Are you entering the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) contest this November?
How It Works
You must produce a 50,000 word piece of fiction, from scratch, by midnight on November 30th. NaNoWriMo works on the honour system.
Pros: No entry fees; forces you to write a lot over a short period of time; you have nothing to lose by entering.
Cons: No prizes, so less motivation; you’ll probably produce writing of questionable quality under such constraints; it’s easy to quit because there are no consequences.
Quick NaNoWriMo Tips
How do you plan to get that book written in such a short time? Here are some tips to keep you on track as you race to the finish line:
- Know why you’re entering. If you’ve got a story itching to get out, do it. If you’re only acting on a whim, you’re likely to fail.
- Talk to your family. Let them know you’re participating in the competition. You’re going to need their understanding if you’ll be pulling out your hair for a month.
- Connect with other writers. Find an accountability partner to help keep you on track.
- Set strict writing hours. Choose a time when you’re sure you won’t have other responsibilities. If you have a day-job, you’ll want to plan to write first thing in the morning or late at night.
- Set a daily word quota. Don’t be tempted to slack one day and try to make up for it the next, unless you have a really good excuse.
- Find a good spot to write. An office, a desk by a window, the kitchen table—wherever you’re comfortable. Make it your space with all the materials you’ll need to write your novel (computer, pens, pencils, lined paper, blank paper, reference books, research, etc.)
- Compost. Spend some time mentally composting your basic premise and characters before the start date so you’re ready to begin on time.
- Outline. Prepare a written outline and character sketches to work from (this is permitted in the official rules).
- Write what you know. Unless you’ve done pre-research for your idea already, choose a storyline that won’t require a lot of extra research during the writing stage.
Get the “Read Better, Write Better” Workbook FREE!
By helping you evaluate novels as you read, this 30-page workbook will improve your understanding of what makes them bestsellers—or mediocre shelf-fillers.
Print off your copy of the Read Better, Write Better workbook today. If you deconstruct a novel or two before the end of the October, you’ll increase your chances of writing a worthy NaNoWriMo manuscript—that is, one you’ll want to continue to work with even after the contest is over.
The eBook includes:
- a printable novel study template
- a list of creative reading activities
- an example workbook
- an interactive glossary with links to online resources
Free Online Resources for NaNoWriMo
If you want to write a novel in a month, you’ll need to prepare. Check out the following free resources to help you:
- 5 Resources to Help You Plan your NaNoWriMo Novel, Procrastinating Writers
- 9 Ways to Prepare for NaNoWriMo, Write Anything
- Five Must-Have Resources for Nanowrimo, Web Stuff 4 Writers
- NaNoWriMo Tracker Template and Some Resources, Domestic Joy
- Must-Have Tools for NaNoWriMo, Learn to Write Fiction
Helpful Articles from Write It Sideways
- The Top 12 Benefits of Outlining Your Novel: Why should you bother with outlining? Here are 12 ways it can help you write your novel.
- 5 Visual Strategies for Planning Your Novel: Use these techniques to help you visualize your plot.
- 6 Ways to Hook Your Readers from the Very First Line: Don’t stuff around with boring bits—get straight to the interesting parts!
- The #1 Reason You’ll Never Finish Writing Your Novel: Are you writing, or are you procrastinating?
- How to Steal a Plot for Your Book (and get away with it): Feeling uninspired? Why not steal someone else’s plot?
NaNoWriMo Last-Minute Checklist
- Have you officially registered?
- Are you familiar with all the rules?
- Do you have outline notes on key elements of your story?
- Have you completed any necessary research?
- Have you set up a comfortable area in which to work?
- Do you have written evidence of your writing goals for the next 30 days?
- Have you briefed others in your house about what you’re doing?
- Do you have an accountability partner?
- Have you located important resources for your journey (books, helpful websites, writing articles, support forums)?
- Are you stocked with notebooks, pencils, pens, etc. and is your computer free of glitches?
- Have you prepared a selection of things that inspire you (CD’s of favourite music, photographs, novels, etc.)
How are you using the last two weeks of October to prepare for NaNoWriMo?