Surviving NaNoWriMo: Week 1

typewriterIt’s now the first week of NaNoWriMo, and if you’re participating, you might already be wondering how you’re going to survive this month. But don’t be discouraged! Here are my tips for surviving the first week of NaNoWriMo:

  1. Use your energy

The first week of NaNoWriMo is when it’s easy to feel excited and invigorated. You’re eager to write your new project and probably more energized. The key here is to use that energy as much as you can now, because it probably won’t last for thirty days. If you can write more than 1667 words a day right now, do it! Get as far ahead on your word count as possible. Later in the month, when you’re feeling tired or blocked or discouraged, you’ll be glad you did.

  1. Don’t get discouraged

Some participants write a lot of words during the first week of NaNoWriMo—as I said above, many take advantage of their energy and excitement right now to boost their word count goals. Some really fast writers finish NaNoWriMo in only a day or two! But if you’re not able to write that many words per day (like most of us), it can be really discouraging to see your buddies’ numbers go up. You may start to feel that you’re behind before you’ve even really begun, and may even be tempted to quit. But don’t compare your progress to theirs. What’s most important is focusing on YOUR book. Any progress you make this month, whether it’s 5 words or 100,000, is still progress. And even if you’re behind now, you still have plenty of time to catch up!

  1. Experiment

Week 1 is the best time to experiment with your manuscript. You might get a new plot idea on the first day, or suddenly have a burst of new inspiration. Now is the time to indulge those ideas and have fun! Later, when you’re struggling to hit your word count and muddling through the middle of the manuscript, you might not be as able to take detours. But in week 1, don’t forget to have fun with it and let your story take you somewhere unexpected.

  1. Be consistent

I’ve found that the number one benefit of NaNoWriMo and the number one easiest way to win it is consistency. NaNo gets you in the habit of sitting down every day (or nearly every day) and writing a set amount of words. Doing so will likely help you win, and if you can keep that habit going even after NaNo, it’s tremendously beneficial. But habits aren’t formed overnight. Right now, in week 1, is when it’s time to set the habit. Be as consistent as possible. Keep showing up to write. It can be easy, at this early stage, to think that it won’t hurt you to miss a writing session, that you can always make it up later. And while that may be true, skipping sessions now will only make it more likely that you’ll skip later, when you won’t have enough time to make up the words. Get in the habit of showing up to write now, so that it will be an instinctual habit by weeks 3 and 4.

What do you think? How do you survive Week 1? Let me know in the comments!

Interested in professional editorial services for your manuscript? Check out my Services page for more information about what I offer. I have an annual discount for NaNoWriMo participants!

This post is part of my Writing Craft series. For more info about planning, writing, and revising your work, check out the other posts in the series here, and follow the blog to see future posts!

Related Links:

NaNoWriMo Prep: Links and Resources

NaNoWriMo Prep: Brainstorming Story Ideas

NaNoWriMo Prep: Outlining Your Novel

NaNoWriMo Prep: Final Tips


One thought on “Surviving NaNoWriMo: Week 1

  1. foundmydarcy says:

    These are great tips! I’d add: try to connect to a local NaNoWriMo group or find a long-distance writing buddy. Having others there in the trenches with me has really helped me this year! :)


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