5 Ways to Succeed at NaNoWriMo

Before I begin I must be forthright. I’ve never attempted NaNoWriMo. But that does not disqualify me from sharing advice about a literary sprint such as this. How? I’ve done the 3 Day Novel Contest. Yes. NaNoWriMo – in three days.

That contest produced a 25,000 word novella with a wide cast of characters, weaving plot, and horrendous grammar, just like your NaNoWriMo project will.

Know you can do it! Super cliché right? Removing this mental hurdle is key. How do you know you can do it? Break it down. 2,500 words a day = a 75,000 word novel. This is more than adequate for any market.

Remove distractions. Turn off the wifi connector on your writing device. barricade yourself in your room or garage. Whatever you need to do to ensure you have absolute focus. One of my friends listens to music. Another requires silence. Do whatever it is that makes you dial in.

Be healthy. Take breaks. Get proper sleep. Go on walks. Spend time not writing. Spend time reading. Maybe choose one day a week where you don’t write. Don’t avoid it but don’t let your creative well run dry. This is paramount. Write 1,000 words and then go stretch your legs.

Don’t edit. This might be hard or not. But consider this – have you ever tried to have a conversation with someone who interrupts you all of the time? Annoying yes? Let your inner artist out. This is not the final draft anyway. If you were a sculptor, your finished draft would be like finding the precise stone to chisel. Believe me, this is an essential ingredient to ensure you do not fall behind and win the competition.

Have your ending in mind. Plot all you want or not at all but have a solid ending. This will keep you going and make sure it will not be a chore to finish, because it can be. And also having your destination in mind will ensure you do not spend 30 hours and 30,000 words on something that does not work or does not interest even you.

I hope you are prepared mentally, physically, and emotionally.

If you have ideas for how you are going to get through this, share them below.



7 thoughts on “5 Ways to Succeed at NaNoWriMo

  1. Believing you can do it is the most important part. The other thing I found essential while doing Nanowrimo was keeping to the daily wordcount goals. People get behind and end up quitting in week two.

      1. I shouldn’t be, but I am. I just can’t resist participating in the craziness that is Nano. I don’t plan on “winning” this year since I am going on a short book tour to New England in the middle of the month and I am hosting Thanksgiving this year. Then again, maybe I will get a ton of writing done while away from home.

  2. pierrmorgan

    Holy cow! 3 Day Novel Contest? I’d say you’re more than qualified to give NaNo advice. This will be my sixth year of NaNoWriMo. I so look forward to it – a rough draft by November 30 that didn’t exist before. That is exciting.

    All your tips are great, especially “Don’t Edit.” I would add to that point – if you must listen to your inner critic, let her/him play a bit part in the draft. Take dictation! And count their words. Every single one.

    So you doing it? Wanna be one of my Writing Buddies? “Pierr” Good luck!

  3. Pingback: Part-Time Novel | 5 Tips to Help You Write Killer Chapters During NaNoWriMo

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