How To Keep Going With NaNoWriMo

As we reach the second half of November, that only means one thing: NaNoWriMo is half over. Yes, more than 50 percent of National Novel Writing Month has already flown by, and whether you're 50 percent done with your novel as planned or have fallen behind, chances are your stamina is wearing a bit thin and problems are mounting. After all, writing 1,667 words everyday can really take it out of a person! Fortunately, there are lots of things that you can do to keep yourself motivated and writing.

The middle of the month is a dangerous time for WriMos. You've already done so much writing, but unless you've actually gotten way ahead, none of your hard work buys you any favors in the weeks to come as word count goals continue increasing. In fact, even if you are ahead, it probably doesn't get you as much breathing room as you think it ought to. Those word count goals get big pretty fast. And it's easy to get tired and frustrated and feel like November 30 is still too far away and you're never going to make it.

But never fear! There are things you can do to keep yourself writing, even when it feels like you're not going to make it, like your story has gone hopelessly off-track, like it would be so much nicer to just give up and go back to your normal life. Take this to heart: Your normal life is for December. November is for writing. So if you're struggling, here are things that can help you keep going.

Unbridled Sense of Competition

If you have any competitive edge in you at all, let it get completely out of control. Forget all that stuff about the beautiful community of NaNo; no, instead ask yourself if you're going to let all these people beat you. The answer is no, you are not. So write!

That Asshole Who Said You Couldn't Do It

You know this person: you told them you were doing NaNoWriMo and they were all "Are you really sure you can handle that?" Are you going to let them say, "I told you so" on top of that? No. Then go write

That Asshole Who Said You Aren't a Real Writer

Chances are this was insinuated by some hipster glasses-wearing literary dudebro who quite obviously thinks he's going to write the next great American novel even though he has yet to complete a draft. And chances are he will not change his mind about you because you finished NaNoWriMo (pretentious literary dudebros hate the idea of anyone writing for fun). But you will still finish the month knowing that your novel is way ahead of his since you have an actual draft. So write!

You Have Already Come So Far And Sacrificed So Much

Have you had to cancel plans with your friends? Turned in a substandard math problem set? Skipped one too many showers, all for the sake of your novel? Well, whatever you've done, are you going to let all that go to waste? No. So write!

You Already Told All Your Friends

Everyone knows you're trying this. Imagine how silly you'll look if you fail. Everyone you know will probably hate you. Don't want that to happen? Then write!


Do you have coffee? Good. Go write.

That One Scene That You Loved

If you're like me, writing a novel at breakneck pace means a lot of the time you feel like what you're writing isn't very good and that can be discouraging. But there was also probably that one scene, or line of dialogue, or piece of world building, or that sudden epiphany about some aspect of your character that was just so cool and that you never would have figured out without writing all the other stuff, too. So do you want more of those moments? Good. So write!

The Glory of Your Region

Are you going to let those jerks in Canada (or just the next town over) write more than your fair home? No. Then write!

Making Your Pep Talk Writers Proud

Look at all these pep talk writers. They all wrote such inspiring things. Go read the things they wrote. Get inspired by the what they say and the fact that they took the time to write it for you. Then go write!

More Coffee

Is there coffee? No? Go get coffee! Do you have coffee now? Good, go write!


Are you stuck and don't know what to do next? Go check out the dares thread in the forums and find an element that catches your imagination, then figure out a way to make it work into your story. It doesn't have to make sense, it just has to be fun and get you writing and hopefully teach you something along the way. But most important it will get you writing. Go write!

Sheer Force of Will

You can do this. So just go force yourself to write if that's what it takes!

Bragging Rights For All Eternity

There are so many things that people can take away from you in this world: your lunch money, your healthcare, your ignorance about just how awful hairstyles can get. But no one can ever take your NaNo victory from you. For the rest of your life you will carry with you the knowledge that you can do this, and you can brag about it to your heart's content if that's what you want. Don't you want to be able to do that? So write!

The Happy Ending

You have put your characters through a lot so far, and you yourself have slogged through a lot of scenes that turned out to be not at all as much fun as you thought. Don't you both deserve to get to that awesome ending you can see on the horizon? Hell yeah you do! So write!

All The Coffee Ever

Go get coffee. Then write.

You can do it, WriMos! I believe in you!

Images: mpclemens/flickr; Giphy (15)