NANOWRIMO — are you thinking about it?

This is a starting point for Nanowrimo discussions: do you want to do it, do you have tips, what is it?

Links to resources / groups are encouraged here!

(My suggestion is to keep the conversation positive about whether Nano is a good idea, but it’s just a suggestion. If you had a bad experience, feel free to say so.)


I did it in 2018, and 2019. Both drafts were used to launch a thousand ships. . . well, a couple of novels. It’s a great way to get oriented toward the Writer’s Life. Sixteen, seventeen hundred words a day sounds simple enough until family and job and other obligations press. It helped me prioritize some of that, too. If it’s your first go, I’d suggest keeping it simple and don’t let the trees block your view of the forest. Work on great characters and stunning scenes, settings, and atmosphere . . . do NOT try to make the plot work. Have fun! No, I won’t be doing it this year. . . unless, I’m done with a current project by November.


I want to give it a go, but it’ll be my first time ever. With the current state of things, my productivity hasn’t been the best, which honestly makes 50k words daunting :sweat_smile: It does seem like the perfect kick starter though


I think about NANOWRIMO every year but I’ve never done it. I’d really like to participate this time round as I’m more dedicated this year to my writing. Perhaps we could support each other here :blush:


Having attempted and failed at NaNoWriMo several times, here is my advice to help you avoid my mistakes.

First let me say this: If you do nothing more than participate daily by devoting time to your writing, no matter how many words you end up with at the end of the day, that is an accomplishment, in and of itself. It helps you develop the beneficial habit of prioritizing your writing and incorporating it into your daily routine. If this is all you gain from NaNoWriMo, it’s still a definite gain.

If you find it daunting to write 1,667 words a day in one go, break your writing time up to 2 (834 words), 3 (556 words), or 4 (417 words) separate writing sprints over the course of your day. If your word count falls short one day, make up the difference by folding it into your next days writing. Whatever you do, don’t get distracted or discouraged by your word count. Just focus on your writing. Some days the words will come easy and flow out of you, and some days it will feel like you’re excavating them from stone. Just put the words on the page as they come.

For your best chance to win at NaNoWriMo (which is to say, achieve the goal of writing 50,000 words in 30 days), it is advisable to go into it knowing what story you want to write, who your characters are, what their desires/fears/goals are, what scenes are necessary to the core of your story, and what outcome you predict for your ending. You don’t have to know every single detail but the more you do know, the less chance you’ll have of getting stuck or veering off-track. Spend September and October planning and researching and pre-writing, in order to know and understand the story you’re going to tell and the characters that will populate it. That way, when November arrives, you’ll be ready to dive right in and write it.

Good luck to all those who decide to participate! I’m probably going to give it another shot, myself.


I’ve only tried Nano once. Not a good fit for me. I’m a snail, not a hare. I have a second draft and need to focus on the craft to complete the third. Good luck to anyone who will be participating this year.


Reasons I do Nano:

  1. Forces me to work on my pre-writing outlines
  2. Gives me an excuse to pardon myself for the long Thanksgiving weekend at the in-laws
  3. I ignore the black Friday sales so I don’t spend too much while writing furiously
  4. The amazing feel of accomplishment when it’s over.

Nope… I have enough first drafts:)


Good luck to all Winter Writers out there!

Personally, I don’t think there’s anything special about November for writing a novel. I don’t know if it’s fear, or the need for permission, or good old fashioned procrastination, but why wait to start that first draft?

Today, TODAY is when to start. If there’s anything the plague taught us, life is uncertain, the future is NOT guaranteed, and time is life’s most precious gift.


I will probably go for NaNo again this year to get a draft done for a book I’ve been wanting to write for the past year.

I did NaNo last year and produced the first draft (90k) of the novel I finished last moth and am currently shopping.

My advice is know your limits. If 50k is too much, then set a lower goal. If 50k is too little, go for more. There’s no shame in adjusting a goal to fit your own needs.

And plan ahead. I wrote out a schedule for myself. There were days I knew I would not be writing, so I shifted the work load to days I knew I would have a more open schedule.

And, what kellygunter said, pre-write. A lot.


Could somebody explain the Nanowrimo stuff? I had the inclination to try it but I didn’t have anything written ahead of time and found that without the gist of a novel already set up the nanowrimo seems nearly impossible… Anything helps! :thinking:


I love the challenge of Nano, but don’t feel the need to post my daily progress.

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Here are a couple of articles that might help with regard to whether or not you want to attempt NaNoWriMo.

How NaNoWriMo Isn’t Really About Novels (And Why You Should Join Anyway)

The Ultimate Guide to Planning for NaNoWriMo


I really hope I have a first draft of my current work-in-progress completed before November first. If I do, I may participate in NaNoWriMo as a month-long revision project.


Outlines and the lost art of self-storytelling. 2) This one works both ways. “[she] had to leave early. She’s a writer, you know.” 3) I’ve never succumbed, but now I can tell you why. 4) It’s breathtaking, isn’t it? For all its bumpiness, its a bit like one’s first souffle - Ethereal.

I’ve been thinking about this as well, and I recently decided to take the plunge. Let’s support each other.


I have done Nano for years. Putting that many words down in a month is a great motivator for me. I have learned not to try writing every single day, because I get burned out. If I go into the month with an outline and I write 6 days a week, the word count really adds up.

People don’t have to follow the official word goal of 50k. Set your own goal and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow writers all working together. There are many virtual writeins and forums for questions too. NANO is terrific!


This is great advice!

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Kate – I totally agree a person shouldn’t wait until November to start writing! I was sort of hoping, however, that it might time out so that I was doing new writing as I thought the community would be fun. I have a hard time finding daily writers.


Do you have a writing group ready for Nano, @Carrie, or are you still looking for one? And are you daily writing at the moment?

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