Writing Wednesday: 5 Ways Keep Up Your NaNoWriMo Momentum

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We’re well on our way to the end of November and if you’re still on track to complete 1667 words a day,  give yourself a pat on the back! Completing the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) challenge can be tough, and even with the support of the rest of the NaNoWriMo community it can be hard to keep up the pace. To help you get past the halfway hump and complete your goal, here are five pieces of motivation to support you through the rest of the month.

Give Your Character(s) a Challenge

NaNoWriMo isn’t just about challenging yourself to put 50,000 words on paper but to craft a story out of them. Right around the midpoint you may be finding yourself adding a bunch of “filler” as you approach the crescendo and ensuing conclusion. Get out of what the NaNoWriMo team calls the “mushy middle” by setting up a conflict, thereby raising the stakes and adding some momentum to the latter half of your story.

Divide Up Your Word Count

For many NaNoWriMo writers the beginning of the month is the easiest time to write as the challenge is fresh and the ideas flowing. Hopefully you’ve spent the first couple of weeks getting ahead of the 1667 words a day (on average) that are needed to achieve 50,000 by month’s end, and now you can recalibrate. Divide up your remaining words by your remaining writing days to see what exactly you need to accomplish in easier-to-manage goals than the 50,000 total.

Check out the Forums

The great thing about the NaNoWriMo community is they can absolutely empathise with what you’re going through. The Tips & Strategies message boards on the official NaNoWriMo website are an excellent resource for finding everything from facts and figures (to save you from hours of research) to motivational posters.

Unlearn the K.I.S.S. Rule

Normally, we are huge proponents of Keeping It Simple and would always suggest cutting down on unnecessary descriptive words (including pretty much every adverb, ever). However, NaNoWriMo is about writing 50,000 words in a month, not achieving the perfect novel within that same time period. Don’t be afraid to spell out numbers (suddenly 25 is worth two words) and to avoid hyphens. Once you’ve got your 50,000 words down you can work on editing and smoothing out your story beginning on December 1st.

Stay Positive

NaNoWriMo is meant to encourage your love of writing and inspire you toward a (somewhat) achievable goal. That being said, only about one-fifth of the entrants to the contest actually achieve a total of 50,000 words by the end of November. Work, life, family and other realities can get in the way of this admittedly monstrous undertaking and while you deserve a “congratulations” if you do meet the deadline you won’t be shamed if you don’t. The NaNoWriMo model of writing is certainly not designed for every writing style, and if it doesn’t work for you that doesn’t make the experience a failure. No matter the outcome of your November writing challenge, you will have gained a great deal of insight into not only the craft of writing but your creative needs and abilities as well.

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