Friday, November 23, 2012

5 Ways to Catch Up with Your NaNo Word Count

WOOO!!! NANO!!! *Cheers* *Throws confetti*

Oh wait.

I'm going to be on vacation from Thanksgiving Day to Sunday night. Holy crap, holy crap. Not so fun now.

Many of us won't be getting much done on Thanksgiving Day due to family, friends, etc. To add on, we might be (or will be) in a hole when it comes to NaNo. Then, we must write frantically the next days to catch up.

Here are the ways to salvage your NaNo Word Count

1. If you know there is no way you will be able to write for a few days, PLAN AHEAD. I'm trying this right now, because I'm going to be hard of writing for three full days during Thanksgiving weekend. The trick is, you must plan ahead for this kind of stuff. The week or so before your planned absence, write 2.5K a day or more (depending on how many days you'll be MIA. I'm panicking for this 3 day absence. Help!).

2. Shoot for 2K a day. Things happen: social life, Thanksgiving, football, sleep.... Maybe you just want a day off. Or maybe one day you lose your laptop, or your power goes off (Superstorm Sandy, anyone?). The thing is, expect the unexpected. If you go for 1,667 words a day and you miss writing on November 29th, you'll have to write over 3,000 words the next day to get 50K. Even an extra 200 words a day accumulates to a 6,000 "safety" zone at the end of the month.

3. Do word sprints. The hardest thing for a writer is to write that first word. I usually surf on the Internet for an hour or so before I even write. Word sprints help. They force you to write on time, and in fact, last Tuesday during a 1k1hr with some other writers, I actually finished my word count BEFORE 1 a.m.! (That's insane for me. It was literally shocking.) I finished at 11.30, and to top it off, I wrote around 3,000 words. I was hesitant to do sprints, but I realize they  help a LOT if you are lagging, especially when you have only a week left to finish NaNo.

4. When you lag... write. I'm not sure how I feel about the "cheating" writing system (such as have your MC say everything with a lisp, or have one character ramble on) in order to up your word count. This is because this does not help your novel; in the end, we want good novels. I do, however, like the "cheating" method if you use it to your advantage.
  • Have one character 'speak' the entire plot outline. I actually used this when I wasn't sure where my character arc was going. This is especially helpful to NaNo novels because most of these novels are pantsed, and we all know this can be troublesome. Just throw in a, 'Ocula said, "___"' where the ___ is your plot outline. This helps your novel by providing it a plan, while raising your word count at the same time.
  • Write a bunch of back story. Have your characters meet in a circle and tell each other about their life stories, or even give a history lesson of your world. The only way for an author to create an illusion of reality is to, well, know what the heck is there. The reader does not need to know the details, but if you do, the reader will be able to tell. Trust me. (Think Tolkien and Rowling.)
  • Have fun! Writing is MUCH easier if you are writing something you enjoy. Please, if you wish, you can "cheat" and raise your word count but try making it (at least) partially beneficial to your story. It helps in the long run and you won't delete every bit of it in December. But all of this doesn't matter. Write unnecessary scenes if you love it. Describe a place in your world, branch into a "What if?" or anything you love. Have fun, and you will write much more -- and more importantly, you will love being a writer.

5. Just write. NaNo is an incentive. Don't lose sight of the fact that the main theme in NaNo is to write. Even if you are so far behind, even if there is no way you will "win" NaNo, keep writing. This month is a GREAT month for writers, so take advantage of all the good feelings going around! What's to be scared of? The fact that you'll write a lot? Don't worry too much about winning or losing. I need to tell myself this too, so don't think you are alone ;)

Have fun guys, and please, wish me luck in my three day absence! (I actually wrote this blog post last Tuesday.) I'm in the Smokies from yesterday through Sunday, and I hope my NaNo won't be too damaged. (I'm bringing some writing stuff, but I don't want to write in front of my cousins... awkward.) I'm going to try getting to everyone's blogs (if there I find Internet), but I apologize in advance if I don't :(

Happy Belated Thanksgiving (....and don't go crazy today with the shopping.....)!


  1. If you planned ahead, you'll be fine! I found getting just a little bit ahead some days saved me on days where I fell behind.

  2. Good advice! I always try to write 2k a day for that very reason! :) As a Canadian, we didn't have Thanksgiving to worry about, but I had to write report cards, so that hurt at the beginning :) I hope you're doing okay and that when you come back you can jump right into the swing of it! Good luck :)

  3. I admire people who can write so quickly. There is no way I could manage it no matter how many tricks you gave me.

    Good luck and I hope you beat NaNoWriMo.

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