How to Write More Words Than You’ve Ever Written (NaNo’12 Day 1)

I decided to aim for 50k day (the act of writing 50,000 words in one day).

This, I knew, was a stretch. The last time I’d written 15,000 words in one day was in 2009— in the middle of NaNoWriMo— and the last time I’d written 15,000 words in a 24 hour period was in August. 10,000 words a day show up more frequently, but never on the first day. My first day totals tend to be terribly pitiful drops in the bucket.

But I wanted to break through my barriers… and I did.


  1. Shut off the internet. The internet will kill you. Slowly. You’ll go on to check something and come away with… 2 hours of watching other people hit their word counts. Luckily the apartment we’re staying in now has no internet, and the iPad did not have internet either.
  2. Make five minutes of internet your reward for hitting the midway point. I would not recommend this, though, if you’re not super-disciplined. Luckily, my siblings wanted the iPad at the same time, so I was able to get off with only a quick wordcount update throughout the day.
  3. Plan ahead. I planned my 50k day about 48 hours ahead— I went to bed super early two nights in a row, and napped all through Halloween. I woke up at 10:55pm to plan a bit more before 12am, so that I could sprint through a lot of words before we left home. Beyond this, I knew where the story was going, and I’d pause every once in a while to draft out the scene before writing. This makes it easier to type quickly.
  4. Write. Once NaNo has started, just write. Don’t censor yourself, set a timer if that helps you (I set 15 minute long timers and challenged myself to hit 1k by the time the timer ran out. Then, 14 minute timers, then 13 minute timers. Soon it will be 12 minute timers.)


If you need a break, hit the next milestone and then get up. Stop in the middle of a sentence. Or the middle of your favorite scene. Run around, drink water, put on some really energetic music and dance to that… tell everyone your word count and/or make them push you back to the laptop/computer/pen and paper/typewriter… you get the picture.

So, what’s my wordcount for Day 1?

30,000 words.

Because I’m now keeping records, I know this took me about 9 hours and 56 minutes, and that my most productive moments were bursts of 35-50 minutes, at about 4-6pm, sitting on the bed with lots of elbow room.


What’s your first day total? And how are you planning to beat it later this month?


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