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Reverse Nanowrimo

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I discovered a new method of doing NaNoWriMo last year. In previous years, I just did what everyone else did and plugged along at my 1667 words a day. Sometimes it was more, and that was great but by the end of the month, I was always struggling to finish because there are always days you fall behind and then catch up is more difficult than you think.

I was talking to some people last year on the boards and a girl shared a plan she had to do a sort of reward system NaNo. I dubbed it the backwards NaNoWriMo last year, but it’s still the Reward System and it worked for me beautifully last year. I actually finished early which was a goal I had set before the month even took off. So what is the reward system and how does it work?

The premise of the Reward System is only having to write one single solitary word on day 30. Yep, you read that right. One word. How does that work?

Well, you will see (or if you have participated before you will know) that you usually start off quite strong in your writing. The words seem to flow, your story just seems to write itself. But somewhere around the third week, things seem a little less exciting. All of a sudden, you are seeing plot holes or you wrote yourself in a corner or you’re just plain sick of spending so much time in front of your computer (or notebook, or journal or alphasmart, etc. etc.) and now you’re really struggling to formulate those 1667 words everyday.

With the reward method, by the time this whole feeling kicks in and you’re struggling (day 16 or so) you are already writing less words than everyone else who is doing NaNoWriMo. Why is that? Because you got the vast quantity of words out during the first two weeks. Let me show you a break down of how many words you write each day on the reward method.

Word Quotas

Week One

  • Day 1: 3346 (It’s day one! Just do it! And you can and will!)
  • Day 2: 3216
  • Day 3: 3101
  • Day 4: 2986
  • Day 5: 2872
  • Day 6: 2757
  • Day 7: 2642

Week Two

  • Day 8: 2527 (This is the hard part. Week one is out of the way, but you’ve still got some painful quotas left. Just do it!)
  • Day 9: 2412
  • Day 10: 2298
  • Day 11: 2183
  • Day 12: 2068
  • Day 13: 1953 (Almost there…)
  • Day 14: 1838 (Almost there……)

Week Three

  • Day 15: 1724 (Halfway point! After this, you’ll be writing less every day than everyone else! This is the time where you need this!)
  • Day 16: 1609
  • Day 17: 1494
  • Day 18: 1379
  • Day 19: 1264
  • Day 20: 1150
  • Day 21: 1035 (Less than a thousand words a day after this! And everyone else is struggling to catch up and still write their 1667 words per day!)

Week Four (best time to enter all the word wars you can get, because they will come in SUPER handy with these word counts!)

  • Day 22: 920
  • Day 23: 805
  • Day 24: 690
  • Day 25: 576 (That’s a single good Word War! Feel free to laugh at the people with over three times this quota today!)
  • Day 26: 461
  • Day 27: 346
  • Day 28: 231

Week Five

  • Day 29: 116
  • Day 30: 1 (Aww yeah! One word left! Make it a good one! )

Now I will say that I’m sure this method won’t work for everyone, in fact,  a lot of people really only have time for 1667 words per day. So those first two weeks can be killer. I did fall behind last year during week 2, but made up for it towards the end of week three when I was able to squeak out more words than I thought I would.

I made a special calendar last year for NaNo with this word count on it, so I will probably do that again this year and I’ll make it available to anyone who wishes to do it this way. I did try to see if anyone else was doing this method this year over on the forums but couldn’t find it mentioned a few days ago when writing up this post. So maybe by now?

Are you ready for your 1667 words per day? Or have you decided to give the reward method a try?

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Roland R Clarke

Tuesday 31st of October 2017

I like the idea of this method as I use a version of starting stong to get ahead. But that's because of my chronic health condition. I have bad days when I can't write at all. So it will have to be a variation of this great method. Thanks for this template.

Jessica G.

Wednesday 25th of October 2017

Definitely using the reverse system this year! Excellent idea!


Tuesday 24th of October 2017

I have never thanked you for this fabulous post! Although the idea didn't originate with you, this blog post has helped me and countless others finally be able to achieve that elusive 50K for the first time. I've shared it far and wide with anyone who will listen....and most people I know of personally who tried either succeeded or came closer than they ever have before.

If you're participating in Nano this year, good luck! Thanks again!


Sunday 30th of October 2016

I've used this a couple times. LOVE IT!! Every year I look for this post. Just now I made me a copy, saved it and printed it. Thank you so much for coming up with this idea. It's great because the first week is when the words are flowing. Happy Nano-ing! Melissa

Nicole Cook

Sunday 30th of October 2016

I'm glad you use this Melissa! I didn't come up with it, someone else did years and years ago and I've used it every year to keep me on track. It really does work because it's true, we start out with a vengeance and then somewhere along the way plot holes and writer's block kicks in and then we fall behind. This totally works for that. Good luck this year!


Tuesday 25th of October 2016

I've heard about this, and it sounds so cool! I don't know if I want to do this, since I'm going for above 50k. Maybe if I double it, I'll end up with 100,000 words...

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