Surviving NaNoWriMo

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, or have removed all social media from your devices, you know the eleventh month is a BIG DEAL in the lives of writers. It’s National Novel Writing Month, fondly known as NaNoWriMo.

For the two of you who are uninformed, the challenge is to write fifty thousand words in the month of November. Not necessarily a full novel, but enough to get past the ‘I’m going to write a book someday’ phase.

Let me break this down for you: Fifty thousand words divided by thirty days equals 1,666.66667 words per day. Miss a day? The next day the required word count is 3,333.33333. Have I lost you yet?

Stick with me, writers. This could be your watershed moment. Setting a Big Hairy Audacious Goal might just be the impetus you need to sit your bottom in that chair and begin to use those digits the way God intended – on your keyboard.

Here are a few tips I’ve learned through past attempts at NaNoWriMo:

  1. Do not, and I repeat, do not edit while you write. You have my permission to read over what you wrote the day before, but that’s it. The goal is to get those words squeezed out no matter how awful.
  2. Make a plan and stick to it. Do you write best in the morning? Set your alarm for a bit earlier than normal and write in the quiet of the morning. Are you a night owl? Grab those noise-cancelling headphones and ignore the dog, the cat, and the kids while you pound out some letters.
  3. Don’t stress if you don’t get to 50,000 words. It’s a long, tough crawl from zero to fifty. Give yourself grace when life happens.
  4. Don’t give up if you miss a couple of days. It’s a lot easier to give up than to keep going.
  5. Join an online NaNo group. Hold someone else accountable and they will return the favor. The NaNo website is chock full of tips and encouragement.

Okay, writers. You’ve been given your marching orders.

Write on!

About Jane S. Daly 20 Articles
Jane Daly was awarded the Excellence in Editing award for her book, The Caregiving Season, and two Cascade Awards sponsored by Oregon Christian Writers. She is also the author of Because of Grace (2015). Jane Daly is a California girl living in an Oregon world. She and her husband and two cats relocated to a small town in rural Oregon from a big California city.