One More Week: Staying Motivated at the End of NaNoWriMo

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Let's face it, writing is hard. Trying to focus and write a novel in a month? It sounds impossible. And exhausting. Here's the good news, though: If you've stuck with your schedule during National Novel Writing Month, you've only got a week left.

Hitting the word count at this point should just be a formality. You've come this far, you can't quit now. The hardest part over this final week is fighting the exhaustion (and the post-Turkey food coma you might hit on Thursday).

So what is keeping you motivated to finish? Is it how close you are to word count goal? Is it finishing NaNoWriMo for the first time? The excitement of turning to editing your work? Share how you are making it through this final week in the comments below!

Have you missed any of the other posts in our NaNoWriMo blogging series? Be sure to check the others out:

Question: What are you doing to not pass out from writing exhaustion this week? What's keeping you motivated for the final push?

Natania Barron:Scheduling. Planning. Understanding that this isn't about barfing out words on the page. It's about re-igniting passion for a project, getting into the mindset where the book becomes everything. It's sort of like falling in love. Except NaNo is a formula for falling in love—if you do it right.

Rachael Herron:Keeping me motivated for the final push is the knowledge that I know exactly how awesome it is making that blue bar change to a brilliant purple. I'm about 7k away from winning, and the thing that feels great is the knowledge that I could write all those words and finish today. But I don't have to. To win, I can still amble forward and get there, and it's going to taste sweet to do so. 

Nikki Hyson:Closing my eyes when I have to. Being so far behind has forced me into several marathon sessions which is really hard on my eyes, shoulders and writing hand. It's tempting to turn a break into an internet surfing session that sucks away an hour of precious time. Getting burned out? I close my eyes for half hour, then put on a couple high tempo songs and dance around the living room. Follow it up with a big glass of juice (dehydration from all that coffee is an energy killer), pop a couple B vitamins (lasts longer than a caffeine pill), put on the tea kettle, and get back to it. What's keeping me motivated? I pre-ordered the NaNo Winner Tee in October and just got the email that it is on its way. Yikes! Gotta keep going. Can't wear it if I don't earn it (and it really is a wicked cool tee).

Regina Kammer: Well, my ballet classes are on hiatus for Thanksgiving week, so there’s an extra 5 hours…to sleep. LOL.

Other than that? Well, I do have some outlined points I have to cover and I have to remind myself I still have story yet to write—i.e., I’m not without plot or motivation or conclusion. The biggest writing motivation comes from my character Charles who has yet to find his Happily-Ever-After. I really need to get him to that satisfying conclusion. Right now, he’s still in the midst of evaluating the options set before him, and I’m in the midst of discovering who he really is.

I am also motivated to get to the end of the story, and I mean literally get to the end of the story, not just to the goal of 50,000 words. I’ve discovered over the years of doing NaNoWriMo that revising and editing is so much easier when there is a complete story to work with. Plus, I’d like to get this story published next year, so that’s pretty motivating!

November/December 2014 Writer's Digest

 The November/December 2014 issue of Writer's Digest
is packed full of the kinds of expert advice you need to
finish off NaNoWriMo strong.

Kathy Kitts:I'm now in the homestretch. Breaking 40k is the moment when I know I can make it. I’ve been doing this for three weeks and have developed the habit of writing. I brush my teeth without a big production. I do the same with writing. I just sit down and do it.

Kristen Rudd: Who says I haven’t passed out from exhaustion? Oh, it is hard to stay motivated right now. Fatigue has definitely set in. I didn’t write for three days during Week Three, and I’m grateful that I’ve managed to not fall behind. My husband started some new, seven-minute workout program this month, and he keeps asking me to join him. Ha. Ha. Ha. Right. Like I’m going to work out in November. I’m beginning to think I should write him in and kill him off.

I had planned out over 20 scenes at the beginning of the month that I thought would be the daily scenes I would write, setting me up for most of the month. So far, I’ve written four of those 20. The rest of what I’ve written has been a complete surprise. Knowing I’ve still got stuff to get to, that I haven’t run out of things to write, and that I am going to win NaNo this year, dammit, are keeping me focused. And I have to say, knocking out these surprise scenes is kind of satisfying. Like Whack-A-Mole.

EJ Runyon:It’s boring but, really All I Did to not feel exhausted this week was to just come back. Every week of NaNoWriMo hits you with new emotions about your work. So really, coming back to a new week of writing is like a reboot, emotions-wise. Nothing exhausting about it. I feel like each week brings a new dimension of "writer" out of me. I kind of look forward to each one's seven-day span.

Jessica Schley: Spending more time with friends. I have a great NaNoWriMo community where I live, and I find the closer we get to the final push, the more I head off to write-ins and gatherings to stay motivated. It's more fun to spend time with people that way rather than be locked up in front of my own computer trying to crank out the words.

The other thing I do is spread my writing time out. Sometimes this is a necessity—I just can't find two solid hours in the day. But other times, it's just so that I get up and do something else in between sessions. So I'll write for 30 minutes four times throughout the day rather than try to pack one long session into my day. 

* * * * *

Say goodbye to writing and rewriting with no results. Starting—and finishing—your novel has never been easier! First Draft in 30 Days provides you with a sure-fire system to reduce time-intensive rewrites and avoid writing detours. Award-winning author Karen S. Wiesner's 30-day method shows you how to create an outline so detailed and complete that it actually doubles as your first draft. Flexible and customizable, this revolutionary system can be modified to fit any writer's approach and style. Plus, comprehensive and interactive worksheets make the process seem less like work and more like a game.

First Draft in 30 Days

Cris Freese is the associate editor of Writer's Digest Books.

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