Nanowrimo Guide
5 min read

How to refocus when you hit a slump

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Phew, Nanowrimo is pretty full-on, right? Keeping up the pace for thirty days can be a challenge! If you’re flagging or losing motivation, know that you’re not alone. We aren’t machines, so we’ve gotta work with the ebbs and flows of productivity to get you across the finish line.

Here are a few tips to help you freshen up and refocus when you hit a slump. Add your own ideas as you go too, so that you can build your own list of surefire pick-me-ups!

🎬 Do a second take

Redoing part of your routine can act like a mini reset, helping you feel physically refreshed and getting you back in the right frame of mind.

  • Take a shower.
  • Brush your teeth.
  • Make yourself a fresh cup of tea in a different mug.

💆Clear your head

Sometimes we just need a break! It’s okay to step away from your writing and think about something else for a while.

  • Take a walk around the block.
  • Take a nap and when you get up, put on a different outfit.
  • Complete a concrete, easy task to give your brain a dopamine boost. Keep it simple – empty the dishwasher, make a phone call, or feed the cat!

💫 Change perspective

There’s nothing like a new way of looking at things to get you out of a rut.

  • Physically move to work in a new space.
  • Write on paper instead of working on your laptop, or narrate the story to yourself and make a voice recording.
  • Skip to the next scene. Don’t force it if you’re stuck on a certain part! You can always come back to it later.

❤️ Check in with yourself

Mindfulness can help you to be fully present and engaged with your work.

  • Remind yourself why you're undertaking this project—focusing on 'why' can help us to see that the struggle is worth it. Your 'why' might also change over time, and that's okay too.
  • Manage your feelings of frustration or demotivation with intention. Intentionally decide to ride the wave, but don't try to ignore your feelings or pretend they're not there.
  • Acknowledge where you are, and think about what future success looks like to you (this is called mental contrasting). What small step can you take that gets you closer to your goal?

Next time you’re feeling deflated or distracted, give a few of these a try. You’ll find yourself back on track sooner than you think!

BONUS TIP Once you’re back in the groove, First Draft Pro also has some pretty cool writing playlists to get you in the right headspace for whatever scene you’re working on.