Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank
Every November, writers of all ages, genres, and walks of life gather for NaNoWriMo. This is the National Novel Writing Month that focuses on cranking out 50,000 words for your next novel or other publishing projects. But what can you do to meet the number of words per day for NaNoWriMo?
For many, 50,000 words in a single month is quite a difficult goal. Especially when you have kids in the house or trying to balance a full-time job with everything else in your life.
In reality, though, hitting 50,000 words isn’t really all that lofty of a goal…as long as you have a good story in mind.
How Many Words Per Day Do You Need for NaNoWriMo?
Starting November 1st, the goal for NaNoWriMo is to write about 1,667 words per day for 30 days. Depending on who you are, this could be anywhere from one to three hours of writing as long as you’re in a good groove.
For me, it’s roughly two hours. Though, I have been known to crank out 1200 words in an hour when the story hits me just right.
Unfortunately, I have roughly 7 days throughout November when I don’t plan to write anything. That’s because I usually head home for Thanksgiving, which takes up five days. Then the Extra Life charity stream is usually the first weekend in November, which will take up two.
So, for me to “win” NaNoWriMo, I would need 2,174 words per day.
5 Ways to Increase Your NaNoWriMo Words Per Day
When it comes to writing, I don’t have any magical life hacks that only work in a Tik Tok video. It mostly centers around time management and not stressing about the small stuff.
Depending on how fast you type, 1,667 words in a single day really isn’t an unrealistic goal to reach. However, I can share some tips that I use every day that I spend writing.
So, what will help me reach my writing goals in November?
1. Create a Logical Block of Time
A great way to balance your writing throughout any given day is by using a project management app. Personally, I’ll use Asana to help me set up blocks of time for specific projects.
To use this to the fullest for NaNoWriMo, you’ll need to have an idea of approximately how long it takes you to write a story. In my case, I know that I can write about 900 words per hour when I’m working on creative works.
Then, create a block of time for yourself that will help you get the most out of NaNoWriMo. This means setting up a block of time when you’re not distracted and can focus on your writing.
Now, this doesn’t mean you need to set up an entire block of time. You can also break it up throughout the day. So, if you plan on writing for two hours, you can schedule one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening.
The point is to create blocks of time for yourself that are more conducive to your writing goals.
2. Prioritize NaNoWriMo in Your Day
To get the most words per day for your NaNoWriMo project, prioritize that block of time. In my case, I am scheduling my block to occur immediately after my client’s work is done for the day.
If you truly want to meet your writing goals, it’s important that you prioritize them. Otherwise, you’ll wind up doing other things during the day and before you know it, all of your time is gone.
Once I prioritized writing my second book, I was able to hammer out a large number of words throughout the week.
Now, how everyone prioritizes writing is going to be different. Some of us have to balance full-time jobs while caring for the kids. But if you want to succeed at NaNoWriMo, you need to put in the effort.
I’m lucky as I am a work-at-home freelance writer. I can move things around my day relatively easily. But that also means that taking on an extra project results in something being left out.
This is why I really put some thought into prioritizing things throughout the day.
3. Stick with Your Daily Schedule
Setting up blocks of time and managing your day in an app looks good. But it doesn’t mean much if you don’t put in the effort to stick with the schedule.
Thanks to the nature of life, that schedule you created in a project management app could get disrupted quite easily. But you need to keep focus if you wish to get the most out of your day.
Take me, for example. Once I started really focusing on what I wanted to do throughout any given day, I’ve become far more efficient. And that’s saying something from someone who gets easily distracted with so much on his plate.
Sometimes this means you’ll have to force yourself into taking action. This isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but it might be necessary if you want to hit those NaNoWriMo goals of writing 1,667 words per day.
That’s actually kind of the point of this entire process. I’ll go into it a bit deeper in a moment, but the idea of Nation Novel Writing Month is to help you set goals, habits, and a good flow for yourself if you’re truly interested in publishing books.
4. Take Regular Walking Breaks
Taking regular breaks can be of great benefit when trying to reach writing goals. It gives you time to clear your head, relax, and regroup before you get back to the keyboard.
For me, regular walking breaks give me time to analyze what I’ve written so far and where I want the story to go next. In fact, I do my best thinking when walking around the backyard for 15 to 20 minutes.
In reality, it’s not necessarily just walking that can help you think better. Any physical activity improves brain function, and this includes memory, emotions, and processing information.
So, if you’re unable to go for a walk, why not try to squeeze in 15 to 20 minutes of some other cardio activity?
A few things I often do to elevate my heart rate include vigorously cleaning the house, riding my bike, playing the Xbox Kinect, or doing a bit of yard work. Virtually anything that will get your heart over 110 BPM is going to be of great benefit.
5. Remember, It’s a First Draft
Finally, it’s vital that you remember that your first draft is just that…a first draft. It’s not meant to be utterly perfect. The whole point of writing the first draft is to finish the story.
This can do wonders for your motivation and confidence.
Anyway, the book you’re writing for NaNoWriMo is not going to be the one you publish. This means that after the first draft, there will be quite a few edits to polish up the tale.
Too many people focus intensely on trying to write the most perfect book right off the bat. And when you try too hard to make it “perfect,” you’re taking time away from when you could be finishing the novel.
When you worry more about the story than you do about making it perfect, you’ll find it far easier to write1,667 words per day for NaNoWriMo. Get the story written, then spruce it up to make it “perfect.”
What is the Point of NaNoWriMo?
There are thousands upon thousands of people who would love to write books for a living. But only a small percentage of them will make that dream a reality.
For most, it all comes down to not developing habits conducive to those dreams.
Nation Novel Writing Month is all about helping people get into a groove to write the books they want to see on the shelves. Because getting your book published, whether it’s through a publishing house or self-publishing, relies on writing your story.
Committing to 1,667 words per day demonstrates how you’re perfectly capable of writing out your story without taking 10 years. In fact, 50,000 words is more than halfway through a decent-sized novel.
It’s all about helping you get motivated while creating positive habits as a writer.
Does this mean that writing 50,000 words in a month will result in a blockbuster novel? Absolutely not. There are too many variables when it comes to publishing a good book.
However, getting into good writing habits and prioritizing your story can go a long way to seeing it on the shelves at a Barnes & Noble. It really depends on how committed you are to achieving those dreams and taking the steps necessary to see them through to the end.
What Do You Win with NaNoWriMo?
The premise of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words by the end of November. So, what do you win? Bragging rights, really. You’ll also get a badge on your profile to show that you’ve met the writing goal for the month.
In reality, you’ll win a new sense of direction. Remember, the idea is to help you create good writing habits and set boundaries.
It’s like the adage, “Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” The same can be said by participating in NaNoWriMo.
It’s not that you’ll win some immediate, grandiose prize for writing 1,667 words per day. It’s more about teaching you how to accomplish those goals going forward.
So, indirectly, you could win NaNoWriMo by learning what you’ll have to do to publish more content down the road. Who knows, on November 1st, you might start writing something that’ll hit #1 on Amazon for its genre.
That’s probably one of the things I like most, actually. It’s not about “winning” NaNoWriMo by hitting the goal of writing a certain number of words per day. It’s about learning more about yourself as a creator.
What Are You Doing to Get the Most of NaNoWriMo This Year?
The story idea is ready, goals are set, blocks of time are created, and I’m just waiting for the starting pistol come November 1st. Even though I already have a strong grasp of setting goals and writing, I still think it’s fun to join so many writers during NaNoWriMo.
Participating in the writing community has led to meeting some awesome people. And I hope to continue the tradition every year.
So, are you ready to write that next epic chapter of your life?
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