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NaNoWriMo survey reveals writing habits

November 2, 2015
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A survey of 2000 NaNoWriMo writers ahead of the launch of this year's month-long writing challenge has revealed their writing habits, which they say hold the key to successfully completing the month-long challenge.

The survey by Stop Procrastinating, the productivity website, asked writers who had undertaken NaNoWriMo at least twice before to reveal their strategies for success, especially as many who take part find writing 1,667 words every day for 31 days a challenge too far and give up before the end.

The survey revealed that respondents were attracted to NaNoWriMo by discipline, focus and the lure of a deadline.

Yet 76 percent advised writers not to edit as they go along but to use the month as an opportunity to be free from expectation and to write creatively. Editing can come much later.

Twenty-one percent of respondents said they started planning in October. Planning the outline even just a week before gave them a head start.

Fifty-two percent, however, said they preferred not to plan and write freely.

Sixty-seven percent said the time of day they wrote was crucial to success:

Forty-nine percent wrote in the morning before work. They felt fresh and creative.

Many got up at 5 a.m., two hours before they usually woke up. Of these, 84 percent said they felt good for rest of the day knowing they'd already finished.

Twenty-two percent said they found writing after work too tiring.

However, 28 percent said they preferred writing before they went to bed.

Thirty-two percent said they tried to write more than 1,667 words each day to bank some words for less productive days.

Respondents said learning to write anywhere was essential to success:

Twelve percent wrote in the toilet at work or home.

Twenty-two percent wrote in the back of a taxi or on public transport.

Eight percent wrote at work instead of working.

Seventeen percent wrote in bed.

Six percent wrote on a flight.

Nine percent wrote in the car.

Six percent had admitted to taking a sick day to write during November.

Eighteen percent said they took holiday from work.

Twenty-three percent said they took part in word wars or word count contests with other writers.

The survey also discovered the devices writers used to create during the month:

Eighty-two percent wrote on a computer.

Seven percent wrote using pen and paper.

Three percent wrote using a typewriter.

Dealing with distractions was a top priority:

Fourteen percent were distracted watching TV.

Twenty-one percent were distracted by reading a novel

Forty-two percent were distracted by the Internet

Twenty-eight percent said they were too tired to write

However, these distractions were temporary, with 33 percent of respondents saying the habit of writing daily continued after the end of November.

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