How To: Smash 50k words in a month

It’s November, which means its Nanowrimo month for many people. Good luck to those who are tackling the mammoth 50,000 words in a month, and also good luck to those who might be doing their own variation of Nanowrimo with a different word count.

If you’re new to writing, or new to using word counts as your goal, 50,000 words might seem a bit daunting. Never fear, here are my three top tips for hitting your 50,000 words in a month!

1 – Slow and steady

Some people like to write 20k words in the last three days of Nanowrimo, but I’m one of those who prefer the slow and steady method. Over the month, you have to average c. 1600 words per day in order to meet the goal (okay, it’s a little over 1600 words, but it’s close enough). I’ve found focussing on a daily goal helps remove the intimidation of the overall 50,000 words, plus it means if you miss a day, a two or three day cumulative goal is still achievable.

2 – Don’t give up

Remember, the goal of Nanowrimo is to write a novel. Sure, 50,000 words means you “win” Nanowrimo, and it’s super satisfying to meet that goal, but at the end of the day it doesn’t matter how many words you put on the page or total over the month – it matters that you’ve written something.

So if you’re behind on your wordcount, or watching others write thousands of words in what looks like an impossible short length of time, don’t let it dampen your achievements. Keep writing, keep aiming for that goal, and you might surprise yourself by how many words you write!

3 – Editing will make it work

If you’re working on a first draft as part of Nanowrimo, I salute you. If, like me when I tried it in 2018, you are throwing yourself into a project with minimal preparation (as always) and seeing where it takes you, I want you to remember that Editing is a very, very powerful tool.

The story I wrote as part of Nanowrimo 2018 is nothing like the story that I am editing today. In fact, the whole story has been overhauled quite considerably, characters edited and removed, places created and new storylines drawn up. However, having those 50,000 words to start from has meant I’ve now grown my manuscript to c. 180k words over the past few years. The first draft is going to be your first sweeping sketch of your story – so don’t worry if the words don’t quite work, or the pacing might be a little off. Nanowrimo is there to get the words on the page, you’ve then got however much time you need to craft and edit your story into the beautiful creation you see in your mind’s eye!

Are you participating in Nanowrimo this year?

Let me know if you’re taking part in Nanowrimo this year! Are you working on a new project, or something old that you’re looking to get words on the page for?


Featured Image Credit: Photo by Florian Klauer on Unsplash


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