMo for the first time ever? It feels so surreal. And if I could do it? You can surely do it.

I hope this post helped/motivated you, and I wish you the best of luck with all of your writing endeavors! :)

Probably writing,


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