What is NaNoWriMo? 3 Quick Tips to Write it, Win It, and Rock It!

NaNoWriMo

Welcome writer! There are probably two reasons you’re here. 

  1. Because you know what NaNoWriMo is and are ready to kick some word count butt! Or,
  2. You’re wondering, “What is NaNoWriMo?” and, more importantly, why should I care?

Either way, I’m glad you’re here. The month of November is National Writing Month! Woohoo! And NaNoWriMo is a non-profit organization that challenges writers to write feverishly (and, hopefully, productively) through the month of November to reach a certain word count and win!

How many words does it take to win NaNoWriMo you ask?

A whopping 50,000 words for the month! Or roughly 1667 words a day.

It can feel overwhelming to think about writing 50,000 words in one month, but these 3 tips will help!
She’s going to need that cupcake.

For you steady writers out there with plenty of time on your hands and lots of ideas, this will be a typical month of mayhem.

For those of you who may struggle with writer’s block, time management, story structure, and other nit-picky problems that hinder your writing progress, never fear! We’ve got you covered.

For some awesome handouts that will help keep you on track and see your progress, just subscribe to our newsletter! You’ll receive one for writing your daily goals and achieved word count, and the other for coloring in as you make progress. You know, for visual types like me.

Awesome tools for NaNoWriMo to help you track your word count every day.
You know you want these amazing handouts!

And if you feel like you’re hurtling into National Writing Month unprepared, you’ll also receive our awesome ebook on writing dynamic characters!

In the meantime, to get you started we have some handy tips for helping you reach your nano goals.

3 Tips for Finishing NaNoWriMo

Nothing can kill writing motivation like feeling overwhelmed or being underprepared. To get the most out of your 50,000 word spring, check out these tips.

1. Look At the Tree.

And pick a really cool, gnarly one so your ideas have places to go.

I know, it’s an old saying we’ve heard a thousand times and not particularly clever copy. But it’s universal because the first time someone said it, it helped the listener envision exactly what they meant.

And besides, I’m flipping it on its head.

While looking at the forest over the trees, or picturing the finished novel instead of each daily word sprint can be motivational, it can also feel overwhelming. Like when you sit down the first day of a new semester and see the looooong list of all the projects you’d be doing for the next couple of months. It can feel like a lot. Too much.

So, if envisioning that grand book at the end of your grueling journey is making you wring your hands nervously instead of bringing you joy, take a breath and focus on the day-to-day.

Or the 1667 words a day. That’s not so much. Maybe one chapter if you’re writing YA or MG, or half of one chapter if your novel is adult or meatier.

2. Anyone Can Do Anything For 10 Minutes!

We’re pulling from the plucky, quirky Kimmy Schmidt here for a minute because she’s right. 

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Photos, News, and Videos | Just Jared | Page 2
Even writing for 10 minutes at a time will get you through your book!

If you’re looking at your schedule saying “When will I have time!?” then this tip is for you.

Because even on the busiest days, setting apart 10 minute chunks of time can really add up!

If you know how fast you write this step can be even more helpful. For instance, if you write about 1,000 words an hour, you can break that down into smaller chunks to find out how many ten minute sprints you’ll need to hit your nano word count.

Some Math. (Icky, but helpful)

1 hour = 60 minutes

1,000 wph / 10 min = 6 sprints

Except to hit your NaNo word count, you’ll need 1,667 words a day. So, try this:

1,000 wph = 1 hour = 60 minutes

That means 1, 667 words = 1.67 hours = 100.2 minutes

100.2 minutes / 10 minute sprints = just over 10 sprints.

So if you’re wondering how you can fit the writing in, look for 10 quick breaks in the day you can squeeze it in. If you’re faster than 1,000 wph, then you’ll need less! And if you’re a little slower, you might have to squeeze in a few more.

Look for opportunities while you’re waiting at the doctor’s office, picking kids up from carpool, waiting for lunch to arrive, for dinner to cook, or for a meeting to start. If you take the time to realize when you’re twiddling thumbs during the day, even for just a few minutes, you’ll start to realize all the opportunities you have to write!

Also, a fun tidbit:

1,000 wph / 60 minutes = 16.67 words a minute (that doesn’t sound so bad, right?)

3. Count Everything!

Tip 3: Remember to count all the words you write, not just the ones you keep!
Count all the words you write, not just the ones you keep!

This is one I whole-heartedly believe in. Yes, NaNoWriMo exists to help encourage people to start a book and then FINISH it in a month! But the 50,000 words is just that.

Are you one of those writers who hashes out half a scene, realizes it doesn’t work, and then scraps it?

Don’t!

Cut the words out and put them in a slush document. Because all writing counts. It’s practice hours. It’s blood and sweat and tears. It’s refining your skills and honing your profession.

The. Words. Count.

And if it’s typing that’s slowing you down from pouring out all your ideas quickly enough, consider switching over to voice to text. There are many programs like Dragon that will also help capture your story while you’re just talking.

Steal time to write whenever you can to complete NaNoWriMo, even if that means voice to text in an elevator.
She’s like a character straight out of an elevator.

So, if you looked at your day for tip #2 and still didn’t find a good time to fit in writing, this will allow you to squeeze in some in even more ways. Car ride? Yes, please. Elevator? You can absolutely be the crazy one muttering in the back about ghosts. Getting dressed for the day? Uh huh. You get the gist.

Because NaNoWriMo isn’t about the physical act of pushing fingers into keys. It’s about creating a story, whatever is involved in that process. Pantser. Plotter. An I-don’t-do-labels-er. Whatever you are and whatever your process, you can win Nano.

You can write a book.

You can share your ideas with the world.

And you can feel good about it.

Ready?

Go!

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