NaNoWriMo Word Crawls, Sprints, and Prompts

NaNoWriMo word crawls, sprints, and prompts

We’re exactly two thirds of the way through NaNoWriMo 2015. If you’re sticking to the classic schedule of 1667 words a day, then by the time you go to bed tonight you should have 33,240 words under your belt.

Whether you’re exactly on target, behind, or finished, I wanted to share something that I discovered just yesterday that may be immensely helpful for you: Word Crawls!

If you, like a slightly younger version of myself, have no idea what word crawls are, they’re basically pure awesomeness that has the potential to help you grow your word count exponentially. More specifically, I would describe them as role-playing writing games that incorporate word sprints, word wars, and other writing challenges. A lot of them are fandom-based – like this Doctor Who one and the Harry Potter one I’m doing right now. Some of them are even designed to help you get real work done while still writing, like this housework one and this one about fitting in your homework.

Most of these require a healthy chunk of time (some more than others), so it’s probably best to save them for a day when you have a few consecutive hours to devote to writing. I must admit that I’ve been spacing that Harry Potter word crawl out over a couple days.

You can find dozens and dozens of word crawls here in the Word Wars, Prompts, and Sprints Thread in the NaNoWriMo forum.

Here’s a list of the ones I really want to try before the month is over, time willing:

Speaking of dice, many of these crawls have sections that require you to roll them. If you don’t have a physical set nearby, you can use this one from, where you can choose the number of dice being rolled, or simply type in “roll d#” with the # being the number of sides (By the way, did you know Bing has a rewards program that PAYS you to use their search engine? It’s awesome!).

If you’re looking for an extra-difficult challenge, how about slaying the Fifty Headed Hydra? The challenge is to write 500 words in 5 minutes, which is just as hard as it sounds. To give you an idea of exactly how difficult this is, the challenge got its name because the first (recorded) time anyone beat the challenge, ‘fifty’, ‘headed’, and ‘hydra’ were the only words they had spelled correctly. Yeah, if you’re going to slay this beast of NaNoWriMo mythology, you’ll need to ignore your keyboard’s backspace for sure.

I hope you find these word crawls as helpful and intriguing as I have. If you’ve done word crawls before, which ones are your favorites? If you haven’t, which ones do you want to try? Do you have an idea for an awesome word crawl? Let me know in the comments!

And if you’re interested in other ways to bolster your NaNoWriMo numbers, check out this post on NaNoWriMo Word Wars!



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H. Duke
H. Duke writes fantasy, horror, and more. Her works include the weird west / urban fantasy serial mashup, Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer and the Christmas horror collection, Things on the Shelf: Three Tales of Christmas Terror, as well as the forthcoming Pagewalker series. She wrote the first season of Jeremiah Jones Cowboy Sorcerer while living in Arizona with her husband, Giru, and a shiny black dog named Jupiter. To see what she's up to now, visit her website.

1 comment for “NaNoWriMo Word Crawls, Sprints, and Prompts

  1. December 27, 2016 at 7:10 PM

    It isn t so much the word count or how fast or slow your write. It s about setting creative goals and having the courage to try your best.

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