Why, exactly, is National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, held in November? I mean, there’s Thanksgiving. And ’tis the season to start getting ready for the holidays. Plus for my fellow runDisney addicts, there’s the Wine & Dine Half Marathon in Disney World, so I need all the motivation I can get to finish.

Are you looking for ways to stay motivated during NaNoWriMo? Awesome, read on.


NaNoWriMo: How to Stay Motivated

Announce your intentions.

There’s nothing like the threat of public humiliation to motivate. So shout your NaNo participation plans from the rooftops. On Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. Tell your friends. Tell your family. Let your dog know.

Find comfort with other NaNo participants.

They’re everywhere! On the NaNoWriMo forums. In your home state. On Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook. Maryland, for example, has it’s own NaNo Facebook page. There’s also one for SCBWI members. A ton of writers, all going through the same mental angst as you.

Change up your environment.

If you mostly write at home, try going to a coffee shop or the library. Spruce up your desk with fresh flowers or a new candle. Write in your bedroom. Hide out in the basement. Haul your laptop to a book store. You get the picture.

Need some #NaNoWriMo #motivation? Try these tips. #amwriting #NaNoWriMo2016 Click To Tweet

Attend Write-Ins

Being around other writers who have their fingers moving will surely motivate you to get yours in gear! It’s easy finding local meet-ups. Just look for forums from your state and area on the NaNoWriMo forums or search Facebook groups for your area. Then grab your computer and GO! Just don’t forget your charging cord.

Bring out your competitive edge.

Yes, I know, this is not an actual competition. The only thing you’re competing against is your own mental demons, not thousand and thousands of other writers. However. Something happens to me when I see tweets and Instagram posts of updated words counts … especially if the writer posts them at, like, 8:00 in the morning. It makes me want to share a similar tweet, damn it, rather than wallow in my unproductive shame.

Is this healthy? Perhaps not. But if it ups your word count? Who cares.

Make Word Count updates an event

Oh my gosh. I love updating my stats on the NaNoWriMo page and seeing that pretty line go up on my chart. And badges! I love, love, love badges! Make this a highlight of your day. Do a little dance. Take a picture. Crack open a beer. Hey, you deserve it!

Reward thyself.

Weekly. Daily. Hourly, whatever. It can be as little as giving yourself a few M&M’s for every hundred words. Or that recorded episode of Walking Dead that you’ve been dying to see? Fine, watch away … after you get in your daily quota, of course. Been eying new boots? Verify your 50k word novel and buy them.

Last year, I upped the bribe game by pre-purchasing the NaNoWinner shirt … even before November began! Knowing that I a.) would waste $16.00 plus shipping, b.) would have a shirt completely worthless to me, and c.) would feel even more loser-ish pushed me to finish my words and be able to wear that bad boy. I plan on doing the same this year!


Find a Nag … err, Friend to pressure … err, motivate you.

You know, someone who will pester you daily with questions like … so, did you get your words in, huh, huh, huh? For me, I had the most excellent nag … err, friend. James, a fellow running buddy, sent me messages several times a week, asking for updates and getting on my case if I didn’t hit my daily goal. On days where I was behind on my word count, I’d cringe every time my phone send a notification, absolutely dreading his nosey, pestering snooping nags … which, of course, made me write even faster and therefore, finish.

So yeah. Nags are wonderful!

Revamp Your Plan

If you feel as though you’re struggling because you didn’t plan enough, then take a day to get back to basics. Rework your outline. Do more characterization work. Gather photos from the Internet for each character and see if your cast is lacking. Think about the core theme of your manuscript and how you’ve veered from that.  This additional prep work might cost you some time, but you will come back more focused and ready to write again!

Get a Grip on Life

Okay, we all know that NaNo is about forging ahead, chucking aside responsibilities like house cleaning and laundry for massive writing sessions. But sometimes life demands attention. And sometimes the mental stress of ignoring those demands makes it impossible to be creative.

So if necessary, take some time to get a grip on life. Pay bills. Shop for Thanksgiving dinner. Do your laundry because for God’s sake, those yoga pants are starting to stink.

Remember Your Goals

NaNoWriMo is a tough challenge. Borderline insane. But there must be a reason why you signed up. There’s has to be something about pounding out 50k words in one month that makes your heart thump with excitement. Before each writing session, think about your goals and why this one is important to you. Imagine how AMAZING it is going to feel when you see that glorious 50,000+ on your manuscript stats.

Think about how freaking awesome it is going to be verifying that manuscript.

And think about earning this little bad boy:


You can do this. I know you can. So stop reading this post and get back to work!

QOTD: How do you stay motivated during NaNoWriMo?

And be sure to buddy me at Laura Bowers so we can support each other!


Cross posted on As The Eraser Burns.

Leave a Reply