NaNoWriMo: The Home Stretch

NaNoWriMo: The Home Stretch

by Jamie K. Schmidt
November 24, 2020

Hello NaNoWriMo-ers! You are word writing warriors. The end is in sight. Don’t slow down now. It’s almost over. By the end of today, you should have 40,008 words done on your novel. That’s fewer than 10,000 words to the finish line. But even if you haven’t kept up with the daily word count, it ain’t over until it’s over.

By this time, you’re probably sick of writing, sick of the book, or just plain sick because you’re so far behind. That’s all completely normal. But you are closer to writing “The End” to your novel than you were at the beginning of the month. Don’t beat yourself up for not writing every day or if you’re stalled. You can still do this.

Concentrate on what made you start this journey in the first place.

That’s your motivation. That hasn’t changed. Also the NaNoWriMo municipal liaisons and the forums on the Nano website is chock full of ideas and helpful hints on how to make your word count goals. Just don’t spend too long reading when you should be writing.

The hardest part is starting the day’s writing. Once you sit yourself down at the keyboard and concentrate, that’s half the battle. If you’re finding it hard to find the time to write, reflect on the strategies that worked for you in the beginning of the month. If you’re finding it hard to come up with ideas, challenge yourself to write a scene between your characters that is pure fun. Find the joy in writing again, if it’s become a drudge. If you are overwhelmed with the word count, break it down into manageable chunks.

One way is to hang a dry erase board or pin up a poster board and have a word count goals posted by either 100, 500, or 1,000 words. If you are caught up, you can write 1,000 on ten sticky notes and each time your write a thousand words, you are one step closer to the goal. It feels great to peel off the sticky note and crumble it up in your palm. If you’re further away from 50,000-words, you can write 100 all over the dry erase board and then have fun wiping them off as you hit those mini goals.

It's also not uncommon to start to feel like you’re burning out, keeping up the constant pace of the month. If that’s the case, you need to schedule in breaks and downtime, in addition to writing time. One productive way to do that, while keeping your head in the writing game is to read some writing theory books about the things that might be blocking you from writing. I’ve listed some helpful books below in the additional resources section. Just don’t get bogged down with theory when you need to be writing.

As much as we don’t want this to happen, and we’re going to do everything in our power to cross the 50,000-word threshold by the end of the month, we could fall short in our goal. If that’s the case, keep in mind that none of this writing or the time spent writing was a waste. If it takes you another month or two to finish a first draft, that still makes you a winner—you’ve finished a book. A lot of people want to write a book and not many people actually do. So don’t give up if you think you’re not going to finish by November 30th, you’ve got December 31st and beyond to tell your story to its completion.

And if (WHEN!) you do finish 50,000-words by next week:

CONGRATULATIONS!

Take a month to enjoy it and relish in your success. But you’re not done. Not by a long shot. Your next goal will be to edit and refine the wondrous scattering of words on your pages and polish them up to perfection before sending it out to an editor or an agent, or self-publishing it.

Related links
Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
The Heroine’s Journey by Gail Carriger
Story Genius by Lisa Cron
Dear Writer You Need to Quit by Becca Syme


USA Today bestselling author, Jamie K. Schmidt, writes erotic contemporary love stories and paranormal romances.  Her steamy, romantic comedy, Life’s a Beach, reached #65 on USA Today, #2 on Barnes & Noble and #9 on Amazon and iBooks.  Her Club Inferno series from Random House’s Loveswept line has hit both the Amazon and Barnes & Noble top one hundred lists. The first book in the series, Heat, put her on the USA Today bestseller list for the first time, and is a #1 Amazon bestseller.  Her book Stud was a 2018 Romance Writers of America Rita® Finalist in Erotica. Her dragon paranormal romance series has been called “fun and quirky” and “endearing.” Partnered with New York Times bestselling author and actress, Jenna Jameson, Jamie’s hardcover debut, SPICE, continues Jenna’s FATE trilogy.

Are you ready to start writing your book? Let us help! Show the Institute for Writers a sample of your work here.

Comments

Kelli Panique - Assistant to Katie Davis
November 30, 2020

Way to go, Tiffany!

Tiffany Dickinson
November 25, 2020

Thanks, Jamie! I love the idea of writing "1,000" on a bunch of sticky notes and crumpling them up when done. Also writing 100's all over the whiteboard and erasing would be really helpful. For the first time in three attempts, I am closing in on the NaNo goal (42,000 words so far). I'm just thrilled I stuck with it. Good luck everyone!

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