NaNoWriMo Tips

November is the month when a lot of people try their hand at writing a novel. The task of writing fifty thousand words might seem easy at first, but you’ll (undoubtedly) get stuck somehow. A part that’s missing, a part that doesn’t work, or maybe the words don’t want to flow anymore. It’s easy to lose motivation, and when you get behind with your word count, you might even start to panic.

So here are some (useful, I hope) tips for successful NaNoWriMoing.

1. Tell everyone you’re writing a novel. Your relatives, your friends, the mailman, the landlady, anyone needs to know. Tell them you’re going to do it in just one month. The more you tell people about this crazy endeavor of yours, the more likely it is that some of them will keep asking you about it. And you don’t want to disappoint them, do you? This is a good way to keep you motivated.

2. Outline, make a plan, or just come up with a bunch of ideas of scenes. But don’t overdo it. I found that the more I know about a story (or the more I tell people all about it,) the less I feel the need to write it down. I have like 3-4 different ideas for novels that plot-wise are complete, but I don’t feel like writing them. Indeed, this might not be your case, but for me every story I write has to feel like an adventure.

3. Make time to write. No matter what. If you want to win NaNoWriMo, you’ve got to make time to write.

4. Don’t check your word count every ten seconds or less. Just write.

5. If you don’t write enough, don’t panic. Don’t try too hard to write more the next day. Just write. Take a deep breath, relax, and write. Some days you’ll write 5K words, some days you’ll write a single sentence.

6. Experiment. A lot. Write at night, write in the morning, write in the bus. Try to find out what setting and time of day inspire you more. You’ll never know if you don’t try.

7. Remember. NaNoWriMo is for fun. No one expects you (and you’re not supposed) to write a brilliant novel. Set out to have fun, to write a crappy first draft. In that regard, don’t worry about plot holes and inconsistencies and characters dying twice in the same chapter. That’s what editing is for.

8. Don’t edit. Just write. It’ll make it much easier for you to reach your goal.

9. If you get stuck, don’t panic. Take a look at my post, Overcoming Writer’s Block. If that doesn’t help, go out, have some fun, drink a couple of beers, play some darts. Keep your mind off writing for a while, that usually helps.

10. Last but not least, don’t let people read your novel. Not now. That’s why it’s called work in progress. You don’t want feedback now, you don’t want people to tell you what’s wrong with your story (that way you’ll go back and revise.) Just write. That’s the most important tip of all: just write.


35 comments on “NaNoWriMo Tips

  1. It works, really. Especially the first point, but the others as well. Well written!

  2. Great writing style- you are a rple model for me. Blogging helped unfreeze my writer's soul. Now I can jusy write, letting words flow like living streams. I don't analzie my words with my left, analytical brain. There is quote from an some author? who says, "I think with mt fingers."

  3. Kim Ross says:

    I love the advice! I plan on writing a book day.

  4. Morgan Phoenix says:

    Reblogged this on A Place to Fall and commented:
    Some tips to keep in mind this November.

  5. Great advice! Thank you!

  6. topper2012 says:

    Wow. These're great! Thanks! :)

  7. Thanks Cristian. These are some good tips. I'll try to keep them in mind.

  8. toricatjr says:

    Reblogged this on The musings of a die-hard optimist. and commented:
    Had to share, since I'm attempting my first NaNoWriMo this year. Great advice!

  9. fasigwrites says:

    Excellent advice! Hope your NaNo is going well as for mine well today is one of those stuck days. But tomorrow is coming so have no fear! I read suggestion #9 and I also read you post on writers block again. Keep going great post.

  10. Ina says:

    really i like this topic. i do want to try it, may be.

  11. Shawn Anctil says:

    Thanks for sharing this Christian! Great post!

  12. Great advice if I wasn't busy chasing my other dream I'd be doing this #someday

  13. Ellyn Baker says:

    Thank you for the great tips. I have been so busy on a project, I didn't even know what NaNoWriMo meant. It sounds challenging, but not impossible.

  14. createengwp says:

    Read the title and thought #4. Sometimes it's easier to let it flow and shift focus away from the word count.

  15. You're right — just write. I am going to have fun with this. Thanks!

  16. grafixp2012 says:

    Good advice, all of it…especially the couple of beer!!

  17. Thank you. I have been letting my husband, who is an incredible editor by the way, and I trust his judgement and always have a better draft by far after his final analysis, read each days output. Oh dear. It is slowing me down. And forcing me to rethink and rework each paragraph. I know now that I must press on and see where the muse will lead me. Break free. Breathe. Go!

  18. scottfack says:

    A few years ago, one of my best friends tried to get me to do NaNoWriMo with him. I ended up running out of time and energy (it's the end of the school year here in November and December, so extremely busy time at work), but your advice is excellent and would have helped me so much then! Thank you for sharing… I'll have to try giving NaNoWriMo a go next year with all your very helpful pointers firmly in my mind (or taped to the wall)!

  19. Kozo says:

    Still waiting for my 5k word day to come in the next 24 days. Luckily, I haven't had the one sentence day either. Thanks for the advice, Cristian.

  20. Amirh says:

    Reblogged this on In the Spaces Between Words and Images and commented:
    Great advice for anyone who wants to get started and then continue.

  21. The challenge is to participate in the NANOWRIMO and also to continue posting on my blog!!!

  22. Chelle says:

    The tip about not obsessing over your word count is so true! I wish there was a way to hide the darned thing! :-) Great advice x

  23. jomaidment says:

    Nine is what I did yesterday, as you have seen from my blog, I went and wrote elsewhere but it helped to free up the juices to complete the section i was trying to write yesterday. Good advice and the kick I needed to keep going

  24. Great insight on how to prep for this scribe's marathon. Now, all I need is a good story idea to put your tips into action. Thanks for the short primer.

  25. […] There are also some great tips found on this blog post. […]

  26. I have all of my scenes mapped out. I sit down and look at my scene notes and write it. I've found that it helps because I can't just say "I don't know what to write!"

  27. agatharaisinslover says:

    Reblogged this on Journey in my boat and commented:
    i started with a play, but i am not the kind of writer who writes the play every day. i dont have the concentration for a book.

  28. Reblogged this on Reflections: Or a Mirror of Life and commented:
    Great tips! As an aspiring writer, I always enjoy getting "the scoop" from someone who's been there and done that. Thanks, Cristian!

  29. Agree. Especially number 10. That's like novel suicide right there, other than the fact it gets you distracted with editing and keeps you from writing.

    The main thing, you got to accept the first draft is going to suck. I'm still trying to convince my inner editor of that myself. We'll see if I can shut her up by the end of the month or not…

  30. Care says:

    I love the advice thank you!! I've been toying with writing for a long time now. These ideas and suggestions helped alot.

  31. nadiafriza says:

    50k words? Oh wow, I usually stuck at 1k words when writing an essay. Writing a novel is totally not for me. Thanks for the tips though. :)

  32. missgiven says:

    Great post! I have always considered writing a novel and have even started off a couple of ideas but never finished. My daughter and I are currently working on a book of poems for children. I agree with your advice to tell someone. Make yourself accountable.

  33. Christina says:

    Reblogged this on Banana Blurbs and commented:
    Good advice.

  34. jaelwriting says:

    Great tips! I agree on every single one. Happy writing! :)

  35. tscst13 says:

    i so needed to see this today. thanks.

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