How to Finish NaNoWriMo in Five Days


Hello, everyone! You might have noticed my almost disappearance from the blogosphere.

As you might or might not know, it’s NaNoWriMo time. This stands for National Novel Writing Month — where you attempt the crazy. 50,000 words in thirty days. Or, if you’re like me, where you try to write 50,000 words in, um, five days. This roughly equates to 10,000 words a day, though there were some days where I wrote less, and some days where I wrote more. If you’re curious, here is what my statistics looks like, a day after finishing:


So, today, I thought I would share my top tips for completing NaNoWriMo quickly!

I’m going to begin by saying that finishing NaNoWriMo quickly is not for everyone. And that is just fine. We each have our own ways of writing novels, so whatever works for you, works.

  • Start at midnight. This one for me is especially important! Of course, this is not going to be applicable for everyone. Maybe you have school the next day. Or have to get up early. Or you’re just too tired. But getting down some words quickly is a) going to give you some confidence in going forwards, and b) accumulates you a nice word count for you to add to the next day.
  • Don’t, whatever you do, look back. If you’re going to look back at your work then most likely you’re going to want to change and edit things. NO. NO. DO NOT DO THIS. EVER. Save your depression over the crap you’ve written for a few months later when you decide to revise it.
  • Twitter, peoples, Twitter! There are ALWAYS people there who are willing to encourage and cheer you on. That makes all the difference if you ask me.
  • Surround yourself with inspiration. Books, movies (though these might be a distraction), pictures, music! Whatever inspires you to write, surround yourself with it.
  • Push yourself . . . but don’t push yourself too much. Take breaks! Congratulate yourself on reaching important milestones! Eat chocolate! (This is a must.)
  • Be prepared for a crappy manuscript. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT. Most likely, your novel is not going to be good. It’s going to be awfully flawed with plot holes and whatnot, but that’s okay. Let’s just calm down and remember that this is only a first draft, yes? That’s what editing is for. Now is your time to get the framework of your story down.
  • ENJOY IT. If you’re doing NaNoWriMo, you must be either a) slightly insane, b) love writing, or b and c, so enjoy it. Revel in the first draft silliness! Have fun! Join conversations about NaNo! Be crazy, inspired writers together!

So they are my tips for NaNoWriMo. It’s now seven days in, and hopefully you’ve been making some awesome progress. Celebrate (or commiserate) over your wordcounts in the comments below! :)


24 thoughts on “How to Finish NaNoWriMo in Five Days

  1. Awesome post! Wish I could work half as fast as you. A phenomenal effort to finish NaNoWriMo so quickly. I’m slowly passing 15k mark now, still aiming for a (hopefully achievable) 70k mark at the end.
    Congrats again!

  2. CONGRATS YOU!!! Really well done. If the novel is of high quality, even better! (so many bloggers have questions whether it’s possible to write a superb novel so fast. I think it depends.)
    Awww I remember when I used to write crazy like that, back at school. Now I have to be a boring adult and actually have a life that includes work and tax and stuff. *cross face* >=( Sooo, what is The Surreal, The Lovely And The Strange about?

  3. That is amazing! Also, these are great tips. I agree that you really can’t look back or else you’ll get nowhere. NaNoWriMo is definitely not the time to think about perfection. Ah, yes, being healthy during NaNo is good. Sleep is very good for your health so I would not advise staying up late for all, or practically all, of the 30 days in November. I would also add that planning is very essential to speedy drafting-or at least to people like me. You obviously have secrets that you have not revealed in this post, though. Like…ahem…having superhero powers.

    • Ha ha, oh yes, my superhero powers. Forgot to mention them! I agree with you about the sleeping — unfortunately, though, I’m a pretty bad insomniac, and for me, it just makes more sense to be up doing something (that will hopefully tire me out) instead of just lying in bed. :) Interesting you should say that about the planning! I reckon that depends on the writer, you know? I hardly planned for this one at all, actually — I was pretty much just making it up as I went along. ^_^

  4. Absolutely incredible Kara, you totally killed it! Even not being a writer, your tips are really handy for those doing the NaNo sprint. How do you prepare going in, do you already have an outline or know which direction your storyline will take? Or it it just type furiously and get all your ideas down, then you go through later and pick it apart a little?

    Incredible achievement! You’ll be the envy of every participant <3

  5. Be prepared for a crappy manuscript. <—- THAT. That is my biggest advice and agreement with you for ANY BOOK EVER. First drafts are always absolutely rubbish for me. I go as fast as possible and then I take longer for rewrites/edits. *nods*
    I finished in 7 days!! YAAAY! But I wrote 65K….and omg, I am so so so tired. I'm just going to collapse tomorrow and not even open a word doc. I'm going to just read and read and reward myself with copious episodes of Leverage or something.

  6. I think the most I have ever written in one day is 5,000 words and I felt totally drained after. I would love to be able to write that much in one day but unfortunately I have other responsibilities. But Congratulations, completing NaNo in 5 days is a huge achievement, and these tips are great.

  7. I thought Cait was crazy for finishing NaNo in a week. Turns out, there are people crazier than her! No, really, that’s absolutely brilliant. Congrats! I procrastinate way too much (what’s your advice on that?!) so finishing in a month is challenging enough ;__;

  8. I’ve only done Nanowrimo once, but I still try to get through my manuscripts in a short period of time—it’s just that November is not the best month of the year for me to get working. Nonetheless, you are so right about so many of these tips… ESPECIALLY the tip about being prepared for a crappy manuscript. I think that’s a huge fear of mine, to realize that I’ve written something composed of crap and nothing else, but sometimes we have to remember that it’s not the fact that it’s crap, but that we can turn it into something else. Congrats on completing Nanowrimo!

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