Are You Ready For NaNoWriMo?

press-start-fa915ffe8a6fb32bb3eabf7f771620b4With only two weeks to go until NaNoWriMo begins for another year, are you prepared? As a previous (multiple) NaNoWriMo ‘winner’ I’m here to help you get ready for November.


Have you signed up to the official NaNoWriMo site yet? If not, don’t forget to sign up. It’s a great way to keep track of your word count over the month, and to keep track of any friends who are also taking part. Explore the forums and sign up to your local area group to get motivating emails throughout the month.


Do you have a plan? Although one year I managed to write 50,000 words on a novel by pantsing, I believe having a plan can be a great help. Even just a dot point outline can give you something to refer to when you get stuck so you can remind yourself where you want the story to go. I personally like having a skeleton outline, which you can read more about here.


Do you know your characters? Getting to know your characters before you start writing can make it easier to get into their heads as you write. Here is a post on various ways you can get to know your characters before NaNo.


Have some handy writing tools at your fingertips. Here is a list of links to writing tools to help you during NaNo, such as Write or Die (which is GREAT for motivating you to reach your daily word count).


Links to help you with plotting your novel.

Links to help you bolster your word count.

– And don’t forget my master list of links, including links to posts on character, tension/pacing, and much more.


– Keep a notepad and pen with you at all times during NaNo so you can write whenever you get a moment.

– Write whenever you get a free moment. Kids occupied playing outside, sit on the porch and write. On your lunch break at work, break out that notepad and write. Waiting in the doctor’s waiting room… You know the drill. Use those spare moments. Forget Candy Crush, it’s banished for the month. Bookmark that book you’re reading and put it in a drawer. Let your partner/housemates have control of the remote control (or if you have a favourite show you can’t miss, don’t forget to write during the ad breaks).

– Link up with fellow writers, particularly those doing NaNo, and do writing races. Example:

Me (on social media site/forum): Who’s up for a writing race? 30 minutes starting at :15 (use just the minutes to account for people in different time zones, so it could mean 7:15am in Australia AND 4:15pm in New York).

Writing friend: I’m in!

Me: (at 15 minutes past the hour): Go!

*30 minutes pass*

Me: Stop! 868 words.

Writing friend: 934.

– Stock up on chocolate/caffeine/Wiggles DVDs for the kids/whatever it is you need to get through writing when you are stressed/tired/despairing over character arcs. (I’ve picked a really good time to start a new diet, so it will be my first NaNo without a stockpile of chocolate/caffeine to get me through. Eep!)

Share your NaNo tips in the comments below.


5 thoughts on “Are You Ready For NaNoWriMo?”

    1. Go for it, Jarm! 50,000 words might be a bit long for a chapter book, but you could always set your own goal for the month to suit your novel. The point of NaNo is to get you motivated to make time to write. There are lots of NaNo rebels out there who write novellas or poetry or other shorter works in the month.


  1. Thanks so much Jo, I’m finding the articles you’re posting very enlightening. Very tempted to try NaNo yet again although in previous years it has been a complete disaster. I’m lacking pretty much a plot but got some fun ideas playing around in my head and you know me who researches compulsively, which of course slows you down. Also I have a new job right now that is taking a lot of my time and attention but still… my good intentions right now are to try to come up with some sort of plot outline before November, 2 weeks exactly! (scary!) and to do a little of the research before hand as I will only have time to write in the evenings and basically with only a month research is out of the window. How are you guys all doing? Anyone else going for it?


    1. Good luck, Vicky! Any progress is great, even if you don’t make the 50,000. I know my time will be limited this year and I don’t expect to make 50,000, but I’ll be happy to just make some progress on my novel. I know I’ve said this to you before, but try to just write during NaNo. You can always research and fact check afterwards.


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