{NANO PIT STOP #2} 5 ways to make nano less stressful


Hello my frens, and welcome to the second post in my nanowrimo 2017 series! I hope you all thrived this week writing? Hmm…. *squints* At least survived?


Anywho, today I challenge you with a question:


How can nano be less stressful?



For basically every writer, nanowrimo is a synonym for stress. It means writing in the car, after midnight, while doing laundry and doing homework and consuming a ton of caffeine because you don’t have time to sleep. Buuuut you only do all those things for one reason:


The deadline.


In reality, nanowrimo is just writing a novel with a deadline (and deadlines are Very Scary Things). Take away the deadline, and we can all write 50,000 words. Gosh, we could write 150,000 words if it weren’t for that deadline! It might take us a long time, but we could still do it.


But, alas, then it wouldn’t be a challenge 😛


So how can we make NaNo more of a fun-fest and less of a stress-fest?


I wish I could give you a huge secret about it. I mean, take school and exercise and eating and sleeping away and pff yeah we’ll all be over-achievers and won’t be stressed at all. Unfortunately, since that isn’t possible, I came up with five other ways to make writing a novel this month less stressful (without becoming a hermit for thirty days. 😉)



1. Remember you don't have to win

Yep, I’m just going to be really blunt and start off by saying that. This can shock some people, because isn’t the whole point of nano to write 50,000 words in 30 days?


Well, kinda.


That might be the stated goal, but I believe nano is a lot about making the promise to write that much, not the actual doing of it. This isn’t an ‘everyone is a winner’ mindset; rather, it’s remembering that writing in general is awesome, and just by saying you’re going to try and write no matter what this November despite work and school and life is also awesome.


You can aim for the 50,000 knowing you won’t make it, but still have fun trying anyway. Or you can set a lower goal for yourself and still participate. Both allow you to be part of the awesome nano community.


The one thing with this is that you have to be okay with not making 50,000 words. You don’t have to feel guilty about it or anything: if your life only allows you to write 10,000 or even 5,000, do it. It’s just the writing that counts.



2. set aside time to write

Stuff takes time to do (whoo-hoo wonderfully exact sentence). Our life is made up of time, and if we don’t set aside time to do things…we don’t do them. Writing, therefore, needs to have its own time.


You know those over-achiever people who already hit 50,000 words? They are not super-human. Yes, they might be fast writers, but even fast writers have to set aside time to write.


You could just say you’ll write ‘whenever you have time.’ Don’t. Though that’s great sometimes, don’t let your writing time be made up of little 30 second snippets if you can help it. Setting aside a solid block of time makes writing much easier. I suggest carving out half hour or hour writing sessions in your day. Put them in periodically. I wouldn’t suggest a 4-hour writing marathon, as those are exhausting 😛



3. remember it's just a first draft

Some of us hesitate to write first drafts because we know from experience that halfway through the draft, we begin to hate the idea (might just be the reason why I write first drafts so quickly—to avoid that stage 😉). It’s important, as always, to remember the sand analogy, that a first draft is just shoveling sand in a box so we can use it later.


Even when things start to go funky in your draft, keep having fun. Everyone’s experiencing it this month. Joke about it, and don’t be so strict with yourself—save that for editing.



4. Do other things besides writing - Copy

I know. We all say it: I wish I could just write ALL the time. But, as I’ll talk about next week, you need to do other things in order to keep your creativity working well (and your mind sane). Even if it’s just reading a book or doing school work, make sure to step away from your novel every now and then this month. Trying to write constantly is like trying to use your phone nonstop without charging it, and even when it is plugged in, still using apps that suck the battery life down. It doesn’t work.


Getting outside or spending time with God (or both at the same time!) are often the best ways to recharge.


4. Do other things besides writing(1)

*gasp* Before you say I’m harsh and cold, think about it. If you’re preparing for an exam, or relatives are in town, or a natural disaster (like running out of chocolate) hits, that stuff comes before writing. If your month turns out crazy and you don’t get to write at all, it’s not the end of the world.


Seriously. The world will not end if you stop writing or cannot write. Keep your priorities straight, and I bet you’ll be ten times happier at the end of the month.




audrey caylin.


P.S. My monthly newsletter was ALL about my novel…READ IT HERE 😀






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  • Reply
    Olivia White
    November 11, 2017 at 4:36 am

    I loved this article! I’ve been trying to do nano, but I know there’s no way I’ll make it to 50,000 with how much school is taking my time this month. Even so, I’ve written way more in the pas week and a half than had been writing before that, and I’m making progress. You don’t have to go fast… just keep going 🙂

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      November 14, 2017 at 11:57 am

      Thanks, Oliva!

      That’s great! Nano is such an awesome way to be encouraged to write more. I hope your writing is going awesome <3

  • Reply
    November 11, 2017 at 5:22 am

    I still have trouble remembering all of this…and then I wonder why writing is taking forever.

    My muse agrees with you on deadlines being Very Scary Things. Can’t stand them, refuse to work with them. Just a no-go. As soon as someone creates a pause button for LIFE, I’m grabbing it.


    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      November 14, 2017 at 11:58 am

      I know! Usually, I LIKE deadlines, but then they start to take over my life. When that pause button becomes a thing, I want to use it too 😛

      Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    November 11, 2017 at 7:08 am

    Soooo true! These are good points. I’m definitely hoping to win (and I’m on track to), but we’re only a third of the way through the month, and I may very well have other stuff going on! It won’t be the end of the world if I can’t write.

    I’m at like…17.5k now? So, I’m getting there. This has actually been a realllly fun writing month so far. I’ve literally made time every. single. day. to get my word count in, and that’s something I do not always feel motivated or able to do. So. It’s going good! (And I saw your word count and YOU’VE (ALMOST?) REACHED 50k???)

    (without becoming a hermit for thirty days. 😉) Btw, RELATABLE🙄

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      November 14, 2017 at 12:03 pm

      That’s awesome, Riley! Writing every day is just…such an invigorating feeling. Nano is a great excuse to make time for it. I hope your writing keeps going awesome <33

      (I reached it Friday night! I can't really believe how I was able to do that... I guess I wasn't a hermit, but I definitely didn't have much time to breathe lol)

  • Reply
    Melissa @ Quill Pen Writer
    November 11, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    These are great points! I’ve been making a point of setting aside an hour to two hours in smaller blocks across my day, to make sure I meet my daily wordcount. Somehow I am ahead this NaNo??? That has never happened before, so I’m happy! 🙂

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      November 14, 2017 at 12:22 pm

      That’s great, Melissa! I hope your writing continues to go really well 😀

  • Reply
    Chelsea R. H.
    November 11, 2017 at 8:34 pm

    Thanks for this article, Audrey. It’s so true that Nano is stressful, but I think my best piece of advice is actually to take one day off a week. That ties in very nicely with #4. I take Sunday off personally, to spend time with my family and at church, to read, relax and not worry about writing. Sometimes I think that not writing sounds counterproductive, but it’s actually the opposite! Good post 😀

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      November 14, 2017 at 12:26 pm

      That’s a great piece of advice, Chelsea! I should probably do that myself more often. I try not to go on the Internet on Sundays, but writing is a different story. I’ll definitely try taking some days off!

      Thank you! <3

  • Reply
    Abigail Lennah
    November 12, 2017 at 9:53 pm

    It’s so important to also realize that yes, we do need to take a break from writing– especially during NaNo, when burnouts can happen! I hope this NaNo season is treating you well, Audrey!

    xoxo Abigail Lennah

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      November 14, 2017 at 12:29 pm


      It’s going pretty well, thank you! I finished the goal and just have to complete my novel now. It’s been surprisingly stress-free (though real life is a different story :P). Are you doing it this year?

  • Reply
    November 13, 2017 at 8:26 am

    I’m a bit behind, but I’m not stressed out because I know I can easily catch up. I planned for it to be a crazy month, so I’m more concerned about consistency rather than crazy high word counts at the beginning of the month.

    Thanks for your important reminders to keep our sanity this month. I know in previous years, I’ve tried to do all sorts of crazy things. #notagoodidea But it’s always good to be reminded here and there, so thank you for that!

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      November 14, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      That’s a good plan! Whatever works for you is best when it comes to nano. I hope your novel is going well 🙂

      Aw, you’re welcome! Thank you for reading <3

  • Reply
    November 13, 2017 at 11:30 pm

    I actually need the stress of deadlines to make me finish things? like I can have four weeks to do an assignment that isn’t even hard… and I won’t even look at it until three days before it’s due. But – to anyone wondering – that’s a TERRIBLE way of doing things, and I’d love to be able to function without the stress.

    #3 – remember it’s a first draft – is a tip I always need to keep in mind. Your NaNo Pit Stop posts are great, Audrey, and I look forward to the next one! (hopefully I’ll have a few more words by then…)

    (oh, I like your image breaks! 🙂
    Jem Jones

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      November 14, 2017 at 12:33 pm

      I’m completely the opposite xD I finish everything WAY in advance. Like, if the deadline is in two weeks, I’ll make it in my head that I have to finish it in ONE week. (which also proves to be extremely stressful *nervous laughter*)

      Thank you, Jem! I’m glad you find them helpful. I’m pretty excited about the next one myself….

      (thanks! 😀 )

  • Reply
    Hannah White
    November 15, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Thank you for this lovely post! Especially that first point. I need to relax a bit 😛

    • Reply
      Audrey Caylin
      November 20, 2017 at 9:06 am

      Aw, thank you, Hannah. I’m glad you enjoyed! Let’s both try this thing called “relaxing” 😛

    Let's chat!

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