7 NaNo Tips To Help You Win

nanowrimo_2016_webbadge_participantWinning NaNo is all in the planning. Here are some tips to inch us over the finish line.

Number of Writing Days

Choose how many days you plan to write in November and divide that number into 50k. (50k is the minimum. If your genre requires 70k, overflow into December or bump up your daily word count and if you prefer short stories, then line up two or more stories to meet the 50k minimum.)

Success depends on meeting your a daily word count. Plan ahead do the math. For example: Writing 1.7 k every day adds up to approximately 50k.

Daily Writing Prompts

Match the number of days you plan to write with an equal amount of writing prompts. (If you do a general outline, the prompts should be figured out easily.)


Do a majority of your research in advance and keep it close at hand.

Setting and Character

Consider your setting and character’s general descriptions and if possible make a few notes, building on them as the story progresses.

Your Genre

If you are planning to write within a genre, make sure you know its rules and word count. They vary greatly.

Write an Outline

I know it’s not necessary, but covering all the plot points and what word count you’d like them to land on is helpful with pacing and tension building.

Schedule Your November Blog Posts

And if you’re a blogger, get those posts scheduled and make sure your community understands that you’ll be busy until December.

Some extra planning now will ease you over the finish line. Any secrets you’d like to share on winning NaNoWriMo 2016?


38 responses to “7 NaNo Tips To Help You Win

  1. Great list! This will be my 8th NaNo. Tips…hmmmm. Snacks are good (healthier ones though ;)). Make sure you plan for “off-days” by building in padding when you can- either with your daily word count, or if you can get one or two big days. DON’T let yourself use that padding unless it is an emergency! Use the forums, there are threads for everything you can think of- reach out and interact with other crazy people. Last tip- have fun 🙂

  2. I just published my first (and only)NoNoWriMo post, too. It’s time, innit.

  3. Good luck to everyone planning to participate in NaNo!

  4. I signed for this year’s NaNo the other day. I’m doing a bunch of short stories–maybe a novella–but at any rate, something I can really look at next year and decide to submit, release, expand or whatever. I’ve done NaNo a few times now and though I had fun, it took me ages to unravel whatever drivel I ended up writing during November.

  5. Great tips and advice Anna and good luck with everything!

  6. I’ve never done NaNo. Nov is a crazy month for me. But your list makes me think I could. Thanks for this, Emaginette. Really. You’ve made it cut and dry.

  7. You have most of the bases covered here. I also like to write way more words at first so that I can build up vacation days if I need them. Also, while I’m actually writing, I just leave myself notes like $Name or #place or even just [add research here] or whatever, and then when it’s all over, I go back and fix those little things I forgot or need to develop more. That way, I don’t lose the flow of my writing and/or get sucked into the internet when I’m supposed to be writing.

  8. You’ve listed some great tips already. If I had to add anything then it’s to stress writing an outline (like you’ve mentioned). It’d make revising/editing easier and you’ll have less things you want to cut out during the Now What? months. And definitely, definitely turn off your inner editor.

  9. These are great tips. I think if I had done more planning last year I might have had a better chance of succeeding.

  10. I usually try to go over the minimum daily word count goal as much as I can early on because I know I’ll have days later when I struggle – this way, I don’t get too far behind.

    Great point on scheduling those November blog posts ahead of time!

  11. Great tips here, but I’d also like to mention that no matter if you get the 50000 words or not, you’re still a winner for even attempting such a huge project. I’ve never made 50000, but one of my nano projects (heavily edited several times) eventually received a contract–as a novella. woot woot!! Good luck to everyone!

  12. Preparation, preparation! I like to do Nano boy scout style, too. All good advice! I should probably get to work on my outline. Ugh…

  13. authorcrystalcollier

    You know, November just never seems to be a great month for a writing sprint. Maybe it’s Thanksgiving. Maybe it’s because it’s my book release season. Whatever. I like camp NaNo.

  14. Good luck to everyone participating in November!!

  15. Wishing you balance and words on the page, Anna! Great post 🙂

  16. This is an awesome post! I won Nano last year, but I’m more nervous this year…The expectations are greater!

  17. I haven’t taken the plunge with NaNo yet. I can never get enough free time in November to devote to it. You listed some great tips here. I think, above all, preparation is key. A lot more can be accomplished if you’ve got everything ready, rather than trying to figure things out as you go along. Good luck with it!

  18. Wow, the suggestion of scheduling blog posts is brilliant, although I don’t think I have time, especially with SiWC taking up a week.

    I don’t outline ordinarily, but I’ll probably jot down some notes for this book, since I never planned to write it. (It’s #2 in a series that I had no idea would be a series…you see my problem.)

    I’ve “won” three NaNos so far. Sometimes I’ve stayed on track, but the first year I did it, I wrote 12K on the last day to make word count. I don’t recommend that. My advice would be to commit. No matter how difficult it is, no matter how busy you get, make it a priority. It’s a great way to teach us how to fit writing into our hectic lives.

  19. Great tips for tackling NaNo! I also try to write more in the first couple weeks because I know the last two tend to be busier, so it helps to have a cushion of words.

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