NaNoWriMo Survival Guide // How to be The Most productive and not die of frustration during the holy month of writing!

Oh, look at me—the newbie writer who has never participated in NaNoWriMo before pretends to be an expert at giving writing advice! So reliable!

I am by no means a pro at writing, but I’ve compiled a list of things I want to keep in mind during the holy month of writing—and I thought why not share it with others!

Althrough the orange potato who’s currently in office would probably call this post:

Originally, I wasn’t planning on participating in NaNoWriMo because of my busy uni schedule (and the fact that I’m so new to writing). However, I was infected by the positive energy surrounding NaNo everywhere I looked!

Blogger friends started sharing their ideas for their NaNoWriMo WIPs, everyone and their mother was talking about it on Twitter and my brain wouldn’t let me rest when it came to one of my novel ideas!

SO HERE I AM. READY FOR NANOWRIMO TOMORROW (or as ready as I can be with almost no prepping and plotting done *oops*).

This post is my very own personal NaNoWriMo survival guide aka how to deal with all the stress, emotions, nervous breakdowns, anxiety, insomnia, panic attacks AND MUCH MORE.

If you’re like me, you’ll probably experience all of these things at least 5 times a day during the next couple of weeks of writing—HOW FUN—but you are not alone! Enjoy.

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create your perfect writing space

Having a set writing space that you can go to whenever you want to write is probably the most important thing to consider when thinking about preparation for NaNo.

Same as your perfect reading space, your own writing space can help you get your juices flowing! Whether your work best at your desk, your bed, the floor, in a café, outside, in a library—pick a place where you are known to be the most productive in!

I am not here to tell you how “THE perfect writing space” is supposed to look or how you should set it up. Everyone has different preferences and places in which they feel most comfortable in.

If you decide to work at your desk and you like it messy, go for it! If you prefer to lie on your bathroom floor with your feet propped up on the toilet, do it!

The only thing that matter is that YOU like the place and it motivates you to get a lot of writing done.

Personally, I am most productive at my desk. It’s pretty messy 99% of the time, but on the rare occasion that it does look clean, I prefer working there over anywhere else!

I like to set up my laptop, have a bottle of water and/or a hot cup of tea near me, some snacks for when I’m hungry inbetween word wars or long writing sessions, and a nice instrumental playlist playing in the background (although that one depends on my mood).

What works for me might not work for you so CHOOSE YOUR OWN PERFECT WRITING SPACE AND SET IT UP THE WAY YOU WANT TO.

3 Bouquetmake smol goals for yourself

For NaNoWriMo, I think it will be important to stay organised and have smol tiny goals you want to accomplish for yourself throughout the month.

Yes, the ~official~ goal is to reach 50,000 words, but not everyone can or wants to reach that goal. And even if you do, it’s always easier to divide your big goal, which you want to accomplish at the end of NaNo, into smaller goals that you can work off along the way.

I work best with to-do lists. I like to write up everything I have planned at the beginning of a day, and crossing out things I’ve accomplished as I go.

There isn’t a day where I DON’T write a new to-do list—I’m literally obsessed and most of the time I write several to-do lists a day! Some of them have daily goals, some weekly and some are just random things that I want to get accomplished whenever.

For NaNoWriMo, I will create several daily/weekly/general to-do lists with goals I want to achieve. This method might not be for everyone but it’s what keeps me the most organised and productive.

These are some of my NaNoWriMo goals (feel free to copy, you might get inspired :P):

  • write 20k words
  • try to write every day
  • do word wars with my writing buddies!!!
  • cry because WRITING. IS. HARD.
  • have my ending figured out
  • cry
  • cry some more
  • did i say cry???

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find a supportive group of writing friends

Having a group of friends who are writers themselves can be a huge help when it comes to your own writing!

Writing buddies are there to encourage and support you, to ask for opinions on your own writing (and the other way round), to bounce ideas back and forth, to help when you’re stuck, and generally to not feel like you’re going through the whole ordeal alone!

And most importantly, they’re good for WORD WARS.

Word wars are honestly the BEST. thing. ever. If you’re feeling stuck or you can’t get yourself to write, ask a friend to word war with you (eg. for the next 15 minutes). It’ll give you so much motivation to just write wriTE WRITE as many words as possible!

Obviously this is just a playful competition but it’s still a great feeling when you compare your word counts and you end up on the winning side *winks*

My dear friend May has introduced me to wars and it’s SOOO much fun! I swear I get more writing done during word wars than any other time lol.

I’m also in a writing group chat on Twitter with a bunch of fellow bloggers/writers AND I’M ALREADY SO EXCITED FOR OUR WORD WARS AND UPDATES AND THE SUPPORT. IT’S GONNA BE GREAT.

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reward yourself

Let me repeat myself here so you don’t forget this one:

REWARD YOURSELF.

Or as Tom and Donna from Parks and Rec would say—TREAT YO SELF.

Rewards are so so so important when it comes to ANYTHING. If you set yourself a goal of writing 10k words in a day, make sure to find something to look forward to after you’ve accomplished that goal.

Rewards can be:

  • CAKE
  • ICE CREAM
  • PIZZA
  • *insert all kinds of yummy foods here*
  • taking a bath
  • dancing it out
  • petting your dog
  • or cat
  • or whatever animal you have in your house
  • (i don’t have any i’m so #EMO)
  • a face mask
  • did I say food???
  • a trip to Paris
  • or Rome
  • or California
  • sleep
  • a nap
  • sleeping
  • power napping
  • going to sleep
  • #goodnight

It doesn’t matter what your reward is going to be, as long as you make sure to regularly reward yourself!

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change things up!

I’ve talked all about having a set work space and schedule, and setting goals for yourself—but sometimes your creative juices just don’t want to flow because things have started to feel repetitive!

If you are tired of sitting at your desk every day from 8-10pm, switch it up! Move to your bed and write from 4-6pm! If you’ve been writing 2k words every day but your hands were itching to write more, do it!

Obviously it’s nice to have a set schedule so you’re getting used to having a regular writing scheme and it becomes a routine. However, if you’re feeling bored or restless after 3 weeks of the same old—CHANGE IT UP.

Having a new schedule, a different work space or just a different beverage to drink while you’re writing will give you a fresh mind and new motivation to tackle your WIP!

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don’t force yourself!!!

I cannot stress this enough—if you don’t feel like doing something, DON’T DO IT.

I am very much a mood reader and writer and… person??? Mood person??? Is that a thing???

What I mean by that is that I might be in the mood to write in the moment, but the next day I’d rather eat glass than open my Word document! My mood changes so quickly and I’ve learned to accept that it’s okay to have a change of plans!

This post is a perfect example for that—I’ve had the idea for this NaNoWriMo survival guide since the beginning of October. I always told myself to write and schedule it so it’s out of sight out of mind I guess.

Guess how long it took me to finally sit down and write this post??? 3 weeks.

Sometimes your brain just isn’t up for whatever you had planned to do in a day. If tomorrow you’re sitting in front of your computer thinking “what the hell am I doing here??? I don’t even want to write right now“—DON’T DO IT.

It’s totally fine to NOT write if you don’t feel like it.

And it is totally fine if you’ve been getting excited about NaNoWriMo all month, and suddenly you’re in a slump and you don’t want to write all month. THAT’S FINE. NO ONE IS GOING TO JUDGE YOU OR HATE YOU FOR IT. I get it. We all get it.

I’m just saying it again; Don’t ever force yourself to do something you don’t want to do!!! ❤

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That’s it for my NaNoWriMo survival guide! For a newbie writer, I think I did quite well with giving writing advice and tips for the next month! YAYYY.

Oh and feel free to add me as a writing buddy on NaNoWriMo! I’m booknerdjackie on there and you can find me here!

I hope you enjoyed this post and could find things that you relate to or resonate with!


Will you be participating in NaNoWriMo? What goal do you want to achieve this year? Is this your first time participating as well? If not, do you have any more tips or tricks for all the newbies out there? Have you done ANY plotting or prepping for the novel you’re going to write this month at all? What does your perfect writing space look like? Let’s chat in the comments!

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26 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Survival Guide // How to be The Most productive and not die of frustration during the holy month of writing!

  1. THIS WAS HELPFUL. no sarcasm. it honestly was. it does NOT seem like you’re a newbie writer. this is actually my first time doing NaNoWriMo too!! And I’m probably going to use a lot of tips from this post (especially the writing space and smol goals one because omG I NEED A GOOD SPACE TO WRITE!!) the only bad thing is that i have no writer friends to do word wars with ;-;

    also HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HAHAHA thanks Aris ❤️ wow I feel like the most cliche newbie writer ever lmao BUT THANKS FOR NOT THINKING THAT. Oooooh YAY good luck to you then! I’m so nervous about NaNoWriMo because I feel like everyone already knows what to do and stuff and I’m the newbie who has no clue about anything XD

      BUT OMG WE CAN BE WRITING BUDDIES!!! What’s you NaNo name??? And do you have Twitter or Google Hangouts??? We could chat there and plan word wars ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. No prob, bob 😀 Thanks!! Also I relate – so many people are flailing over outlines and brainstorming and plot and i’m in the corner like “lol what is writing”

        THAT’S A GOOD IDEA!! my nano name is awkwardaris; same as on here 🙂 I have both! Twitter is also @awkwardaris 😀 You’re amazing ❤

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay! NaNoWriMo is practically here! You know, for as many years as I’ve participated, I’ve never actually done a Word War? Everyone says how fun they are, but aside from not having any writer friends (because I’m apparently so popular), they always seem really intimidating to me. I don’t want to be that person whose brain freezes and I manage to plunk out only 10 words. Eek!

    Best of luck tomorrow! I hope your first NaNo is a complete blast!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Omg really????? Word wars were the first things that I was introduced to when I started writing 😂 and word wars aren’t that serious, it’s totally fine if you don’t get many words down! I always find them to be very motivating!

      And thank you! Good luck to you too! Oh and feel free to add me as a buddy on the NaNo website, I’m booknerdjackie 🙂

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  3. Haha I love this!! I may reward myself too much actually…. to the point where it can’t really count as a reward anymore XD I’M AN ADULT AND I DO WHAT I WANT.
    It’s so important to set small goals! I really want to write a little bit every day this year but I’ve never been able to do that so we will see haha

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I love this post so much, Jackie! ❤ It's so important not to pressure ourselves too much and reward ourselves once we managed to write loads. Small goals also, YES YES, if we set our goals too high right from the start, it will only make us feel sad whenever we can't manage to reach them right away. It's great to do as much as we can every single day, little by little 🙂
    Great post!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Marie ❤️ oh yes, not pressuring ourselves is SO important! And I find that setting small goals helps with ANYTHING, not just writing! And it’s so rewarding to see that you’ve reached a small goal and you’re one step closer to your BIG goal! Thanks Marie ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  5. AWWWW what a great post lovely ❤ ❤ i'll definitely be bookmarking for the month ahead ja;lsdfjalsdf

    AND YESSSS word wars are honestly the only things that get me to write outside of nano hahah. something about them is so motivational??? and yes, i think that rewarding yourself and taking breaks are both really important things to do!

    DUDE. not forcing yourself to write is so so important. like obviously i'll have to force myself a little near when i don't feel motivated, but i shouldn't force myself so much that writing becomes unenjoyable!!

    and ahhaha i should probably make smol goals for myself but honestly, like you, i'm a mood writer so i'll write when i feel like it. for example, the past few nights i've wanted to work on brainstorming ideas. but i was so tired that i literally just fell asleep,,, rip. but then i don't want to write during the day?? idk mate i'll probably have to make goals too but i'll probably fail them lmao

    anyways love this post love you i believe in you!! ❤ (OH MY GOD IT'S TOMORROW AJ;FASLKDFJASD)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank youuuu my dear mayo ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

      omg I feel like word wars are the ONLY thing that motivate me to write even during NaNo 😂

      And same not forcing ourselves should be our top priority but on the other hand if you want to write but you’re lazy it can be good to force yourself!!! Idk we need to find a good balance XD

      and same! I’ve been meaning to finish shatter me like last weekend but I’m still in the middle of it SOOOO BYE. And I always seem to want to write at night??? At like 10pm??? When I should be turning off my computer??? And going to sleep??????? I don’t get it lmao

      Thank you May I believe in you too!!! WE CAN DO THIS ❤️❤️❤️ our group chat is so motivating tho omg I love it

      Like

  6. SUPER HELPFUL POST, JACKIE. I LOVE IT.

    I’ll probably still fail at Nano anyways but thAT’S fINE.

    I thinkkkk I want to get 50K? But I’m only at like, 3k right now and it’s almost a third of the month through and GUESS WHAT. I probably won’t make it oops.

    I’M SO EXCITED FOR OUR TWITTER GROUP CHAT OMG IT’S LIKE A COLLECTION OF MY FAVORITE PEOPLE

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU JULS <333 lmao i'm already failing at NaNo because I've only written 1.2k words lol and i mean I could start writing my story now and try to still reach 50k but it would be a PAIN to edit later bc my characters are all as flat as a sheet of paper… but on the other hand I just wanna WRITEEEEEE

      Like

  7. Hi Jackie! I LOVE this post… the proper writing space is SO IMPORTANT! I have to have that otherwise I’d waste all my time getting in the zone… Also adjust those goals… love it! If it’s not working try something else… THIS IS THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE… goals are to help us NOT stress us out of our minds… ♥️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Dani dear ❤ sameeee, if I didn't have a writing space prepared I'd probably be procrastinating writing by attempting to create my writing space and it'd just be BADDDDD. And exactly!!! It's nice to set yourself goals, but if you're not in the mood or things aren't working out—don't stress or force yourself! I'm glad your agree 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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