NaNoWriMo – How to catch up if you’re behind

Day six of NaNoWriMo has arrived. The good news is here comes the first full weekend of the month. Weekends in NaNo land are a bit of a strange beast. For many people, they are a chance to write many more words than they could ever manage on a work or school day. Today I have some tips on how to handle this weekend if you find yourself behind in your dreams of writing 1,667 words a day for a whole month.

Take heart
Assuming you work or go to school on a Monday to Friday schedule you can find more writing time over the next few days. If this is your first try at NaNo you probably have a much better idea after 6 days of what the time commitment will be for you. That knowledge can help you work out a schedule to get caught up or even pull ahead this weekend.

If you think you can catch up
By the end of the weekend (to be ‘on track’) your word count should be 13,333. Subtract your current word count from that number to find out how many words you would have to write to catch up over the weekend. Take a look at your weekend schedule and your progress so far to set up a schedule. If you are averaging 500 words an hour you now have an idea of how many hours you need this weekend. Maybe you will surprise yourself and get more than you need each day and find yourself ahead before the weekend is out.

If you can’t catch up don’t lose hope
If you are far enough behind you don’t think you can catch up in a single weekend, don’t lose hope! NaNoWriMo provides a stats chart for all registered users who have set up a novel. You can find the chart by logging in, clicking on ‘My Novels’, then on the stats button for your current novel. Take a look at the “Words Per Day To Finish On Time”. It will be most accurate before updating your word count for the current day. Your goal is to get that many words each day this weekend. Even if you haven’t written a word as of today that number is only 2,000. Tomorrow it will go up to 2083 for those who haven’t started. Whatever that number says get at least that many words each day this weekend. That will prevent you from falling further behind and set you up to catch up once you find your groove.

Let yourself write
One of the biggest stumbling blocks for people jumping into NaNo can be the ability to let themselves write. If you are struggling to get words on the page try giving yourself permission to write really bad words. NaNo isn’t about writing the perfect novel, or even a perfect rough draft in a month. It is about getting words on a page. For many of us writing a novel stops with the intention and desire to write a novel. This is your chance to get some of that novel on paper. Seize this chance! Enjoy it and let yourself off the hook that the words you are typing now aren’t as shining and glorious as you expected. You can focus on making them shining and glorious after November. For right now just focus on getting them on the screen. If you are struggling with this you might find my tips and tricks post helpful. Every novel has to start somewhere. Your novel can start right here and now.

How are you holding up after 6 days of writing? Is getting your daily wordcount taking longer than you expected or are you flying through?

All posts in my NaNoWriMo Series


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