Crystal Kamm

Written by

Crystal Kamm

5 November 2020


Don’t forget to rest during NaNoWriMo

Don't forget to rest during NaNoWriMo - Novlr

I know. I understand. November is so short, it’s hard to commit to losing days to rest during NaNoWriMo. It seems so unproductive! But, resting is actually the best way to refuel your inspiration.

Like we talked about last week, when you’re doing a fitness challenge, resting isn’t optional. Athletes have to physically rest their muscles to give them a chance to heal (and grow!) before they can work out again. When I embark on a writing marathon, I always try to take rest time into consideration because I know it is both necessary and helpful. 

Rest during NaNoWrimo and boost your productivity

I’m not suggesting that you sit still right in the middle of NaNoWriMo. I know that November is a month of racing the clock to get to your 50K words, so there’s no time to do nothing. Regardless, I still like to take at least 1 day per week when I forgive myself for not reaching my word count goal. But I do still use that rest time productively. Here’s how:

  • Brainstorm a character profile. Instead of writing the novel itself, write backstory for a character that you’re having trouble developing. You never know, you might come up with something that helps your story get the forward push it needs. 
  • Engage your other artistic senses by drawing or painting a scene from your novel. Even if you’re not skilled in this area, you could draw a simple diagram or map of your novel’s world. Whether your story takes place in a regular neighborhood or a fantasy planet, getting visual helps stimulate other parts of your brain. 
  • Do something that seems totally unrelated to the novel, like go out into nature or move your body to refresh your mind. My favorite thing to do is put headphones and play my writing playlist while I walk in the woods. This helps me stimulate the same part of my brain that I use while I write. I often come back from a walk with fresh ideas that I want to explore. 

Sometimes what starts out as a rest day ends up being the most productive day of the month! Either way, the whole point of taking time to rest during NaNoWriMo is to make sure that you don’t tire yourself out or start to beat yourself up for not working hard enough. Use resting as an opportunity to recharge and you’ll be able to come back and work with even more stamina for the remainder of the race.