Uncategorized, Words on Wednesdays, writing

Six Tips for a Successful NaNoWriMo

Hello, friends! Can you believe it’s almost November already? This year has gone by so quickly. November means the beginning of NaNoWriMo or National Novel Writing Month as it’s also called. 2022 will be my second year participating, and I hope to meet my goal of 50,000 words. In today’s article, I have some tips for making the most of your writing time this November.

  1. Outline.

I can’t say this enough. Having an outline for your project can make a huge difference in reaching your goal. When you’re writing so many words every day, it’s easy to hit writer’s block.

An outline doesn’t have to be elaborate or detailed. If you’re a pantser, just writing down some ideas in sequential order might be enough. If you’re more of a plotter, there are so many different outline templates to use. There’s the Hero’s Journey, the Snowflake Method, the 3-Act Structure, and my personal favorite, the Save the Cat! Outlining method. Maybe you have a way of outlining that you’ve found works well. Or you could take the opportunity to try a new one! I usually start with the 3-Act Structure to figure out each plot point. Then I take that information and write four-point chapter outlines. That way, I know exactly where I’m going and don’t have to make up content in the middle of NaNoWriMo.

  1. Tell your family.

November can be a busy month for a lot of families, especially with Thanksgiving festivities. Telling your family ahead of time and letting them know your goals will help them help you.

NaNoWriMo can feel like it drags on for the longest time, especially towards the middle of November. When you’re feeling low on creativity, the support of your family is such a blessing. My sister sometimes brainstorms ideas with me if I’m not sure what comes next. Maybe your mom or brother will go for a walk with you. If you’re living on your own, spend some time in October planning out dinners and organizing your schedule. While you’re at it, planning out blog posts and social media posts and newsletter content can take the pressure off of thinking about them in November.

  1. Have rewards as you meet smaller goals.

50,000 is a big number. Near the middle of November, you might start wondering why you picked such a big goal. One fun way to break it up is to have rewards for yourself as you reach certain milestones. You could do every two or five thousand; you could even do every thousand. How you do it is up to you. The point is to have something to look forward to and keep you going when writing gets hard. Have fun with your rewards! A movie, an evening with friends, or a new sticker for your laptop are all good incentives for reaching that next goal.

  1. Don’t write it all at once.

Last year, it took me a while to get into writing 2,000 words every single day. Many times, I waited until after dinner to write. It was hard trying to write a whole chapter. Late at night in an hour and a half or so. I learned to break it up and write several times during the day.

Are you an early bird? Why not spend half an hour before going downstairs getting started on the day’s writing? Or if you have a long commute to and from school, see how much you can get done before you get there. There will be days when you get your word count in easily and can keep going. On other days, it will be a struggle to even get 1,000 words. Some days, you’ll really dislike what you write. This leads me to my next tip:

  1. Wait to edit until later.

The important thing to remember is: keep going. Don’t try to edit as you go, just write your story. Editing comes later. It’s hard to switch back and forth between writing and editing so quickly. Rough drafts are just that: rough. When your story is finished, you can come back and edit and revise as much as you want. For now, just focus on the excitement of writing an entire book in a month!

  1. Write what you want to.

Yes, it’s called National Novel Writing Month. But if you want to work on something else, why not? Perhaps you write nonfiction. Use November to get ahead with articles and blog posts. An avid poet? Work your magic with rhyme and rhythm with a poem a day. Not everyone writes a novel in November. That’s why there’s a badge called  NaNo Rebel on the NaNoWriMo site!

  1. Take breaks and spend time outside.

Spending a lot of time in front of a computer or staring at a notebook can be exhausting. After writing for a while, take a break and head outside! Take a walk in the park or hang out with your siblings in the backyard. Have fun, and when you come back in you’ll feel refreshed and ready to write some more. Breaks are important to give your brain a break. Plus, you can’t force creativity. If you can’t think of what your MC needs to say to the villian, thinking hard about it for an hour isn’t going to help. Spend time outside or with family before coming back to it.

Instead of writing inside every day, find a quiet place outside where you can write and enjoy the fresh air. 

I hope these tips are helpful for you! What are your plans for NaNoWriMo? Are you ready? Let’s chat in the comments!


10 thoughts on “Six Tips for a Successful NaNoWriMo”

  1. These are all such great tips, Anna! I especially love the one about making little goals for yourself and rewarding yourself for you progress. That’s a really good one for me as I can be very ambitious and make huge goals for myself. That makes it feel much less overwhelming to break it down like that! Eee you got me so excited for NaNoWriMo!! Thank you for this!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are great tips! I didn’t think I was going to do NanoWrimo this year, but now I kind of want to, even though I am so not prepared XD
    Last year, I remember being super worried for Thanksgiving day, because I didn’t know when I was going to find the time to write, haha! NanoWrimo is so fun though, even if it can be a bit stressful XD

    Liked by 1 person

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