Six steps for a successful NaNoWriMo project

If you have never heard of NaNoWriMo, it is a celebration of national writing month. During the month of November, people who have a passion for writing shoot for a 50k word novel rough-draft to be completed in a mere 30 days. If you want to join in on the fun for the first time, or are a veteran WriMo, here are some tips that will help you make this November a success.

  1. Start with the basics. A great novel needs a great foundation. Brainstorm about your characters, what their problems are and how you want them to change. What will happen to them? What will your themes be? A simple “Good triumphs over evil” is fine,  but just knowing that that is what your story will show can help you to come up with plot ideas. An outline isn’t necessarily needed, but knowing the general direction of your story helps to move it along.
  2. Find a writing place that is free from distraction. Where are you going to write? Are there any distractions nearby that may derail your writing process? If so, you may want to rethink your writing spot. It doesn’t have to be in your house. You could set up shop in a coffee house. Most of them have wifi now, so you can write pretty much anywhere. But who says you need internet access to write anyway? I like to keep a dictionary handy. Yup. A legit printed dictionary. Why? Because sometimes if I pop up an internet window to get to an online dictionary I get distracted. “While I’m online, I’ll just pop on Facebook real quick…” That innocent little idea turns into googling how ice cream was invented and then I’m hours into my writing window and haven’t written a damn thing.
  3. Schedule yourself time to write. It doesn’t have to be daily, but in the case of NaNoWriMo, daily writing makes it easier to make your writing goals happen. Shoot for a half-an-hour after dinner. If you write for longer than that, great! If not, no biggie. There’s always tomorrow.
  4. Don’t make excuses to not write! This is most important. If you give yourself excuses as to why you shouldn’t write during your allotted writing time, then you will never do it. “Today I have writer’s block, so I’ll double up on my writing tomorrow.” Nope. Fire up that lap top or PC, open up your document, and start typing. If it sucks, worry about that later when you get to the editing phase. “But I have chores to do…” Do the chores after your  writing time is over. Trust me, my house is a disaster in November. People will deal. You have December to catch up on cleaning. There are only 30 days in November to complete your 50k writing challenge. Make every day count!
  5. Don’t forget to have fun! Remember why you started writing in the first place: you enjoy it. Have fun with your project. See where your characters go and don’t make anything easy for them. That will make it fun for your readers. Writing is a journey, and it is the journey that is fun, not necessarily the destination.
  6. Follow NaNoWriMo on Twitter or Facebook. They have great writing coaches to help you get motivated, so check out their pep talks on the NaNoWriMo website ( There are even forums on their site for anything you could think to ask about. Also, there are other fellow WriMos out there who are wiling to help as well. Hit up the NaNoWriMo community for advice if you get stuck.

So don’t feel left out this November. Start brainstorming ideas, plan out where you will write and when, stick to your plan, and if you do get stuck, go to the NaNoWriMo community for help. There are some great WriMo motivators out there. Believe in yourself. And don’t forget to have fun!

Bring it November! This WriMo is ready. Who else wants to write a 50k word novel in 30 days? Let’s start this journey together.