6 NaNoWriMo Tips for Vacation, Thanksgiving


Do you know that “All Is Lost” moment in a novel? It usually happens at the end of Act Two.

I feel like that’s where I’m at with National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Why? Because I went to San Diego for vacation. And my word count status for NaNoWriMo has plummeted.

For me and my NaNoWriMo progress, it seems like all is lost.

As a writer, an ‘All Is Lost’ moment is the most hellish trial your character will have to go through — Standout Books Publishing Services


If you find yourself on vacation this month, here are 6 tips to help keep your writing progress on track.

1. Write on the plane 

“Being confined to your seat for several hours on a plane is the perfect time to write.” — Meghan Miller, Tethered by Letters

2. Wake up a little earlier, stay up a little later

“…you’ll need to slot that work into your vacation schedule the same way you schedule it into life back home.” — Kevin T. Johns

3. Write during down-time

When you’re back at the hotel, type a bit on your laptop or scribble in your notebook instead of watching TV. You probably won’t be able to put in a thousand words in one go, but it’ll be better than nothing. You may even surprise yourself with how much you get done.

4. Increase your daily word count before you go

Put on your MathWriterMatician hat. Figure out what you’d like your daily word count to be while on vacation. Divide that number by the number of days you’ll be on vacation. Spread that amount over the week or two before you leave. If you do that, then…

5. Don’t write at all during the time off

Make a conscious decision to be on vacation, with no writing. Be guilt-free. Allow yourself to enjoy the well-deserved time off. Just be ready to…

6. Hustle when you return home

20181112_141120Hopefully, you won’t get back home in need of a vacation from your vacation. (We’ve all been there.) If you’re like me and return home with a paltry word count, there’s good news. The month isn’t over.

Be gentle on yourself. Write as much as you can during the rest of November. Even if you think all is lost, write like it isn’t. Make a conscious effort to try to meet your NaNoWriMo goal, even if it’s less than 50,000 words.

“But what about Thanksgiving?”

Many of the items above can apply to Thanksgiving, too, especially tip numbers 2, 4, 5, and 6. 

Since I plan on making a Thanksgiving dinner, I know that writing on Thursday will be impossible. Wednesday will be tough, too, because I’ll cook several things early, like homemade cranberry sauce, gravy, and apple pie.

But I’ll have a writing strategy going in.

  • Work on increasing my daily word count the days before Thanksgiving.
  • Allow myself to take the holiday off and be guilt-free.
  • Hustle when Thanksgiving is over (while consuming yummy leftovers, of course).

Do you have any tips to add? What writing strategy will you use for Thanksgiving? 

Check out these related posts:

Why Your Novel Needs An ‘All Is Lost’ Moment – And How To Create One — Standout Publishing Book Services

Should You Write While On Vacation? — Kevin T. Johns

Writing While On Vacation — Tethered by Letters

And my article:

Why Aspiring Authors Are Really MathWriterMaticians 

Published by Rene Penn

Author. Blogger.

12 thoughts on “6 NaNoWriMo Tips for Vacation, Thanksgiving

  1. Speaking of San Diego: When we were vacationing out there I woke up a few hours before everyone else. I had an idea that just wouldn’t go away. I sat out on the deck and wrote an outline and notes on the entire novel. By the time we got home it was ready to go.

    Vacations can be a huge distraction. I discovered being the first one up does help.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s the lack of routine that does it. I find a beach type holiday okay, and it can be nice to get back to pen and paper, but city or countryside breaks I find impossible not to break off a while. Aside from a few notebook scribbles.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Librepaley8, I’m the same way about types of vacations! I think it’s because my city vacations are packed with sightseeing and walking around. And there’s more hiking and driving around during the countryside vacations. So I’m usually worn out by the end of the day. With beach vacations, though, I just lounge around like a little seal. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I can relate to this. Sometimes you get this great rhythm down, and while vacation is fun, it also can interfere with a particular routine, or something you’ve committed to complete. Your advice is great though: having a strategy going into it really helps you get through it and allows for a more mindful approach. Write on, friend. You are making it happen!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right about rhythm and routine. When they get out of sync, especially for days a time, it does make things tougher. I love vacations, but they are a bit disruptive…Yet, they’re so necessary. — RP

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Awesome tips Rene! So needed! Since I do want to enjoy our Thanksgiving family vacation without worrying about Nano I’m trying my best to up my word count now and will hustle when I come back! 😦 I’m at 32K now so it shouldn’t be too hard 🙂 Happy writing and thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

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