Surviving NaNoWriMo; a Guide to the Late Starter

So it’s day two or three, and you haven’t written a single god-damn word.

What do you do;

A) Cry

B) Give Up

C) Cry and then Give Up


D) Follow these Five Tips for Surviving NaNoWriMo when you have no time to spare?

Well, it’s up to you… but I’d try D id you’re really keen on the idea of participating. 1)


First of all, and this one’s on the house, take a deep breath; I get it (every writer does) as we speak it’s nearly day three and I have not written a word. Why? Because I’m moving house, I have two jobs, and I have to keep my family and dogs more or less alive. I’m stressed about one hundred things, but NaNo ain’t one; I can write, of this I’m sure, and it may shock you to learn that I’m equally certain that YOU can write. All you need to do is follow these five steps and you will make progress.


  1. Make Time; and I do mean make it. Figure out if you’re a morning or an evening person and either get up early, or go to bed late. Sacrifice a little of your lunch break; writing as a career path is hard, and it needs (nay, deserves) dedication. If you can’t sacrifice and hour of your personal time to do it you shouldn’t stress about it. It’s hard, I know, especially if you have kids and responsibilities, but you need to slice out some time to actually do this if you, you know, want to do this.
  2. Drop the Red Pen; do not edit as you go. Think of this as a freeflow exercise which lets you get out all the ideas that have been percolating. For one month be a seat of the pants writer and let your mind empty itself. The end product will not be publishable, that’s a fair bet, but it will be a start and that’s enough.
  3. Organise; in almost complete contrast to my last point… do take the time before you start to think over where your story is and where it’s going. You don’t need a detailed game plan, but an overview of what you want to happen will give you the kind of connect-the-dots framework which can help to push through writers block.
  4. Take Care; there is less than no point in you doing this if it’s going to make you ill. Make time to write, but by god do not sit at your computer day and night without breaks. Eat, wash, brush your fucking teeth, and for the love of Jesus, Allah, Thor, and any God (or Gods) you believe in sleep. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for your editor. They deserve to read something with half a measure of coherence.
  5. Enjoy It; write about something that excites you, or it’s all for naught. Socialize, compare notes, laugh about your successes and definitely about your failures. NaNoWriMo is the most stressful and wonderful time of the year for many writers because it brings us all together, just don’t let it drive you into isolation.


To all you writers out there; if you need me I am here. You can talk to each other, you can talk to me. 


Lets crush it!


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