NaNoWriMo Update and Why I Love Word Sprints

Reaching my goal of 50 000 this month at this moment seems a lot easier than it did 12 days ago!

At the moment my word count is 42 515 and I am hoping to reach my 50 000 by Sunday. Thing is, I wasn’t planning on finishing this soon at all. I was planning on finishing the first draft (which is going to take more than 50 000 after all), but it seems that now that I got stuck into the story I’m churning out a lot more words per day than I had thought I would be able to. Although the housework is suffering a bit as I completely lose track of time… but then, writing is more important…

Word Sprints

The word sprints every day has helped an awful lot not only to up my word counts, but also to take the story to places where I had not expected it would go. I use the word sprints on specific parts of the book where I am not quite sure what direction to take. (This is where you can see that I’m much more of a pantser!) I then use the word sprint to just let go (let it go, let it go… sorry), stop worrying so much about the outline if something feels like it’s not working, and just see where the story takes me. It has helped me so much to get a few plot points, which I was not quite sure of, into place.

So, as soon as I start to feel stuck, I give myself a twenty-minute sprint and see what happens instead of putting the work aside. While I know that many writers hate the idea of the word sprints, I find that it really does work for me and I’ll be sure to keep doing it in the future when I suddenly get stuck in the middle of a chapter because something isn’t working.

While I was writing, I also realised that I needed another character to show how the rest of the world was responding to the crisis that the main characters are trapped in. He is now also slowly coming to life as I start work on those chapters. Luckily I’m working with Scrivener, so it is a lot easier to move chapters around than it would have been otherwise.


By Carin Marais

Bibliophile, writer of speculative fiction, non-fiction, and maybe-fiction, language practitioner, doer of stuff.


  1. Sprints have really helped me this time around, as well. I especially like NaNoWriMo’s twitter for this – it helps me with focus and accountability. Congrats on the fantastic progress so far!


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