NaNoWriMo – Getting over the finish line


This is part 4 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 or take a look at previous posts, ‘Getting Unstuck’ or ‘Give It Legs’. Today we’re looking at ways to keep the motivation and productivity up as you head towards the final part of the challenge. Let’s look how we can deal with those last minute wobbles and get you over the finish line.

I’m Behind – all is lost!

STOP. If you follow on Joined-Up on Twitter, you’ll recognise my refrain: It’s NEVER too late. Even if you think you’ve fallen too far behind to hit the 50,000 word target, don’t give up until the clock strikes midnight on November 30th. Whether 50,000 or 5,000, any new words you have written this month are words you didn’t have before. It’s all new material for your novel or project, which mean PROGRESS. Stay positive and keep going. Even crawling, you will ultimately reach your destination. The only way to guarantee failure, is to give up.

Don’t get snippy . . . yet!

No matter how tempted, you should resist brandishing the editing scissors until the first draft is complete – or at least until you’ve reached the end of NaNoWriMo. Why? Well, aside from the fact editing will be detracting from your word count, rather than adding to it, it also creates the perfect breeding ground for our old enemy . . .

Self-Doubt [cue melodramatic music]

Yes, it’s right about now that Mr Insecurity rears his ugly head and starts messing with your mind. Telling you your writing has about as much merit as dog vomit on canvas and that you’ve just wasted tens of thousands of words on a story that is Cirque De So Lame. You need to punch him in the face with your words and drive away as fast as you can in your Ford Momentum. No idea where I’m going with this metaphor, or why it’s so violent, but perhaps it’s because I’m trying to get a pre-emptive strike in before the old devil turns up again. The point is, standing still or taking stock plays right into his hands, so get your head down and KEEP GOING.

Want another reason you shouldn’t be editing yet?

If you’re still whining about how you ‘just can’t leave that baggy paragraph’ or ‘need to re-work that scene’, consider something else. We’ll be looking at editing in more detail on future podcasts and a little more in the final part of this blog series, but the first major edit will be a structural edit – which means you could be editing a paragraph, scene or chapter that doesn’t even make it to the next full draft.

There’s just so much to do . . .

Whilst the NaNoWriMo word count tools are useful, they can be intimidating – especially if you’ve fallen behind. You could be looking at a remaining target of several thousands of words. Forget that. Break it down into a daily target. If that still looks too challenging to fit around the remaining time and your personal schedule, try setting your next session target a little lower. Remember: Any words written, are words you didn’t have before you began the challenge.

Don’t do it alone . . .

If things are still proving difficult, remember there is a terrific community around NaNoWriMo. Aside from your local meetings, there are online groups, word sprints and an active support network on Twitter and Facebook. You can tweet Joined-Up @JUPodcast for extra help and encouragement and join the growing Facebook community. Our most recent show with Maria Smith has loads of NaNo tips and if you sign up to the free mailing list, you can download the first of our ‘inspirational 10 Tips’ PDFs to help you get across the line.

Tell us how you’re doing . . .

Maybe you aren’t struggling at all and have already sprinted to the end and are relaxing with a well-earned drink? Perhaps you have some of your own tips to share? Or are you full of despair and need to vent your frustrations? No problem – leave a comment below and we can work through it together.

Next week, in the final part of the series, we’ll be looking ahead to the next phase of your project as you work to complete your first draft and consider life ‘post NaNo’.




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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1 Response to NaNoWriMo – Getting over the finish line

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

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