How to Win NaNoWriMo in Three Days


Okay, I did it in five this year. But this year’s NaNoWriMo was bigger than I expected.

Last year and the year before I managed to hit 50k on day 3 and 3.5 respectively. This year I wanted to try to do it in two. I knew I had a massive task ahead but more importantly I knew that I could do it, but turns out…this was not my year and before you moan and go oh god you still finished it in five, let me give you a little back story on why and how I’m such a speed demon when it comes to NaNoWriMo and how my region assumed that I was a robot until they met me a NoMM (Night of Madly Manuscripting).


I know, I know it’s NaNoWriMo, right? Why would we need to plan it? I almost always start off with a loose plan of how the chapters will go and by loose plan I mean post it notes with the main thing that will happen in the chapter. And basically, it’s a race to see how I get there and let the story completely flow through me. This year (I finished it in five) and I completely pantsed. I think that this story was just waiting for me to write it because even though I pantsed it and had some issues with some real life thing) I managed to find my mojo and pull out the numbers I need to get going.


This is my secret. Like it really is. I have long learned how to turn off my filter, in fact, Scrivener’s fullscreen mode doesn’t actually show up any squiggly red lines and I love this because it means that I can write without ever needing to go back during a sprint and fix up my mistakes. Sometimes it gets the best of me and I change and fix up the odd typo but it’s not often, that’s for sure.

I’m just going to put this out there and it terrifies me more than it’ll terrify you but this is what my writing looks like smack bang in the middle of a sprint.

That was the hardest thign right hthen, was that I was probably going to elt down a man who was nothing but nice and helful. It was like my inbuilt disppointement metere that I never wante dto trip.

The need to fix those typos up before I push publish and it’s out there in the world is so high, but you’ll see that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Trust me there are so many other sections wrong like this, if not worst.


A first draft is not supposed to come out shiny, perfect and all wonderful the first time around. In fact some of the better and well-known authors takes drafts and drafts to get it right and even then, they will still find something that they hate, but the moral here is that you need to accept that your writing is going to be horrendous, it’s going to suck and maybe downright it’s going to sound like it’s a broken record. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. Your first draft is exactly that. A draft.


For those of you that don’t know what a sprint is lemme clue you in: It’s writing for a set amount of time as fast as you can. You leave nothing behind. It’s almost like running a 100 metre race a full pelt. You start and just think about getting to the end. I work the best in 10-minute increments, in fact, I have a cute little Howler timer that howls at me when I hit the end of my writing time.

I basically just work with this over and over and over again. My fingers a numb, my wrists ache and I’ve probably moved around the room more times than I can count, but I make it work. I have to make it work because it’s NaNo and I liked sprinting to the end as fast as possible. I also almost always have some sort of competition and because I like it, I tend to try and beat them.


And get out of your normal space.

I manage to hit my goal because I actually leave my house and my space (I give up kitten cuddles) and head to the country where my best friend lives, she’s moved out from her mum’s place but I basically dub her my second mum because she feeds me, loves me and supports me like I am her daughter, which is so wonderful.

Get time off work, even if it if a couple of days, to really get yourself set up and into the groove.


And then smash them, whether they’re hourly or daily goals.

So, I don’t particularly do this, but I set a goal for the day and try to hit it. Sometimes I can do 3000 word hours, sometimes it takes an hour and a half, or even more. The beauty here is to just try your best, do what you need, but if you break it down into two-hour blocks you can definitely achieve it.

Think of it as a way to make it a soft deadline and if you don’t hit it, don’t be upset, sometimes it’ll just mean that in the next hour you’ll kick its butt to make sure that it doesn’t happen again.


My biggest tool is Self-Control, the app, and my will power. I generally try to limit my time on social media with the exception of Instagram, because I can’t see to get enough of that platform, but Facebook is almost dead to me on the first day. Or at least until I manage to be happy with my words.

NaNoWriMo and getting your writing done as fast as possibly is a sport, it’s one that allows you to have a control and dedication. Basically, for the first few days, your laptop has your full attention. It’s like a lover, would you give them half of your attention if they had something that you needed to know?

Exploring your novel is very much like that, the story wants to be written, you just have to put the dedication into make it work. You can do it.


NaNoWriMo runs three times a year. November is the tradition time but the smaller and easier deadlines are in April and July. They’re a good test because you can set your own word count deadlines, which makes it easier for you, but that’s not all. Don’t just use these guys as motivation. Set a timer for 10 minutes a day and just write your little heart out and then either do it again or get up and get going. 10 minutes out of your day will not kill you.

And because I like to break the rules, I also used my Writing Journal Method, day by day, to get me going and not worrying about what I had written, or basically not going back to reread and then edit instead of full steam ahead


Are you a NaNoWriMo enthusiast? Tell me down below what you were writing this year and what day you hit your goal (whether it’s the 50k, more or less, it doesn’t matter, I just want to know!)

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Mandi is a writer, reader, dreamer and is breaking procrastinating inner editors, one at a time.

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