IWSG 99: NaNoWriMo Has Started


This post was written for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group where we share our encouragement or insecurities on the first Wednesday of the month, to join the group or find out more click here.



Diedre Knight|Douglas Thomas Greening|Nick Wilford|Diane Burton


Did you ever take part in National Novel Writing Month? If not, why not?

First, I’ll answer some questions about NaNoWriMo that new writers might have.

Who, When, What, Where, and Why

Who? Anyone can participate by signing up and announcing their project on the NaNoWriMo site then start writing on the 1st.

When? All of November.

What? NaNoWriMo stands for is National Novel Writing Month. It is a free yearly contest. The goal is to write 50k in the 30 days of November.

Where? At home, your local library. Alone or with friends. Open up your computer and get the story down. About ¾ of the way through to the end of November, the site will have a text box to enter your work. Don’t worry, they don’t save a thing. It’s only proof of word count. If you’ve hit the 50k mark or more, you are a winner.

Why? So many reasons, like all the sponsor’s prizes.

They are small potatoes compared to making writing breakthroughs like proving you can finish a story.

CampNaNo vs NaNoWriMo

They are different in two ways: CampNaNo runs April and July and the word count is determined by the contestant. Lower pressure contest for those who prefer an easier stride.

Have A Strategy

Daily Word Count: First and most important is to break it up into doable pieces. Some divide by 20 and write 2.5k per day, taking the weekends off. Some divide by 30 and write 1.67k per day. Stick to this plan and you’ll win.

October is really NaNoWriMo Prep Month

If you’re a planner, you’ll have your research, character profiles, and settings well organized and ready. And the big one, you’ll have a detailed outline waiting.

If you’re a pantser, you could give yourself 20/30 writing prompts.

Trust me. At the halfway point, it can be a slog. Do yourself a favor, give yourself something to kick-start your daily word count when your momentum wanes.

One last piece of advice is don’t go back and fix anything. Instead, type these words: Try Again. Then start the scene from the beginning with your new perspective. Don’t look back.

If you must: jot down what is distracting you, let go, and move forward.

A note for Scrivener fans: In October Scrivener offers an extended trail in anticipation of NaNoWriMo and a half price offer if you win.

Answering the Question…

Have I ever participated in NaNoWriMo?

Yes, it was the place where I finished my first book. It was where I learned to push through what I thought was impossible.

I learned to write, Try Again.

To Start again. To Move forward. And to Get It Done.

Now, a question for you

If you’d participated, what did you learn? If not, what is your strategy to succeed?


40 responses to “IWSG 99: NaNoWriMo Has Started

  1. Thanks for the tips on NaNo and NaNo Camp. I’ve never participated. I like to edit too much as I write and am too busy to commit to such a big word count.

  2. Hi,
    NaNo is good for many things. I strengthened my endurance. I didn’t think I could endure a month of NaNo but I did, and I learned how to write other things while doing NaNo.
    All the best.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

  3. I rarely have time to write for myself but I will be finishing my fourth novella this month.

  4. Interesting to learn about NaNoCamp – I’ve avoided it as presumed it was the same, except a different month and with company. I’ll look in to that some more when I’m better placed to focus on the fiction writing again. Thanks 🙂

    @DebsDespatches posting today from Fiction Can Be Fun

  5. I’ve attempted NaNo twice but the pressure of getting words even if they are “junk” words didn’t work for my slow, edit as I go self. LOL I now stick to cheering on those who do it and enjoy participating.

  6. I’m a bit of a plantser when it comes to writing. I have to have some idea of what the scene is going to entail, though details aren’t necessary. I hardly every outline, but I often can’t just go without an idea to use as my jump point.

    Unfortunately, I don’t have any advice for people attempting it, because brains work so differently from person to person. What might inspire one person will grind another to a screeching halt. I guess the advice there is “know thyself”, right?

  7. I love NaNo. The first year I entered (and won), I used the Scrivener coupon as my first investment into the idea that I might actually publish a book one day. I will always support NaNo!

  8. Thank you for such an informative post, Anna! CampNaNo might be more my style, though I’m not sure I can be trusted to stick to my own (less stringent rules) for achievement 😉 Good to know!

  9. Congratulations on being so successful using NANO. That’s wonderful

  10. I’ve also found NaNoWriMo useful, even on the years I didn’t win. @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

  11. I never participated. I don’t like boxing myself in re: my writing. I like to keep it interesting and fun, and if I don’t feel like writing, I shouldn’t have to. It’s not a career for me. The NaNoWriMo feels more like a job than like a pleasurable diversion, so I pass.

  12. Thanks for the helpful post, Anna! I hadn’t heard of Camp NaNo. July would be a better month for me. Not trying to fix things would be especially difficult! Congrats on winning.

    • Not going back and fixing things was the toughest part forme too. Using the ‘try again and rewrite’ approach got me through the parts I couldn’ leave behind. 🙂

  13. Great tips on NaNo, but it’s no longer for me. I’m a voracious writer anyway and like to edit as I go, a big NaNoNoNo.

  14. That’s a very informative post for beginners. Yes NaNoMo has its plusses and does well for some people. It certainly gets you on a track.

  15. Gosh, what a helpful post, Anna. Thank you!

  16. I’ve had times in when I’ve been incredibly prolific, but rarely on such a set schedule, and never doing NaNo. November’s already a crazy month, so committing to writing a bunch of words is just going to make me pull my hair out.

  17. This is a great round up of info for writers for the November challenge and more! I learned I am not a pantser kind of writer. After finishing one Nano with no outline, I was aggravated that I had sooooo much editing.

  18. Good idea on the “try again” since it’s all about shutting up that inner editor.

  19. Really good advice. I’ve never participated in Nanowrimo. I’m an edit-while-I-write kind of writer, so I just feel like Nano is not for me. But I can see how it could be really great for other people, and your advice makes a lot of sense to me.

  20. I’ve never participated, though a great way to rack up the word count.

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