How to Overcome Creative Burnout During NaNoWriMo

by Lexi Cooper

Greetings, writers! We have made it through another week of NaNoWriMo. How is everyone doing? Are you staying hydrated? Are you getting enough sleep? Need to know how to overcome creative burnout during NaNoWriMo.

The good news is that you’re halfway there. Unfortunately, that is also the bad news. But don’t get discouraged. Now that you’ve done this for two weeks, you have an idea for what the next two weeks will look like.

Plus, I’ve got some tips for you this week for managing burnout and writing around the upcoming holidays.


Creative people often experience creative burnout, especially when undertaking something like writing an entire novel in a month. Here are some ways to help you overcome that burnout and find your writing mojo again.

Overcome Creative Burnout During NaNoWriMo
Writing Burnout

Don’t beat yourself up

It is perfectly natural and expected to start to feel burnt out during this part of NaNoWriMo. Don’t be hard on yourself for feeling that way.

Most if not all writers who’ve attempted this challenge have felt that way. So don’t beat yourself up because you’re not excited to write every day. Being a writer doesn’t mean that you will always enjoy the work, and that’s okay.

Let go of those feelings of self-doubt, and accept where you are in your writing. Taking that pressure away from yourself will help you every time you sit down to write.

Try something new

Doing something new with your writing can help overcome creative burnout during NaNoWriMo
Change Up Your Writing

I’m not suggesting that you start writing a new book. Don’t do that. But there are “new” things that you can do with your writing to make it feel exciting again.

You can try writing from a different character’s point of view. You can move to a new location than the one you typically write in. If you usually write at home, try going to a café or library. If you usually write in third person, try writing in first person.

Do something to switch up the way you write. This will break up the monotony and make your brain feel like it is doing something new.

Take a break

You deserve a break to keep writing
You need occasional breaks

Now I know what you’re thinking. If you take a break, you’ll fall behind and you’ll never be able to catch up. But that isn’t true.

If you’ve been writing every day, or almost every day for the past two weeks, you need a break. If this means not writing for a day, then do it. Trust me.

Go do something else. Go for a walk, spend the night out with friends or family, take a relaxing bath. Check out our previous blog for more tips on surviving NaNoWriMo.

When you come back to writing, chances are you will feel refreshed and rejuvenated, and it will be easier to meet your goals than if you continue to try to write while your burnt out.

Remind yourself of past accomplishments

Remember the things you've done in the past to help overcome creative burnout during NaNoWriMo
Remember Your Past Accomplishments

If you’ve done NaNoWriMo before, now is a great time to look back at that accomplishment and remind yourself that you can do it again.

If you’ve never “won” NaNo, don’t get discouraged. That doesn’t mean that you will never be able to do it. Use those past years as motivation to push through this year. Make this the year that you finally reach your goal.

If this is your first NaNo (welcome!), you can look at other things you’ve accomplished in the past. Maybe you’ve finished a novel before (which means you can do it again). Or maybe it isn’t even writing related. Think back to something hard that you have done in the past. Remind yourself of your strength and the confidence you gained by doing that hard thing.

You can do this! You can do hard things! Don’t forget that!

Talk to other writers

You are not alone in writing NaNoWriMo
Connect with fellow writers

At this point in the process, you may start to feel alone in this endeavor (especially if none of your family or friends are writers). You may feel isolated and discouraged, trying to take on the feat of writing 50k words.

But I have great news! You are not alone. Thousands of writers participate in NaNoWriMo every year. There are tons of resources online where you can connect with other participants. You need only search #NaNoWriMo on platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. to find people participating.

Talk with other writers. Share your struggles with them and listen to their problems to. This is a great time to connect with the great community of writers that NaNo has gathered.

Writing During Holidays

Make time for family during you writing schedule
Spend Time With Ones You Love

If you live in the US, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. With the holiday comes gatherings of friends and family and lots of food. Sounds great, right? Well, maybe not so great if you have taken on the challenge to write 50k this month.

Truthfully, I think November is not the most ideal month to write a full-length novel in, but here we are. (If you agree, you can always challenge yourself to do NaNo in a month other than November when things are less crazy.)

Now don’t sacrifice that precious time with your loved ones. That will feed your writing in its own way. Make plans with them and keep those plans.

Plan Time Wisely

Using time wisely can help you overcome creative burnout during NaNoWriMo
Plan Your Time Wisely

But if you want to continue meeting your word count goals, you’ll have to plan carefully. If you think you can still schedule in your writing time every day, great. Do that. However, there may just be some days where you don’t have the time to write. That’s okay too.

What you’ll want to do is plan out extra time to write in the days before and after the holidays, if you can manage it. Try to get ahead beforehand. Or use the weekend after Thanksgiving to catch up.

You’ll need to be determined to actually write during the time you plan out. Don’t let yourself get distracted during that time. Create a writing space where getting distracted is hard. Many people have won NaNo even with the holidays. You can do it too. Check out K.L. Wightman’s blog about writing during the Thanksgiving.

Once again, good luck this week! We can still do this! Don’t give up! You can overcome creative burnout during NaNoWriMo.

Overcome Burnout During NaNoWriMo