NaNoWriMo: Week Three (+ Five Ways to Stay Motivated)

WEEK THREE. NaNoWriMo-ers, we’re in the home stretch. One more week—and it’s all over. If you’re on target: AWESOME! If you’re behind: Just remember there’s still a handful of days to catch up, and if you don’t end up winning…then celebrate what you have done. This week I crossed the 50k (!!!!) mark on my Fae-inspired high fantasy novel, which was hugely exciting. I still have a fair way of the novel to go, and the inner editor is becoming demandingly loud…but I’m pushing forward. Now that I’ve technically completed NaNoWriMo, I’ve taken a step back from my WIP to breathe. To think. I talked about last week how week two could be challenging, and while I’m finding my WIP easier to work with this week…it’s still tough. Between my MacBook not working and life in general, I haven’t written a ton of words like I wanted to, so I finished off week two hovering at just past 54k.

To celebrate, I decided to binge-watch season two of Stranger Things, and holy hell, it’s addicting. I only have two episodes to go, and I reaaaallllyyyy don’t think I’ll be able to make them last. (FYI: The soundtrack is amazing. I get chills every time I listen to those opening credits & refuseeeeee to skip past them.)

I opened my NaNo Word Doc. for the first time in a few days…and the words just flowed (which, I swear, is the most amazing feeling a writer can have when drafting.) Right now I can see the ending. Last week, I only had a vague concept of where the novel was and how the characters would get there…but today, everything just fell into place, and I can’t wait to get it down on the page.

One of the hardest things about NaNo is definitely finding the motivation. It’s so easy to want to give up, so I put together five (hopefully helpful) ways that you can stay motivated as we near the end of the month.

Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough.

—Og Mandino

img_63901. Take a break. I’ve mentioned this before—but it can seriously do wonders. I’m lucky enough to live in a place where there’s a ton of trees and wildlife (almost literally at my back door.) Taking a break for half an hour/an hour isn’t going to ruin your chances on winning. Go for a walk, surround yourself with beautiful things. Do some chores. Bake some brownies (seriously…as I’m typing this, I’m devouring the most delicious hazelnut & chocolate-chip brownies I just made). Take a longgggg shower. Let your mind wander, and wait for the ideas to unfurl.

2. Join some writing sprints/word battles. This is one of my favorite parts of NaNo. Word battles! I’m super-competitive, and I always end up upping my word count a lot by the end of the day when I’ve done a few of these, and they’re always so, so, so much fun! Not only does your word count increase, but you get to connect/chat with other writers, too. There’s a bunch on Twitter (you can search for them easily with the #nanowrimo hashtag) and it’s always so much fun to watch other writers around you succeeding & reaching their daily goals.

3. Find that seed of inspiration—the one that made you want to write this book in the first place. That might sound super cliché and/or cheesy…but it’s true! Unabashedly fall in love with your story. Remind yourself why this story is so important to tell. Be fearless in your endeavour to tell your story. I’ve always had a love for elves/Fae (um, obsession might be more accurate… Yes, I’m looking at you, LOTR) and the various myths surrounding them. With my current WIP, I wanted a beautiful, lethal world, with something new around every corner. I wanted magic, and romance, mythical beasts and grand quests. I wanted a protagonist who’s been through bad things—but still they had not broken her.

4. Let go of the pressure. Tell yourself it’s okay if you don’t win. Progress is progress. Sometimes it’s slow—but it’s still progress. Don’t view yourself as a failure if you don’t reach the deadline. I’m one of those writers who can write very quickly—it’s just how my mind works—but everyone is different. I practically do NaNo every month. Right now, I’m positive this book SUCKS, and I’ll have to rewrite entire parts of it…but that’s simply how I work. There’s no good or bad way to write. You do what’s best for your creative process, because comparing yourself to other people’s successes is literally the WORST thing you can do during a time-sensitive venture.

5. Crank up the music. Block everything out. And write. (Or silence, if you prefer that, but music will always be my companion when I write & revise.) Write fearlessly. Write terribly. Put one word in front of the other, and write until you’ve reached your goal. Write on the train, or on the bus. Write in a café, or a library (or shut up in my room, like me.) Write, write, write, until the words pour out of you. Writing does not come easily for anyone—it’s hard work, and it’s supposed to be. But put one word in front of the other, and soon enough, you’ll reach your target, whether that’s 50k or not. Commit yourself to your story, love your story, and claim every moment of writing that you can.

If you set goals and go after them with all the determination you can muster, your gifts will take you places that will amaze you.

—Les Brown

And to wrap up this week’s NaNoWriMo post, here’s a song from my WIP’s playlist.

Ivan Torrent is one of my favorite score/soundtrack artists. He’s incredibly talented, and this song just bursts with hope. It’s the perfect blend of adventure and magic and daydreams (with just that hint of trepidation at the beginning)…PERFECT for the scenes I’ve been writing lately. I can literally see the scenes playing out in my mind as I write this. (Another one of my absolute faovrites of Ivan Torrent’s is “Icarus” Ft. Julie Elven. So spine-chillingly breathtaking.)

To all those competing in NaNoWriMo—tell me how you’re doing! Do you have any tips on staying motivation during the month?

Currently reading: LORD OF SHADOWS by Cassandra Clare (eeeeeek! I’ve been meaning to read this one for AGES!)

Currently listening to: “Bon Appétit” by Katy Perry Ft. Migos (So while I might not be the biggest Katy Perry fan… this song gets stuck in my head 24/7.)

8 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo: Week Three (+ Five Ways to Stay Motivated)

  1. claire says:

    Wow. I’ve never done NaNoWriMo before (or written anything longer than a short story or paper for class, for that matter), and it seems like quite the challenge! Kudos to you for keeping up with three weeks of it. Congratulations on hitting 50k words, and good luck with the ending!

    claire @ clairefy


  2. Cait @ Paper Fury says:

    AHHH SO MUCH CONGRATS, KARA!! I hope the rest of the book behaves nicely and you get to finish it soon too! I also think taking a break is like an amazing thing.I tend to get up and just move around and that really unsticks me. (Just so long as I don’t turn that into procrastination. 😂) Also Ivan Torrent music is incredible. It comes up on my spotify a lot and I just adore it. 😍

    (Squee Lord of Shadows!! I hope you love it!! The finale book comes out exactly a year from now so ajfdsklad a little bit of dying of my soul while waiting.)


    • karaterzis says:

      Thank you, Cait!!! OMG yes, sometimes it’s so easy for those “breaks” to turn into procrastination, haha. And yessss, Ivan Torrent is so amazing. I can literally listen to his music on a loop and NEVER get sick of it.

      (So far, I’m LOVING it. And I saw the cover for the next one & it’s amaaaazing.)


  3. Topaz says:

    Oh my goodness!! SO MANY CONGRATULATIONS on winning NaNo, dear Kara — that’s such an incredible accomplishment (& I’m duly in awe, since I’ve never even attempted it, let alone finished a week in advance!). Such a lovely list of tips on how to stay motivated, as well. I think that’s useful all year round, not just now — & I hope you’re able to take some of them to heart as you’re working on the ending of what I know will be an incredible book. ❤

    Topaz (Six Impossible Things)


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