NaNoWriMo is an annual writing marathon held in November, where participants have to write a 50,000 word manuscript between 1st to 30th November in order to win.
It may sound scary; writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days is no easy feat, after all. That said, participating in NaNoWriMo can be an incredibly fulfilling learning experience, which is why thousands of writers all over the world participate every year.
If you're thinking of dipping your toes into NaNoWriMo for the first time, or if you're determined to finally win NaNoWriMo this year, we have some writing tips that can hopefully bring you closer to that ever-elusive win!
7 tips on how to win NaNoWriMo
1. Plan in advance (if you like)
Because of how challenging it is to write 50,000 words in a single month, many NaNoWriMo participants tend to start planning in October – one month in advance. The NaNoWriMo community has even affectionately dubbed October "Preptober" because of this.
In Preptober, you should be trying to do the following:
- Decide on the premise of your story
- Outline your plot
- Learn about your characters
- Do research and world-building if necessary
- Planning your November schedule
That said, not everyone wants to plan for NaNoWriMo in Preptober. Some people prefer to come up with a basic story premise and letting their creativity flow spontaneously in November!
It's entirely up to you and what works best for you.
2. Incorporate writing into your routine
You can't write 50,000 words in 30 days without some self-discipline and consistency. You will need to start incorporating writing into your routine for the month of November,
You don't have to write everyday (though many do), but it's important to keep up a consistent writing schedule to ensure that you can hit the word count.
To do so, try to set a word count goal for the day whenever you do sit down and write! When you're able to hit your word count goal consistently, it becomes much easier for you to write more while still avoiding writer's burnout.
3. Get ahead on word count
Speaking of word count goals, you need to plan those strategically as well! You'd naturally be more energetic and inspired at the beginning of the month, when NaNoWriMo has just started.
Because of that, you should be setting higher word count goals at the beginning, and slowly adjust them as the month progresses.
4. Give Pomodoro a try
It can be all too easy to burn yourself out if you try to hit your word count goals all at once without stopping. Instead, why not give the Pomodoro method a try?
With the Pomodoro method, you work in timed 25 minute sessions, with 5 to 10 minute breaks in between each session.
Working in shorter blocks of time helps you to stay productive and helps you avoid getting distracted by things like social media.
5. Keep your writing inspiration nearby
With how rigorously you have to write for NaNoWriMo, it's easy to lose inspiration and motivation when the going gets tough. In those moments, it helps to keep your writing inspiration nearby for easy access whenever you need that extra motivation boost.
What keeps you inspired? Do you have a Pinterest filled with pictures and aesthetics that inspires you and your novel? Or perhaps you have a playlist filled with songs that remind of you of your characters and the story? Whatever it is, it helps to keep those in your reach at all times.
You may even want to look out some inspiring writing quotes, print them out and put them near your writing station! Having these positive quotes nearby can motivate you subconsciously as well.
6. Save the editing for later
A common writing mistake that many beginners make is editing while they write. Doing so breaks up the writing momentum, and you may end up losing interest in your story when you focus too much on editing while writing.
Instead, treat NaNoWriMo as an opportunity to write a first draft, not a final one. You can always save the editing for the tail end of the month, if you finish early, or after NaNoWriMo.
With JotterPad, you can save your NaNoWriMo work in a cloud service of your choice amongst Google Drive, OneDrive and Dropbox. This way, you can ensure that your work won't get lost, even if you've changed your devices, and can always come back to it in the future!
7. Join a community
Even though writing is a largely solitary activity, having friends by your side to lend support can be instrumental in helping you get through NaNoWriMo.
The event is also a great chance for you to meet other writers that are also participating in NaNoWriMo! You can interact with other NaNoWriMo participants on the NaNoWriMo forums, and you can find more writing communities with just a simple Google search.
These fellow writers will be able to empathize with your struggles (they're going through the same thing, after all) and you may even be able to exchange valuable advice with one another!
NaNoWriMo can be an incredibly difficult event, but it is also incredibly fulfilling! It's a great opportunity for you to grow as a writer, to push yourself to your limits and become a better and more efficient writer.
Good luck and write on!