My 5 Steps to win NaNoWriMo
Plan it all out
Set attainable goals
Writing 2000 words a day is attainable. It may take some an hour and it may take you up to 4-hours but you can do it. If you’re going to be attempting to finish NaNoWriMo this year you need to complete your daily word count.
Quick fact: to win NaNoWriMo you only need 50 000 words, which is around 1667 words a day. But, by writing the bare minimum amount of words a day you have no room to wiggle in. Trust me, you want the room to wiggle. Why? Because you’re a human being and you’re going to have off days. You need to have the extra word count to make up for the off days else you’ll find yourself always playing catch-up. No one wants to be playing catch-up ever. You’d rather be ahead of the game at all times. If you’re struggling to find the time to write, cut out tv time. Seriously, it’s only a month.Set deadlines & rewards
By setting clear deadlines for yourself you’ll always have something to work towards. Setting a goal and a deadline means having a solid plan and action. 2000 words a day means 14000 words a week.
Consider setting a nice reward for yourself at the end of each week to reward yourself for your hard work. You don’t have to go crazy with these rewards but keep in mind that the rewards need to be rewards that will mean something to you. Some examples of rewards that I or my clients have used as motivation in passed NaNoWriMo’s are; coffee dates, taking yourself out for a movie, rewarding yourself with a new book, massages, spa days, clothing, shoes, and jewellery.
Do your research beforehandIf you are writing a novel that requires a lot of world building, then build that world before you start writing. Draw out your maps, create and name your places. Go into your writing month not questioning anything about this fantastical world you’ll be writing about.Some novels will need more research than others so if your novel happens to be a historical novel, sci-fi, fantasy, or set somewhere that you don’t know very well. Do as much research about your topic beforehand so that you won’t be tempted to stop writing and start the researching process throughout the month of November.Learn all you can by reading, reading, reading.
When I attempted and failed at my first NaNoWriMo it was because I went in blind. I had no idea how to write a book let alone write a novel in a month. So, especially if this is your first time taking part in NaNoWriMo, make sure you troll Pinterest and read all the books you want to read before the month starts so that you won’t want to so during the month. Learning is great but it can be a massive form of procrastination too.
Some books are set up to help you throughout the month and give you the tools you’ll need to use as you go. Write A Novel In 30 Days is a book that comes with a resource library of printable, word trackers, and outline templates to help you along the way.
Enlist the help of modern technologyThere is so much software in the world that can make your writing life easier. Look into the following software as options to help you along the way. However, if you’re already comfortable writing a certain way then stick to it. Don’t force yourself to learn something new during the month of NaNoWriMo.Scrivener
My all-time favourite writing software but there’s a massive learning curve and I’ve had many clients say how tricky they find it to use. This is fantastic software to look into but don’t start using it if you don’t have the time to figure it out first.Evernote (to keep all your ideas in one place)Evernote is easy to use and simple enough to figure out quickly. It’s a great place to store all of your ideas as well as write a whole novel. Evernote can be set up in a similar way to Scrivener allowing you to see all of your files within one notebook. It also backs up online so you can access it from anywhere and on multiples devices.Writer’s notebookThis is nothing new. In fact, a notebook is old technology but using a writers notebook is definitely still a winner. Even if you decide to only use the notebook for story ideas, character profiles, for people watching, or as a way to keep track of how you felt during NaNoWriMo.Write or dieI’m too scared to use this software but many people swear by it. You set a goal. You write. If you stop writing before the goal is met you lose EVERYTHING you’ve written. This is great software to try out if you love a challenge and need that extra push. But make sure that you can write distraction free because you don’t want to end up hating someone else who distracted you and made you lose all of your work.My Write ClubWord sprints for the win. You can either join or create your own club to write with friends/family or you can join a universal club and write against strangers. Sprints start every half an hour so if you have an unusual writing schedule or write at times when you can’t do writing sprints with writers you know then this is perfect for you.
Keep trackKeeping track of your writing is not only important as a way to stay motivated but also because you need to know how far away you are from your main goal of 50 000 words and if you’re going to make your deadline. You don’t want to miscalculate your word count and end off the month with only a few hundred words short of your main goal. So use a good word count tracker or make sure your maths is up to scratch.
Go publicThis is a scary step! Often we keep what we’re doing quiet until we’ve finished something big. This is only human because we all hate failure and we all hate to share our failure with the world. However, by sharing what you’re up to you’ll create a little more accountability for yourself. People will start to ask how it’s going and as a writer you will need to build a tribe. There’s no better way to do so than by sharing what you’re working on.There is no such thing as a solo-writer (that’s all a myth). Writers make use of critique partners, beta readers, and an editor along the way to bring their stories to life. So why should you go at the writing process alone? Make some new friends along the way. We’re all in this together and at the end of the day, we all want the same thing – to win NaNoWriMo.
BONUS! Stay Motivated.This sounds simple but one little hiccup along the way can make you doubt yourself. NaNoWriMo is no time for your inner critic to pop-up. If you don’t have a strong writing tribe or a writing BFF that you know will be able to motivate you along the way then consider hiring a writing coach to help you finish. There are many different writing coaches and they will all offer different packages. Find one that offers something that’s right for you and your pocket. I offer NaNoWriMo coaching packages from $20.