NaNoWriMo – Getting Unstuck!


This is part 2 of our special NaNoWriMo blog series. National Novel Writing Month takes place every November and, if you missed it, you can find more information in the first part of the series. Today we’re looking at what to do when you get stuck – which is almost guaranteed to happen at least once during the month.

It was going so well . . .

At this stage of the month – hopefully – you’ll be up to your eyes in words, scenes, ideas and characters. You’re flying along and then . . . BAM! Things grind to a halt. Maybe you’re unsure of how to get from one scene or chapter to the next?  Perhaps you’re struggling with how to get your protagonist out of the fix you’ve put them in? I’ve been there.  You’re staring at the page, eyes flicking between the last sentence you wrote and the clock on the wall. You’re running out of time!! But, in the words of The Hitch Hiker’s Guide To The Galaxy . . . DON’T PANIC! Remaining calm and taking stock is the first step to keeping things on track.

Keep Moving!

This one is easy and the solution is liberating: Move on. Simple as that. Stuck on a chapter, bogged down in a scene? Skip to the next bit you want to work on. This is ugly, low down and dirty first draft stuff. It can have more holes than a teabag. It doesn’t matter. Move on and fix it later. Don’t give yourself an excuse to stop – KEEP GOING! For more tips around this theme, have a read of my post KEEP MOVING – WRITE OR DIE!

A Time(r) To Focus . . .

There’s nothing like a deadline to focus the mind and it’s one of the reasons NaNoWriMo works so well – only 30 days to write 50,000 words. But, if you’re anything like me, you need the thrill of taking things up to the wire. It’s why I used to leave all my school homework until the night before it was due in. So, if days and weeks don’t provide the impetus you need, try using a timer and writing in short bursts. I find 15 minutes can be very effective. Set the timer on your phone, alarm clock or kitchen timer and . . . GO! Sheer terror and the sound of a ticking clock is an almost full-proof way to shake off that procrastination.

Share your tips . . .

That’s just a few ways to loosen your rusty writing joints, but I’m sure you have your own methods from certain alcoholic drinks to sitting on a lucky cushion. Well, post a comment below, share your Nano experiences and Let’s Get Joined-Up! Don’t forget to follow the blog and subscribe to the podcast for more writing inspiration, tips and advice. We have a special bonus episode of the podcast coming on Tuesday Nov 13th – so subscribe now!


About Wayne

Editor and Soundman for MGL Media (@mglmedia) and currently completing debut novel 'Safe Hands'. Love Writing and hosting The Joined Up Writing Podcast. Follow @MrKelly2u or @jupodcast on Twitter and say hello.
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3 Responses to NaNoWriMo – Getting Unstuck!

  1. Pingback: NaNoWriMo Tip – Give the story ‘legs’! | The Joined Up Writing Podcast

  2. Pingback: NaNoWriMo – Getting over the finish line | The Joined Up Writing Podcast

  3. Pingback: Life after NaNoWriMo – Finish The First Draft | The Joined Up Writing Podcast

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