Crawls "Rules"?

I’ve been digging around and have seen these #Crawls as a thing. And they intrigue me.
In my digging, it seems there’s a good amount of modifying it for your needs.
Are they something you do to challenge yourself while you’re by yourself?
Can they be used in a group setting, a write-in (either in person or online) for instance?
Thank you! :smiley:


Some people prefer to do crawls alone, whether as an ongoing thing to come back to whenever they have time to write or as a full-day thing where they work until the crawl is done. Some people might do the same crawl together as writing buddies, pushing each other to see who gets how far and calling in a friend’s help when there’s an in-crawl competition or a “get someone to reach X words with you” kind of thing - the HP crawl is always very popular as a group event, and I’ve seen lots of people in my region do it together and keeping track of where everyone is! Some crawls are made specifically for individual write-in events; my region has a meeting each November with a custom crawl everyone participates in for rewards and a shared story experience. :smiley:

So the answer is yes, to everything! If you’re doing a crawl alone and you want to modify it, that’s perfectly fine. I know a lot of the overachievers like to add an extra 0 behind all the word goals, while others might halve the timed goals or word goals to give themselves an easier time, or they might skip all the fifty-headed hydras because it hurts their hands too much. If you want to use someone else’s crawl for a write-in event, you might want to post in that thread to let the OP know you’re doing so, just to show appreciation! But there’s no hard and fast rules - as long as a crawl motivates you (and/or your friends/group) to write more words, it’s doing its job. :slight_smile:


Hi there!

As far as I’ve seen, there’s not much rules for crawls. You just come up with a set of rules and post them somewhere, or just use them for yourself. They can be really used in any situation you need writing inspiration or just something fun to do while you write.

Most crawls I’ve seen have a theme going on, with multiple options where what you pick determines how much you write. For example I’ve seen a Harry Potter one around, and a Pokemon one, and many like that. That’s optional though, I’m pretty sure.

Yeah, if I ever did a crawl, I would change the fifty headed hydras to just 5 minutes of writing, since I would not be wanting to write any more after that.


@airshipcity and @GeekKat
Thank you, BOTH! :smiley: That helps a lot.
I was wondering about that fifty headed hydra. 500 words in 5 min is indicative of some special typing skills. I was considering changing that to 50 words in 5 min.
Yay! Now to dig through the WikiWrimo crawls. Where was that How NOT to write thread? LOL
Thanks again. :smiley:


From what I read, the name came from someone who wrote literally non-stop for five minutes and they were the only words that were spelt correctly.


I’m not a slow typist when I get going, but even I only use fifty headed hydras as a “write for 5 minutes” prompt. If I’m satisfied with it after, then I keep going. If not, I’ll write for another five minutes.


yWriter says I average about 65 wpm with gusts up to 90, but yeah…
One of my nano buddies can do over 1000 words in a 15 min ww. But that’s still not 500 in 5 min. :open_mouth:
Although, knowing a lot was misspelled helps.


I have a couple I know who can do hydras. Who can type consistently 1k in 10 minutes. That is not me. Even at my best pace I only get about 1k in a 15. And I haven’t even done that for a while. Since last November, actually.


Hydras are cruel indeed. It can take time to work up to them if you want to get up to 100WPM but that is only if you want to do that. My first hydra I beat I used lots of little words in place of the big ones. I was so stunned I lost my train of thought for a while to stare at it.

There is nothing wrong with changing it to a more manageable level. You can then decide if you have beaten your own hydra or not. I am insanely guilty of adding extra 0s as most crawls I have found are not that challenging when I get on a roll, and when I get on a roll I don’t want to have to stop after 200 or 300 words to check what the next step is. I like crawls for reminding me to move on and do more but I also like them because I can semi plan my week ahead when I have a crawl. I see the point of them as just a tool to keep me writing. Sometimes I will just look at the next step and go: hmm 500 words, let’s just do a “finish the scene” bit.

As others have said, if they work for you they work, if not then they don’t. I have found some years I can get a few crawls done and in others I find that I slog my way through one. It just depends.


I’ve done NaNo several times but never spent a lot of time on the forums. Can someone explain what crawls actually are? Is it just another name for word sprints?


Not quite.

Crawls are challenges that can be found around that basically are a post or document with a list of challenges that you have to complete in a row. These include wordcount goals, time goals or a combination of both. It’s like a pub crawl, but instead of going to lots of pubs and getting very drunk, you stay at home, do lots of challenges and get lots of words instead (and the recovery the morning after is probably a bit easier!)

Often they’re themed, and can have such things as collectables you can use to skip a later challenge, or alternate paths based on your choices/how you did on earlier challenges.

Here’s a pretty comprehensive list if you’re looking for somewhere to get started:


That looks fun! Thank you :slight_smile:

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Yes, thank you so much for sharing! I’ve struggled to find the appeal of crawls myself but I looked through the Harry Potter one and I think since the chunks are bigger I’ll enjoy it more. When the crawls ask you to write like 30 words at a time I think it actually slows me down. This is a great resource and thanks to you I’ll be trying the Harry Potter crawl this NaNo. Helpful as well since I think I’ll be writing another Children’s novel.