NaNoWriMo is an intense challenge. Many writers who attempt it weren’t in the habit of writing daily before, or they definitely weren’t producing thousands of words a day. The short timespan and high word count are meant to challenge you, but there’s also a real possibility of burnout for a newbie writer. Week two can be especially hard,  but fighting NaNoWriMo burnout is even more important when the rush of the first week has passed.

fighting nanowrimo burnout

Find an Accountability Partner

If you haven’t already found a buddy to keep you going, I highly recommend finding one. For many people, knowing someone expects them to show up is the only thing that motivates them to do it. There’s no shame in that. I’m that type of person too! If I hadn’t had a buddy all through training, I wouldn’t have run a marathon.

NaNo has their own system where you can connect with other participants, but sometimes nothing can beat then IRL (in real life) experience. Check with your local library or bookstores, many of them are having weekly meetups for folks to come together and get their word counts in for the day.

Build in a Bit of Time Off

Resting is an important part of completing big challenges without burning yourself out completely. I know you only have 30 days, but you can do a little math to figure out how to give yourself one or two days off. Or, if the idea of an entire day off doesn’t seem feasible, you could also do a little negotiating to give yourself lighter days. Maybe instead of hitting 1666 words a day every day, your schedule might look something like this:

Monday – 1000 words
Tuesday – 1000 words
Wednesday – 1000 words
Thursday – 1000 words
Friday – 2500 words
Saturday – 4500 words
Sunday – 500 words

This is based on the assumption of a typical work schedule, where you’d have the most time on Saturday. Adjusting the word counts to fit your schedule, writing more when there’s more time and taking it easy when there isn’t, is the best way to keep yourself sane.

Remember to Fuel Up

Training for a marathon also taught me the importance of making sure I had what I needed to keep going. In the case of NaNo, this might mean actual snacks as well as metaphorical creativity fuel. If you keep snacks handy, then you won’t have to get up from your writing space nearly as often (although pausing to walk around every so often is a good idea).

Finding time to do other things like reading might seem impossible, but it could really help. Letting your mind wander and do its day dreamy, writerly thing will keep you from feeling stuck in a rut. Also, we all know how good walks are for generating new ideas. Popping in an audiobook or a podcast and stepping away from the screen (or notebook) can work wonders as far as refreshing the old juices.

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Author: Whynott Edit

Hi, I'm Megan! My mission is to help underrepresented writers refine their words, strengthen their skills, and tell the best possible versions of their stories.

If you have questions/comments/concerns about writing, editing, or publishing, or want to suggest a post topic, feel free to reach out to me! megan[at]whynottedit.com