Give Yourself A Nudge During NaNo [NaNoWriMo Prep]

November is the official “NaNoWriMo” month. There’s no flexibility of choosing your word count like the Camp NaNo months. If you’re in it, you’re into write 50,000 words. No more, no less. (Well, technically you can write more or less, but that’s beside the point…)

During Camp NaNo you can write 10,000 words if you choose. Then you have to write about 334 words a day. That’s a pretty big difference compared to writing 1,667 words a day for a 50,000-word goal.

That difference can make it easy to get behind in your word count.

November is a busy month. We just get over Halloween, then there’s Thanksgiving (where I am), then begins the various Winter holidays. Everyone has either work or school (or both) during November. It’s just an all-around busy time of the year.

That’s why I’m here to tell you to write more than your daily goal.

Do A Little Extra During NaNoWriMo

I try to write 2,000 words a day for three reasons: One, because I like even numbers and two, because I think 2,000 words is a good length for one chapter.

The third reason is that I like to get a little ahead of the game. 2,000 words compared to 1,667 is an extra 333 words. It’s not much, but it’s something.

There will be days when you feel like you can’t write anymore. There will be days when you’re so busy that you write less than 1,667 words or you don’t write at all.

Allow yourself to write that little bit extra each day, even if it’s only 50 or 100 words. If you write a little extra each day, it’ll add up. You’ll finish earlier and you’ll be able to allow yourself some cheat days here and there if you need it.

It’s easier said than done, but if you get yourself into the mentality of writing 1,800 words as opposed to 1,667, it should come easier with each day. Even if you add an extra 50 words one day and then able to add an extra 75 words the next day.

Giving yourself that extra nudge will really pay off in the long run, especially if you’re on a roll with your writing.

This may not make sense to everyone, but it works for me and I think it’s a great way to get a little ahead, especially in the first week. Because we all know that second week of NaNo is the hardest.

Do you typically write the standard 1,667 words? Or do you try to go a little above and beyond when you can? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

30 thoughts on “Give Yourself A Nudge During NaNo [NaNoWriMo Prep]

  1. I definitely agree with writing more than the alotted amount. I’ve been able to finish very early, which gave me a lot of free days to write more or plot more or find plot holes/fix characters etc. Nudge yourself to the next level! (or something more inspiring)

  2. Great post — I agree, write more today if you can, because you never know what will happen tomorrow. I never sit down to write a certain number of words, though. I sit down to write a scene, or a chapter, and if I have time after that’s done, I write another one. And if I’m still on a roll, I keep going with the next scene. I do keep track of the word count, but for me it’s all “time in chair” commitment rather than words per session.

    • That makes sense. I write chapters at a time too. I don’t like stopping in the middle of chapters. My chapters are typically around 2,000 words and since NaNo is “1,667” words a day, I always aim to write 2k a day. If a chapter is more, great. If it’s less, I’ll just try to write another chapter time (and focus) permitting.

  3. I usually write as much as I can in the time I have, once I get to my writing time for the evening. As long as the day hasn’t taken enough of a toll on me to cause me to want to stop at 1667, I will just keep going until midnight, when I stop to update the site. Usually I have enough time to get anywhere from 1667-3000 words in, and then for those days that I don’t have as much (or any) time, I have that buffer.

    I actually try to stop in the middle of scenes, because it’s easier to pick backup and start going next time. It doesn’t always work, but it’s easier when I look at the clock, and it’s 11:55, and it will take me a while to finish the scene. I just stop and save.

    It’s a very good tip though, and can be a helpful way to build up how much you can write in a day in general.

    • That’s a good idea. Do you stop at midnight as an end time or simply because of updating the website? You can edit the word counts in case you forget to add your words one day.

      I can’t stop in the middle of a scene… I have before when I’ve needed to and I agree that it is easier to pick it back up (sometimes). But I like ending my scenes or chapters. It makes me feel like I wrote something whole in a way, lol.

      • I stop to update the website, and also usually take a break (longer than the shorter breaks I may take between sprints during my writing time). Then if I don’t have to get up too early the next morning, I do often write for another hour or so, which is one of my mental tricks I like to use, because when I get to my writing time the next evening, to already have some of the words for the day done makes me feel more relaxed.

        I remember how glad I was when they added in the ability to edit the daily word counts. I don’t remember when that was, but before that, I remember being so annoyed if I didn’t get the site updated before midnight, because it bothered me when the graph was inaccurate.

        I understand what you mean about stopping in the middle of a scene. I balked at the idea, and especially at the idea of stopping in the middle of a paragraph or sentence. I don’t think I’ve ever stopped in the middle of a sentence, but now if I reach the end of a timed sprint and I’m in the middle of a paragraph, I don’t care; I just stop.

        • Ah, yeah! That’s a good idea. So, you’re a night-owl writer? I’m an early-bird, lol.

          Yes, me too! I’d keep track of my daily words in my planner, but the graph would be so off. Zero words one day and then 4,000+ the next… it looked weird.

          See, I’m the type of person who would shut off the timer and tell it “one more minute,” and keep going until I finished my thought, lol.

          • I’m definitely a night-owl writer. I can’t even function before 9 AM…sometimes later than that.

            I used to do that–finish even after the timer. And I do still do that sometimes when I’m using Write or Die. But I think I trained myself to do it less often when I started writing along with the @NaNoWordSprints Twitter feed, and I wanted to tally up my word count and tweet it out when the time was up. I might finish the sentence, but rarely more than that now.

            • I wake up between 5:30 and 7 every day, lol.
              I don’t typically do the NaNo sprints because I can’t write in that small block of time. I usually set an hour for myself and I’m able to just go with it, especially if I have the house to myself.

              • Sometimes I go to bed at 5:30… That may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I totally don’t get early birds. Sometimes I wish I *was* one, but at this point, I can’t even imagine it.

                • Oh gosh… I couldn’t stay up that late, lol. I used to be a night owl and there are nights where I do stay up until midnight or so, but I still wake up at the same time because that’s just what my body is used to.

  4. Hey Rachel, That is a great thought. it gives you so much motivation from inside when you write a little extra than alotted. I would be interested to do NaNoWriMo and I’m very much exited to take up this challenge.

  5. Great post! NANO, uhg. My goal is 2000 words a day. It is generally always my goal. I have been trying to do this for 11 years! I will do it this year… It’s almost like the feeling of being slapped repeatedly.

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