NaNoWriMo: Alternative Goals for the month of November

So two weeks of NaNoWriMo have passed.  You’ve tried it and done your best; however, hitting 1667 words is way more than you can chew.  That’s totally fine.  In my last post about NaNoWriMo, I did mention that the challenge was more marathon than sprint.  Many people who sign up every year discover that it’s more than they can do.  There’s no shame in that.  Maybe November is busier than you anticipated.  Maybe things have suddenly popped up that you couldn’t control.  I’ve been there too.  More times than I can count.  What you might need instead are some alternative goals.


So what are some things you can do besides write the daunting 50,000 words?  Short answer: anything you want that will make you feel like you’ve been productive during the mad rush of November.  If you’d like a few suggestions, keep reading for some of my own personal favorites!

Set a Different Goal

The official daily word count might be 1,667 but there’s nothing wrong with setting a few alternative goals that feel more manageable.  If you usually write 750 words a day and want to push yourself then up it to 1,000 words.  By the end of November, you’ll write 7,500 words more than you usually do!  Maybe you struggle to write every day.  Make your goal to sit down and write for twenty minutes each and every day.  It will help you build a daily writing habit for future endeavors.

Plot, Worldbuild, and Flesh Out Characters

Sometimes you get a cool idea for a story three days before NaNo begins but you have no time to develop that idea before jumping in.  A lot of writers will tell you that this is a recipe for eventual writer’s block.  If it hits you at some point during November, consider taking time to work on some plotting.  Work on an outline instead of writing.  Figure out what your setting looks like.  Where the key places are in your story.  Get to know your characters.  It will take care of your writer’s block and help you to finish that story after NaNo.

Read a Book

Many great writers are also great readers and though it might seem a bit counterproductive to read when you’re supposed writing that’s not actually the case.  Study the way good authors write.  What makes these authors and their books good?  Try modeling that writing.  Study the way bad books are written.  Pick them apart and figure out what their biggest flaws are.  Try your hand at rewriting bad fiction.  You can also read books to generate new ideas and unstick plots.  Discover new themes, plots, and characters you like and want to attempt writing.

Edit and Rewrite

Maybe you hit the wall with your current project and NaNo doesn’t feel like the right time to try and chip through that wall.  If you’re like me you probably have a couple projects laying around on your computer that need some work.  Taking some of your time to go through and edit might be a welcome change.  Instead of starting from absolutely nothing, work on something that’s ready to be polished up.  Editing and rewriting are a great NaNoWriMo alternative goals to help keep you productive through the month.

Work on Multiple Projects

This alternative depends on your feelings towards working on multiple projects.  Some writers can’t or won’t do it for a myriad of reasons.  If you’re like me though and you know it doesn’t bother you, take advantage of your inspiration for two or three different projects.  Hitting that 50,000 word goal will always be easier if you have the ideas.  Why slog through writer’s block when you can swap between projects when you have an idea.  This happens to be my favorite alternative goals, and how I’ve gotten through at least two NaNos.  Seriously, ask me about Scientist.

I love NaNoWriMo.  The idea and spirit behind it fosters a great deal of creativity that might not exist otherwise.  However, like I said, it might not be for every writer and that’s one hundred percent okay.  As you feel proud of what you’ve done during the month of November then no one can make you feel less than.   Having a backup plan can help you achieve that feeling.  If you’re thinking that writing 50,000 words isn’t going to feasible for you then try something a bit different.

Do you have suggestions for other NaNoWriMo alternative goals?

Tell me about it in the comments or connect with me on social media.  Let me know what you’re doing to feel creative and productive in the month of November!

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