NaNoWriMo Tips: Surviving the Month

“I’m writing a book. I’ve got the page numbers done.” ~ Steven Wright

I gave a brief introduction about NaNoWriMo a couple days ago. While I touched on the craziness, I neglected to mention that all this is going on while I am in school and working full time. I know, I won’t have much of a social life in November, I mean between NaNoWriMo AND Christmas movies on Hallmark my weekends are booked!

It can be difficult to juggle, or to find the time. Ironically for me, my life has generally been about one big deadline, whether it is school, skating, or writing. In November the deadlines are a bit bigger and much more personal.

This is the ninth time I have attempted NaNoWriMo. The fifth year I have taken it seriously, as in come hell or high water I am planning to finish, or at least in the case of some of my novels in the past, I will at least reach fifty thousand words, if not surpass it.

It isn’t easy.

But like Nike’s motto. You have to “Just Do it!” Sitting down at the computer is the hardest part. Here are some tips that have helped me in the past and I will be using this month.


Get dressed

I know this sounds trite and as writers we can spend the whole day in our Pajamas. Part of the luxury of being a writer right? Many studies have been done, including the Wall Street Journal that dressing in a suit or blazer can actually better productivity, help negotiations, and even boost critical thinking.

in competitive, winner-take-all situations, wearing more formal attire can send others a signal “about you being successful and real confident in whatever you’re doing.”

While black tie might be pushing it. Get out of those PJ’s and don some clothes on and let the productivity happen!

Work out

This might sound counter intuitive. Shouldn’t you just be writing 24/7?  Once again studies have shown that by exercising you are improving blood flow to the brain which boosts memory as well as focus. Those wonderful ideas you have will be sharper and much more coherent. I also always try to get up early to go for a run. It is usually when ideas come to me and when I can think things out. It prepares me for a day at my computer. It also helps when I hit a wall to get up and move around for five minutes.


While my Type A self loves a good ol’ schedule, the other side of Gemini personality also realizes that not all things go according to plan. Yet, putting aside a chunk of time each day to get some writing done is a good idea. It lets your mind know that you are in writing mode.

Have brain fuel

I am not going to say step away from the reeses and eat some broccoli. We all got to do what we can to get through this month. That means if Reeses makes you think better, have them. If you survive on coffee drink it (just please also drink water, okay my mom in me is done) after all I am pretty sure most of our blood becomes eighty percent coffee anyway during this month.

Word Counts

Word counts are important. Their are numerous websites including NaNoWriMo that offers suggestions on how to break down your word count goals daily and/or weekly. They are a great way to keep you on track so in the last week of November you aren’t freaking out that you have twenty thousand words left.

Cut yourself some Slack

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t reach your word count. We all have days where we are much more productive then others. It is okay, If you fall short, chances are, you will pick up somewhere else, especially depending on what you are writing.

Just Write

This is the most important (aside from having fun). While yes it is a competition. The objective isn’t to get frustrated or curse life (though that may happen) it is to write. Sit down and write. Get the words out.

Do you have any tips for NaNoWriMo?

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