Crystal Kamm

Written by

Crystal Kamm

21 November 2022


If NaNoWriMo Was a Fitness Challenge

NaNoWriMo as a fitness challenge - Photo by Miriam Alonso

Writing a novel is arguably one of the most gruelling of endurance sports. We write and write and write, only to scrap what we wrote and write it, again and again. We want to ensure that the message is accurate to our vision, the characters live up to their challenges, the story engages the reader, and so much more. 

As a writer, going on such an intense/exhausting/exhilarating/inspiring (choose your adjective) journey, it’s important to remember to take care of yourself. After all, you’re wearing all the hats on this project.

If you’re not there to do the work, no one else will pick it up for you. So, here’s a little friendly advice about how I take care of myself during NaNoWriMo!

Writing as a workout!

I like to pretend that NaNoWriMo is a fitness challenge instead of a writing challenge.

If I were participating in a workout challenge, I’d need to make a special point of caring for myself, mind, body, and spirit, to keep from losing ground. Some things I’d make sure to do:

Vary my workouts

It can exhaust the muscles to work out heavily every single day. I usually do about 3-4 heavy days (1+ hours of training, or in this case, writing), 1-2 lighter days (30 minutes to 1 hour), and 1 day of complete rest.


When you’re working out, you need to eat right and drink plenty of fluids to fuel your body.

All the strenuous activity you’re engaging in will take its toll. The same is true of writing. When you’re feeling stuck, it can help to read pieces of writing that inspire you, with your favourite beverage on hand.

Whenever I’m feeling uninspired, or my writing reads flat to me, I like to settle in with a cup of tea and read a novel that originally inspired me to want to write (for me, that novel is Outlander).

tea and books - Photo by Thought Catalog


Because November is so short, it may not be possible to rest completely for a whole day, but it can help to give yourself the occasional day where you allow yourself to rest your mind and forgive yourself for not performing at the top of your game.

But, this doesn’t mean that you should turn on Netflix and simply give up; one of the keys to taking a “rest day” is that you still do something.

Do you ever think about NaNoWriMo as a fitness-related activity?

Sometimes just the metaphor of considering it to be a “race” helps me stay focused on the goal. Writing a novel is hard work, and November is an opportunity to do some of that hard work with the support of a great community of writers who are doing the same work.

What are some ways you like to think about NaNoWriMo as a means of helping you get to the end?

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