For Writers – Staying Motivated During Camp NaNoWriMo


We’re a week into Camp NaNoWriMo, and if you’re like me, you’re already tired. The month-long deadline and a crazy-high goal does enforce the need for daily commitment to our project, but it also has a tendency to wear us out fast. Here are some handy tips for staying motivated during the next three weeks.

  • Take pride in your progress. During NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNo, it’s easy to get swept up in the statistics. Our unusually high productivity and fast-climbing word count make us feel like we should be doing more. It’s great to be driven and ambitious, but don’t let your competitive streak keep you from acknowledging those 257 word days just as much as your 16,82 days, and the miraculous 3,333 days. All progress is good progress, even if it’s not much of a blip on the stats chart.
  • Try new things. An entire month of monotonously doing the same thing over and over is just plain old boring. Anyone would get tired of it. Thankfully, NaNoWriMo has some fun options for shaking it up. Camp NaNo can be especially fun if your cabin buddies are into doing group word sprints or going through a word crawl together. If you’ve opted out of a cabin, try them on your own or alternate word sprints with a 15 minute Pinterest break, a round of Candy Crush, a chapter of a really good book, a short lap around the neighborhood, or folding a load of laundry. Variety is the spice of life.
  • Let yourself write badly. Feeling blocked? I often find myself getting snagged and stuck when I’m trying too hard to keep my first draft pared down to what will actually be in the final manuscript. Which is silly, since I’m a Pantser and I have no idea what the final manuscript will actually look like! Don’t be too controlling when you’re writing. Make lists, try different POVs, sample some personality quirks, throw stuff in just because you like it. Ask yourself how those things would affect the entire story. Let it be crazy. Do. Not. Delete. Paragraphs. That’s for the editing phase. Let future-you worry about it.
  • Swap projects. If you’re really, really, really, really blocked on a project, skip to a different one. There are no rules that state you can only be doing one thing at a time. Because I write Middle Grade, I often schedule 3 projects for NaNoWriMo and work on each for just 10 days. It goes by fast, but I never run out of things to say.
  • Do a trial run. If you’re feeling unmotivated or burned out, give yourself permission to take the day off… but only after you do one 15-minute sprint. Sometimes your feelings are lying to you and once you begin, you won’t want to quit. Other days, it’s best to listen to your body.
  • Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty. During the non-writing parts of your day, the slow days, and on the days you need to take off from writing altogether… do not train yourself to feel guilty about not writing. It will always backfire. Camp NaNo is just one thing going on in your life and you can’t ignore the fact that Life Happens. Actively remind yourself that non-writing time is important (even if it doesn’t feel that way sometimes) and stay in the moment.


How do you keep your energy up during Camp NaNoWriMo?


Camp NaNoWriMo is hosted by the lovely people who created NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It runs during the month of April, and again in July. Find out more about Camp NaNoWriMo here, or sign up to join now!

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