• 4-minute read
  • 15th November 2020

7 Tricks for Catching Up If You Fall Behind on NaNoWriMo

So, we’re halfway through NaNoWriMo. Hopefully, your novel is well underway, but we know that it doesn’t always go to plan. Maybe you have put off writing for a few days, lost momentum, or are burned out.

If so, don’t fret! To help you get back on track, we’ve put together seven tricks for catching up if you fall behind on NaNoWriMo.

1. Make NaNoWriMo Part of Your Daily Routine

If you’ve fallen behind on NaNoWriMo, try making it part of your routine. Have a set time each day when you dedicate yourself to writing. And when you sit down to write, make sure you’re free of distractions!

This means switching off your phone, logging out of social media accounts, and letting those around you know that you’re getting your head down. Keep this up for the rest of the month, and you should make progress!

2. Change Your Location

If you’re struggling to write, try changing where you are writing.  Whether that’s working in a different room of your house, rearranging the furniture, or going to a coffee shop, a change of scene can help motivate you.

3. Outline Your NaNoWriMo

If you started NaNoWriMo with nothing but a blank page, a story idea, and a lot of enthusiasm, you may find that you get stuck later in the month.

This could be because you’ve lost track of what you’ve written. Or it could be because you don’t know where the story should go next.

Either way, writing a chapter outline could help. Summarizing what you’ve written so far will give you a sense of the progress you’ve made. And outlining the rest of your story will break it down into achievable steps, thereby giving you clear goals to strive for over the rest of the month.

4. Don’t Overthink It

When you are writing, try not to overthink it. You can worry about typos, badly worded sentences and plot holes after the end of the month. Allow yourself to make mistakes. And remember that nobody’s first draft is perfect, especially when it is written in only a month!

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For now, focus on hitting a daily word count and don’t get too bogged down in the finer details. If you keep writing every day, you’ll be in a much better position than you were at the start of the month.

5. Think Non-Linearly

Even if you’ve outlined your novel, and even if you’re not worrying about the fine details right now, you might still get stuck. Every writer does sometimes. But even if you’re stuck on one thing, you can always skip ahead.

The key here is that books don’t have to be written linearly. Maybe you’re stuck on some dialogue or a specific plot point, but you’ve got a great idea for the final confrontation with the villain. If so, simply move on.

You can always come back to the part you were stuck on later, but for now you can work on another part of the novel. Just keep on writing!

6. Try a Writing App

Sometimes, more drastic measures are required! Write or Die is a web-based app that lets you set a word count and time limit. If you slow down or stop writing, the screen turns red and makes some terrifying noises.

And if that doesn’t work for you, The Most Dangerous Writing App deletes everything you’ve written if you stop typing for too long. With that pressure, you’ll be reaching your word count targets in no time!

The Most Dangerous Writing App
“Hardcore mode” is possibly best avoided.

7. Don’t Worry About It!

Finally, if you’re really struggling to keep up with your writing commitments, don’t worry about it. It’s not the end of the world if you don’t hit your NaNoWriMo goal. The key is to not get disheartened and to write as much as you can over the rest of November. That way, you’ll still have made a strong start on your novel, and you can finish it off in your own time.

And whenever you have finished writing your novel, our expert fiction editors can help with the proofreading and editing process.

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