5 Things That Lead to a NaNoWriMo Win

NaNo is coming up and I do several things to make sure I win. Most of my tasks are designed to remove the pressure that goes with winning NaNo.

  1. Schedule My Blog Posts.


    Throughout November I only visit my blog to respond to comments and try to reciprocate when possible. I do slip with the commenting in NaNo month, but I do try to make it up the rest of the year. If you know me, then you already know I’m pretty good at dropping by and sharing my thoughts.


    When I’m tapped out of ideas I’ll try a meme or two to get me through. Hey we can’t all be as sharp as a proverbial tack every minute of every day. I’m no exception. I also find that once I’ve written a few post, ideas will just come to me.


  2. Outline.


    I can hear the pantsers now. Please don’t get your pants in a knot. It’s a suggestion and nothing more. I need direction, so I use a very general outline as a guide. I’m not saying that outlining is the only way to go, but a general direction is helpful.


    My direction is in the form of plot points, and having a general idea of how the story will end.


    I don’t always end up where I planned to go and I’m good with that too.


  3. Daily Writing Assignments.


    Once I know my plot points and ending, I assign a daily word count to get to 50k (approximately).


    So midpoint is about 25k, and my inciting incident better have happened before 12k.


    Break this down into scenes. If you’d like more guidance add a scene goal that the characters are working toward/against. Or any other prompt that will get you working toward they daily word count.



  4. Daily Word Count.


    Most people writing during NaNo do the 1.6k per day. I do a little more and strive for 2k a day. So what I try to do is write one 2k scene, focusing on as many details as possible. Sometimes it’s not a pretty sight. I jump around as things occur to me, add as much depth and emotion as possible and keep my vision on this one entry.


    Some days I actually write a pretty good scene. Other days, it looks more like a sectioned list of notes I want to include but can’t seem to choke out into anything logical order. On the bad days I just go with it.


    I don’t look back and I don’t look ahead. I’ll do that in December.


  5. Keep Moving Forward.


    Hardest thing to do is keep moving forward. The only way I manage is with a notebook beside my keyboard and jotting down notes that will help me forget what is bothering me and let it go. If I write it down I can fix it later.


    Do not stop and start to edit. Doing any editing is like walking on thin ice in spring thaw, you may make it across, but most don’t. Stay safe and promise you’ll go back and fix it AFTER you’ve won instead.


There are no guarantees when starting NaNo. Every year I wonder if I’m going to win. So far I’ve done okay. I’m sticking to my rules because they work for me. If anything here helps you, great. If you have a suggestion that helped you get through, please leave your thoughts in the comments. I don’t know about everyone else but I could use as much help as possible. 🙂



27 responses to “5 Things That Lead to a NaNoWriMo Win

  1. Each person has their tips that help them stay focused and moving forward. Yours sound like some good ones, flexible and simple. Have a wonderful day, Anna.

  2. I like the idea of seeing word goals (by this point in the story be at about this word count), since I have an actual outline this year (!) Something like that might help me stay on course 🙂
    Now, to make sure everything else is ready, and figure out how to carve out the time, this year, it really is carving.

  3. Thankfully I’m splitting NaNo between two projects this year, so I’m hoping between the two I’ll keep up the fire. (Especially since I love them both!) Still, I’m approaching November with a little dread.

    • You and me both. I always wonder going in if I’m going to make it. Then my stubbornness kicks in and I have no choice but to struggle through.

      Good Luck, Crystal. I’m sure you’ll do great 🙂

  4. This sounds like so much fun! I have seen a ton of people talking about this this week. Good luck with all your writing!

  5. I am not a NaNo kind of person and don’t see myself ever doing it. It’s not how I write.

    But I think it’s great that people do do it.

  6. Hey Anna, good on you for participating in NaNoWriMo! I love the line ‘don’t get your pants in a knot’. Ha ha! Good tips too 🙂

  7. Good luck with NaNo. I won’t be able to take part this year, but I do love having an outline prepared before I start.

  8. I am thinking about doing a Blogger NaNo type challenge where you write and schedule 30 posts in 30 days. I have 30 pre-scheduled already but the idea of 60 makes me tingle. These are good tips to use even for that.

    • If I tried doing 30 post in 30 days I’d probably snap in half. I will cheer you on if you’d like to try though. Pom poms and all “\o/” Yay!

      Suddenly NaNo doesn’t seem so bad. hehehe

  9. I love the orgnaized approach, Anna. If I were entering, this is how I would do it.
    But, I’m not–and happy about that!

  10. Wishing you a great November!

  11. I am so not a pantser. I plan, plan, plan… (perfectionist, I suppose).

    I won Nano last year (1st attempt) by setting my alarm to 4:30 am each day. I typed until I reached 2000 words (usually two hours) and then climbed back into my cozy bed for a bonus 60 minutes of blissful sleep.

    I also gave up contractions for the month. HA!

    My blog posts were daily, but it always was about what I accomplished during the day on Nano. That was a great way for me to blow off steam without constantly bombarding my family (I caught them yawning, more than once, while I rambled on about how far I’d come).

    Add me as a Nano writing buddy ( http://nanowrimo.org/participants/read-faced/ ). I’m a great encourager.

  12. Your nano checklist is similar to mine. I schedule as many posts as possible for October and November. (I’m an ML so I need extra planning time in October to devote to my region.) and my word count is around 2.5K a day. I like to finish before Thanksgiving so I can enjoy the holiday with my family. Good luck this year! I hope you make your 50K. 🙂

  13. Good luck with NanoWriMo Anna! 🙂
    I really applaud all NaNoWriMo’ers…but I don’t think it’s for me. I write far too slow.
    But come November, I’ll still be plodding along, notebook and pen in hand…getting those words down one-by-one…and cheering you guys from the sidelines of course!

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