How to Survive NaNoWriMo

Ahhh... it's that time of the year already! The leaves are changing, (in some parts of the country) the stores are putting out Halloween (and Thanksgiving, and Christmas...) decorations, and anxious aspiring novelists are counting down the days until November 1st, the start of the NaNoWriMo season!

I have participated both successfully and unsuccessfully in National Novel Writing Month for a few years. For those unfamiliar, the goal is to crank out a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. It can be done. Here are some tips.

1. Establish a routine.

Seriously, if you're going to do it and not alienate yourself from family, friends, pets, jobs, etc. you need to set some kind of a schedule for yourself. Give yourself time for the basics: eating, sleeping, work, family time, etc. Make sure you get those things done. Then set aside time for yourself to do nothing but write.

2. Don't procrastinate.

This isn't college. You're not writing a research paper or an essay. It's not an assignment. You don't have to do this. If you signed up for NaNoWriMo, it's because you wanted to. So, obviously, you enjoy writing or want to be a writer. Don't look at this as a chore or a job or something that can be put off until later. If you signed up to do this, then do it. You only have 30 days, so get crackin'!

3. Burn the midnight oil.

Things happen. Work or school gets in the way. You've got a life besides writing. So you may find that you're not as close to your 50,000 word goal as you'd like to be. Be prepared to stay up a little later (or get up a little earlier?!) and write 'til your fingers bleed. Your novel's not going to write itself.

4. Remember: This is about words , not numbers .

Yes, the purpose of NaNo is to get aspiring writers motivated to write/finish a 50,000 word novel. That does not mean that you write for half an hour and then check your word count. Just let it flow. Concentrate on making the words you're writing meaningful and don't worry about constantly counting how many are getting on the page. You want to end up with a good novel, not just 50,000 words of crap.

5. There's always next year!

It's November 30th and you didn't do it. You failure.

Just kidding! So you didn't reach your goal? That doesn't mean that you can't still finish your novel. Keep writing, even if it takes you another 30 days (or another year... or... whatever!) to finish it. Think of how satisfied you'll feel when you know that you've finally finished a project that you can be proud of!

And in 335 days, you can try it all over again!

Best of luck to you!

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Comments 7 comments

kerryg profile image

kerryg 8 years ago from USA

Thanks for the tips, and congratulations on your success!


Smarticus profile image

Smarticus 8 years ago from North Carolina

Thanks for the tips. I was a winner in 2006, and did not write last year. I am thinking about writing again this year, but have not finished the novel I started then yet. Good luck. Here's to 1667 words a day!


Trekkiemelissa profile image

Trekkiemelissa 8 years ago from Illinois

I just signed up for it yesturday. Hopefully I will make it. This would be my first year trying. Great Hub.


PazPax 8 years ago

I had no idea this existed. You've made my November.


crashcromwell profile image

crashcromwell 8 years ago from Florida

I'm pleased to report that as a first-time participant, I went over the 50,000 threshold the night before Thanksgiving. The draft still has holes, so I'm filling them, but my hope is that I can have it in good enough shape to submit to the Amazon.com contest on February 1-8. Have you heard of that one? The first 10,000 entrants will be accepted, and the winner gets a publishing contract with Penguin Books. Not too bad!

Jim Henry, aka crashcromwell


infinitenesmith 6 years ago

Great hub! Snappy and to the point, not unlike the pep talks of Chris Baty himself. I, too, have done several successful (and not-so-successful) NaNoWriMos, and I think these are awesome tips for new Wrimos.


rgasperson profile image

rgasperson 6 years ago from Charlotte

This will be my 7th attempt at NaNoWriMo. I have yet to win. This year will be different. I am going to use all my Social Media Resources to keep me writing. Wish me luck. Thanks for the tips.

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