GMC · Story Plotting · Writing Craft

Writing Wednesday: NaNoWriMo Top Ten

Are you new to the writing scene? Maybe you’ve heard of NaNoWriMo. Maybe you’ve even attempted it or completed it. Maybe you are just even wondering what this crazy abbreviate even means.

Well, today my goal is to teach you what it is, give some ideas on how to prepare, and to create/share NaNoWriMo goals.


What is NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. On November 1st, writers all over the world begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 pm on November 30th.


Intense. Insane. AMAZING.


It was established by a non-profit organization and actually has a very helpful web presence: In fact, if you sign up (free) there are badges you can earn to motivate you, forums you can join in on, a word count tracker, merchandise, and a way to connect with other NaNoWriMo crazies.


NaNoWriMo Top Ten Hints

In order to complete a 50,000 word novel (rough draft) you have to write 1,667 words every single day of November (including Thanksgiving!) Knowing me, I know that will NOT happen. So I am going to plan on doing it in 20 days which means I will need to write 2,500 words a session! Holy Moly!


Whether you complete the 50,000 words in 20 days or 30 days, you have to have a plan. So here you go, my top ten of NaNoWriMo hints.

1. Join

Get the  the boost you need to plan and push through a crazy month of writing.

2. Get your family on board.

If your family is like mine in any form, they rely heavily on your presence. NaNoWriMo means them committing to giving you time to work uninterrupted and probably more than one mean from a crockpot, pizza, and meals made by their own hands. If you don’t get your family on board, you will likely be pulled away often. I plan on bribing my family … I mean rewarding my family with lots of special meals, a couple movie marathons, and maybe a special outing to the zoo for Festival of the Lights.

3. Pre-schedule as many Blog, Facebook, or Twitter posts as you can.

There is no denying that social media is a time sucker but also necessary, especially for those building their platform. Consistency is key with your followers and taking a month off to write could be detrimental. So to avoid that do as much work beforehand and use apps like Hootsuite to schedule your posts ahead of time.

4. Flesh out your characters before you write using Susan May Warren’s book The Story Equation in October.

Next month, I will have a Writing Wednesday talking about this wonderful resource, but I highly recommend grabbing a copy and using it to help prepare for NaNoWriMo. I have been using it and I can tell you it has made a world of a difference with my plotting and character depth.

5. Figure out your GMC for each character in October.

If you don’t know what that is, check out these posts: Goal, Motivation, Conflict. Debra Dixon also has a fantastic book that you can find on my Write Resource page.

6. Plot out the main points of your story in October to give you direction.

I am a planster, somewhere between a plotter (outlining every detail) and a pantser (writing by the seat of my pants). I found that to make the most use of my time when I sit to write it helps to have a general plan of where I am going. With NaNoWriMo, writing time is a premium, so it is best to make the most of every moment.

7. Set aside your time to write and guard it like a butcher protecting his shop from a pack of starving dogs.

Just because you’re doing NaNoWriMo doesn’t mean life will stop, in fact, I have discovered that is when the starving dogs come to viciously attack. Set up barriers by marking off certain times to write, getting your family on board to protect and help you, and plan out the times you know you can’t write. As much as I would like to say I will write every day from 9 am to 2 pm, I know that isn’t going to happen. There are days I will substitute teach, doctors appointments, camping trips, and I mustn’t forget preparing for Thanksgiving! Life happens and it seems to happen more abundantly in November.

8. Get together a motivational soundtrack to help you get those words typed out.

I am a fan of Jennifer Thomas’ Illumination album. Her classical music is upbeat and gets my imagination going. For certain scenes I also have a few Christian inspirational songs to flow in the background and empower my writing. Later I may put these into a soundtrack to “release” with my novel.

9. Stock up on NaNoWriMo fuel: dark chocolate, tea, milk chocolate, coffee, hot chocolate, caffeine pills, chocolate covered nuts…

Did I mention chocolate?

10. Turn off your inner editor and just write. Remember:



So what about you? Are you joining in NaNoWriMo? Let me know! I would love to cheer you on! Are there any other tips or suggestions you would share for other NaNoWriMo participants?

4 thoughts on “Writing Wednesday: NaNoWriMo Top Ten

  1. Hi Crystal! Fantastic list of tips. My favorite writing music is these two tracks from youtube: 4-Hour Music Mix | Epic Music Mega Mix and Epic Music Mix I ~ Fate

    Kaye Dacus has a great series on NaNo prep that I’m following as well.

    Thanks for sharing! 🙂


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