NaNoWriMo is a big deal because it’s an insane challenge. Writing 50,000 words in a month’s time is extremely tiring. No writer should attempt to do this, for the sake of sanity. And yet, there are millions from around the world who do this every year and finish writing a full-length draft in a month. For each one of them, this is an arduous journey full of challenges – the biggest one being exhaustion from all the writing. 

Whether you’re a pantser or a planner, it’s all the same. The writing fatigue sets in sooner or later, for both types of wrimos. Even if planners have carefully set out their course for the month, planning every detail of their plot, story, and daily word count targets, what’s not accounted for is the burnout they will face at the end of the day. Pantsers rely solely on the energy and enthusiasm they feel on a day-to-day basis. This may inspire spontaneity and go with the flow, but without a plan in sight, any writer’s battery only tends to drain faster. 

How to defeat writer’s fatigue

Most people make NaNoWriMo all about writing. All that matters is hitting that daily word count and ultimately 50K at the end of the month. That’s a faulty approach. It is so much more than that! The entire month is about learning the whole process of crafting a book, which goes beyond just writing it. Here are other activities you should definitely add to your list of NaNoWriMo goals to stay motivated by making continued overall progress. 

 Time-related tips: 

  • Write early in the morning 

Creating a habit of writing in the morning is the best thing you can do for your project. It works because it’s fail-proof! The morning energy is peaceful, it gives you clarity, confidence, and creativity to hone your skills. Plus if you crush your goals right in the morning, you feel accomplished throughout the day. No need to stay up late to write after a long day of work. 

Haruki Murakami will strongly vouch for this.

  • Take frequent breaks 

There are a fortunate few, who don’t have family or professional commitments to look after. If you’re one of those writers who can dedicate all the 30 days to creating your NaNo baby, you have an abundance of time. So much that you can spare some to weep for other writers who aren’t that lucky!  

All you gotta do is spread out your writing sessions. Take frequent breaks. It’s that simple! Eat, sleep, go for a walk, try to study cat behavior, or watch a film between writing. Forget burnout, writing will become more joyful.   

For long writing sprints, use the Pomodoro Technique to boost your productivity! 

  • Keep taking notes

The book, its characters and story will stay with you for the month everywhere you go. They’ll even nag you for attention in your head with new revelations about the story. For times like this, when sparks of ideas hit your mind, be ready with a notepad or note-keeping app on your phone. Write it down to weave it in your draft later. 

You can try Evernote or Keep 

  • Get a good night’s sleep 

Sleep and creativity are interrelated. The more soundly you sleep, the more active your feel throughout the day and naturally feel less tired. Feeling less tired makes you feel more creative and productive. Those are the two qualities essential to achieve progress in this manic month. 

Learn more about the creative brain during sleep.


General tips:

  • The book is your top priority

You gotta tell yourself “This month, nothing matters more than the book.” Let the kids and spouse know that your priority has changed this month. Just for a month do everything with the book on your mind. Life will come in the way, other things will obviously come up. In all of that, you have to learn to squeeze in those 5 extra minutes for your book, so you can finish the penultimate chapter.  

This writer filmed every day of her writing journey. You can video journal your NaNo journey too! 

  • Meditation

If you haven’t caught up to the latest buzz word, now’s a good time! Meditation helps you focus, create a positive mindset, fosters creativity, aids in sleeping well, keeps you energized and there are around thousand more benefits that can help you beat the everyday mundane routine and also the extra tough NaNo routine. 

  • Workout

Again, if you aren’t working out already, NaNo is a great time to catch up! Go for a run after your super early morning writing session. The runner’s high [LINK] produces a sort of writing treadmill in your head that you can jump on to sprint out words. Throw in a bunch of yoga exercises or a quick work out at the gym and you’ll do wonder to your health and creativity. The fatigue will set in and put you to sleep. You’ll know it’s not from the writing.   

  • Don’t forget to read 

Like mentioned before, don’t make NaNoWriMo all about writing. Keep reading as one of the goals to pursue. It’s easier than writing, you like it already, reading is a lot of work and counts as an accomplishment. So why not? 

We recommend you read a genre you haven’t read before. It will give you a fresh perspective. Or better yet, read a book by a past winner. Or simply stick to your favorite read. Can’t ever get tired of that, right?  

  • Get out of the house 

It’s always a great idea to get out of your everyday place to write in a different setting. Being in nature helps. Just the sight of flowers, ripples in the lake or birds flying back home can calm your nerves. Let your story mature in moments of peace. Or you could also write at a cafe for a change. Seeing a particular person can help you draw a character you’re struggling with. The best cafes to visit will be the ones turned into camp NaNoWriMo

Slow down, take baby steps

If you’re getting tired, it means you’re doing more than you can pull off. Remember the timeless adage: “slow and steady wins the race.” You might think it doesn’t hold water in the case of NaNoWriMo, but it does. Consider all of the listed tasks as important as writing, they lead you to a productive writing session.

Start out with the intent of doing each activity for only 5 minutes. Once you get into the flow, it’s likely that you get more invested than you imagined.  

Remember that NaNoWriMo doesn’t really begin on the 1st of November, and neither does it end on the 30th. That’s just the month where you write as much as humanly possible for you every day. It’s okay to start before (there’s Preptober for planning, plotting, storyboarding) and you have to take it beyond November anyway (the what now months for editing, publishing, marketing). So what’s the point stressing?  

Be prepared

We’d like to conclude by saying that prepare yourself so well that you don’t have to face writer’s burnout during NaNoWriMo. It’s hard to get out of one. You must create a strong force field to block all negativity and discomfort related to writing. Put yourself in a super positive zone both mentally and physically. Adopt the above measures into your lifestyle for at least a month before you enter the month of writing frenzy. 

PaperTrue wishes you a happy and successful NaNoWriMo!