How to Avoid the 30,000-Word Slump | NaNo Talk 2015


Those participating in NaNoWriMo this month will hit 30,000 words this week, which is great! Unless you’re like a lot of us, and find yourself stuck in a creativity ditch as soon as you approach this landmark.

If this does happen to you, or has happened before, you are not the only one. Here at Novelty Revisions we call this “the 30,000-word slump.” Hitting this mark means you’ve made a lot of progress on your novel up to this point, but you’re starting to struggle. It’s both physically and mentally exhausting, and possible, yet difficult, to get through.

Here’s how to handle it.

First, what is it?

The 30,000-word slump happens just when you’ve launched yourself over the halfway mark during a WriMo (Writing Month). Up to this point you’ve probably been fairly confident you can definitely write 50,000 words in 30 days, even if you haven’t quite hit the halfway point yet. Somewhere between 27,000 and 33,000 words, it’s like you’ve hit a roadblock. Inspiration had vanished, and anything you do write feels forced and unusable.

It’s not a fun time, and if you’re going through it or can feel yourself approaching it, do not worry. You are not alone!

Why does it happen?

You’ve made it through 30,000 words, which is technically more than halfway. Yet somehow those last 20,000 words start to seem impossible. You’ve most likely written all the beginning parts of your story you had stored in your head the entire month of October. You think you know how you want to end it, but you’re not ready or willing to skip ahead.

This is basically your brain just having a necessary meltdown. It’s normal (hopefully), and if you’ve made it this far in your novel anyway, you’re going to make it all the way. Just don’t stop!

How to avoid falling deeper into the slump

  • Take it slow. Write a little, stand up, go do something else and come back a little later. Break your daily word count into smaller pieces: 200 words at a time, 500, 50, whatever is going to get you through it. If you’re feeling a little burned out, sitting in the same spot for an hour or two trying to focus on one difficult task isn’t going to be easy. Do what you can in a short sprint and let yourself rest for a little while.
  • Spend a little time plotting. If you’re feeling stuck and just can’t get words out, spend a little time planning out what you want to happen next. This could end up being a productive outlining session or you might walk away feeling more frustrated and discouraged, but what’s important is that you’re still making an effort to think about your novel even if you’re not ready to work on it right now.
  • Don’t get discouraged if you fall behind. It’s best to plan ahead and give yourself a little buffer by writing a day or two ahead of schedule for times like these. But if you haven’t been able to do that, don’t stress. Write a little at a time, even if that means falling behind a day or two. The nice thing about this word count slump is that, as long as you keep making progress, you will come out of it, and that final stretch to 50,000 will absolutely fly by.

Don’t get discouraged! Lean on your writing buddies and regional partners/MLs to help you get through it or, if you’re lucky, avoid it altogether. You are NEVER alone in NaNoLand. Even if it doesn’t happen to you every time, it has probably happened to each one of us at least once. Pace yourself and be patient. This, too, shall pass.

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

How to Catch Up On Your Word Count This Weekend | NaNo Talk 2015


Week Two is quickly coming to a close, and something’s not quite right. Your word count. That bar’s just a little below where it should be by now, and honestly, you’re not quite sure what happened. Every day you’ve vowed to crank out 1,667, but “I’ll write a little more tomorrow to make up for only writing a little today” seems to be the pattern your brain and body have preferred instead.

The good news is, the end of Week Two also means the weekend is almost here. It’s not quite the holidays yet and, depending on where you live, the weather’s probably not looking so great anyway. It’s the perfect weekend to spend catching up on all the words you haven’t had the time or energy to write this week.

So how should you go about doing that, exactly? Great question.

Today, focus on what absolutely needs to get done before Monday.

Do you have some emails to send or something to watch/read/finish before Monday comes back around? Don’t put it off any longer: get it done today. The less you have on your mind this weekend, and the shorter your weekend to-do list, the fewer distractions you’ll have when thinking about sitting down to write a few thousand words. Get your groceries, buy a few extra snacks, get some sleep tonight and get ready for a wonderful word-filled weekend ahead.

Plan on staying in (or camping out at a local library or coffee shop).

“I can’t, I’m writing” is a phrase you should be prepared to use a lot this weekend. Don’t worry about missing out: remember, the holidays are upon us. You’ll get your people fix five hundred times over in just one Thanksgiving weekend. For now, don’t plan on going out (or doing anything non-writing related) unless you have to. Plan on settling into your writing nook, your favorite coffee shop or a corner table in the library and dedicating your leisure time to your novel.

Block out an entire morning, afternoon and/or evening and just write like crazy.

It might seem overwhelming at first, and of course you’ll need a few breaks here and there at some point, but if you can, block out a few solid hours at a time and just start writing. Disconnect your wifi, put your headphones in (even if you don’t listen to music while you’re writing) and just write. Once you hit that 500-word mark, you’ll start flying through those words so fast you won’t even realize you’re almost caught up until you are. And if you need to break it up and do the same thing again tomorrow, go for it.

Catching up on word count does require a few minor sacrifices, but it will be worth it. You’ll hopefully end the weekend all caught up and motivated to stay on track as best you can as this next full week begins.

You might feel discouraged and probably not very confident now, but you are in control of your words. You can change that. Good luck!

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

NaNoWriMo 2015: So THAT’S Why Writing That Book Took So Long . . .


When I first started writing my previous book (different than the one I’m working on during NaNoWriMo this year), I knew I wanted it to be different. I needed a challenge, which meant I needed to coax myself out of my writing comfort zone and try something new.

So I ended up spending three-and-a-half years writing a YA sci-fi/thriller, the first in an intended series of five books that told the story of five completely ordinary people who end up being recruited to become the leaders of a movement to bring equality to a divided subset of territories.

It’s a lot more complicated than that. But that’s the gist of the first book (sort of).

I do not write sci-fi and I especially do not write in futuristic settings. So while I really enjoyed writing a different kind of story, I really struggled. Sometimes, though I didn’t want to admit it, I wasn’t even really enjoying it. And it took me until now, starting a new book, sprinting back to my contemporary YA roots, to figure out why.

Here are a short excerpt from Premier, the book I just finished last month.

Screen shot 2015-11-11 at 11.57.52 AM

In contrast, here are an excerpt from For Alexander Grace, my current writing project.

Screen shot 2015-11-11 at 11.54.51 AM

Both are very rough drafts still, so take that into consideration before you read on.

Both these scenes have a few things in common, mainly dialogue being the driver of the action, but at least from my point of you, the similarities basically end there. There are first-person narrators in both, but they are two very different people.

The first example, to me, is rushed and dry. Now that could be because I’ve read it at least a hundred times over and it’s taken kind of out of context. I never got the chance to dive as deeply into Lyssa’s character as I wanted to, so she remains a mystery to me even now.

This is not the case with the second example. I know all these characters’ secrets and back stories. I know that Lacey is just putting up a front even though she still loves Derek, I know Derek still loves Lacey but isn’t going to stand for her shenanigans anymore. I know how the narrator really feels about both of her friends and would rather give them both up than have to choose one over the other.

But the biggest difference of all between these two scenes is the voice. My voice.

They say you don’t know your true “writer’s voice” until you start zoning out in the middle of writing something, go back and read what you wrote while you weren’t paying attention. That’s what happens to me a lot as I’m working through (oops, can’t use that acronym) Alexander Grace. That is my voice. That is not just where I am most comfortable, but where I can actually write the best way I can write. Maybe not the best ever written, but my best.

So I’ve solved the mystery. I spent three-and-a-half years not really writing in my own voice. I felt so lost and so out of place not because I can’t write a sci-fi/thriller, but because I wasn’t letting myself tell the story using the voice I should have been using.

I don’t know if, by looking at those two examples, you can tell the difference. But I can, and I’m ecstatic. It means I’m finally back where I belong, and it’s not going to be quite as much of a struggle (though still challenging) to write this book.

And more importantly, it’s not going to take nearly as long to finish this one.

Which means query letters will actually go out at some point, which means maybe, someday, you’ll actually get to read the whole thing.

No promises. But this project is much more promising than the last one, at least.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and health. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist, Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.

How to Write a Decent Draft in 30 Days or Less | NaNo Talk 2015


Whether you’ve written novels outside of NaNoWriMo before or NaNo is your first novel-writing experience, it’s tough to balance quality with quantity. For everyone. Experienced writers mostly agree that during NaNo, the most important thing is getting the words out: there will be time for editing out all the garbage later.

While this may be true, and no one is actually suggesting you have to write an awful novel during the month of November, part of the experience is feeling like you’re making good progress – not just word-count wise, but that you’re writing something halfway decent. Something you won’t have to completely trash come December.

It’s hard. We know. So we’ve come up with some tips to keep you updating your word count, and feeling good about those words, too.

Carry your novel with you

Google Drive is an excellent free NaNo tool you can use to take your novel with you wherever you go. When brain rush blocks out all thoughts unrelated to your story, you basically have no choice but to write a little just to get it out of your system (good for word count and sanity too, eh?).

But you also have a job, errands, places to go, lines to wait in, everywhere to be except a place where you can pull out your laptop and crank out a few hundred words. Keeping your novel in a Google Doc lets you open it from anywhere – your phone, your tablet, on your lunch break – and if you’re on a roll, 100 words can happen in no time at all. That can add up over the course of just a day.

Mark your mistakes

There’s not always time to fix continuity errors, especially on days you just need to get the words done and move on. But those errors still bug most of us, sometimes to the point where we either have to try and fix them or risk not being able to write well, or at all, because we’re too distracted by that character who just ate an apple even though earlier she said she hates fruit. (It’s the little things, you know?)

Use a highlighting tool or bold or different colored text to mark places you notice you’ve made a mistake. Not only will this help you move on from them now, but it will make editing later a lot easier. And if you are having a rough writing day but still want to spend time with your novel, see if you can fix some of those small things – and maybe add some words in the process.

Find a place to store your ideas

Brain rush (you might use the phrase “plot bunnies” interchangeably in this case) does not usually happen when we need it to, like when we’re sitting at our desks and writing our daily 1,667 is the only thing left we need to get done today. It comes on when we’re trying to fall asleep, driving to work, in the middle of working on something else. It’s inconvenient, but we can’t ignore it.

Especially during November, we need places to store the ideas we can’t get rid of but can’t sit down and write right this second. Sticky notes, voice memos or a similar note-taking method gets the idea out in that moment you can’t do anything with it, and the fear of forgetting it vanishes, too.


You will have days you don’t feel like writing. Maybe you already have (or today is one). What’s important is that you make the decision that’s best for you: write a small amount that you’re going to be able to keep or just write whatever comes to you, even if it’s not good.

Remember, just because your first draft isn’t exactly what you want it to be doesn’t mean it’s “bad.” Writing 50,000+ words in 30 days sounds impossible, and writing 50,000+ good words sounds even more so. But you can do it. YOU CAN DO IT!!

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

How to Pace Yourself to Avoid “Word Count Burnout” | NaNo Talk 2015


When you’re just starting a new story, emotions and creativity are basically a colorful explosion of glitter and rainbows inside your head (sorry, it’s Monday, I had to reference something sparkly). You just want to write ALL THE WORDS TODAY RIGHT NOW LEGGOOOO!

I know. I’ve been there. Going on eight times now. NaNoWriMo does that to you. Run with your creativity while it’s fresh – do it! But also do what you can to avoid something I like to call “word count burnout” – that empty feeling you get when you accidentally write too many words in one sitting and can’t recover fast enough to keep up your momentum.

Here are a few tips.

First, just get to your daily word count goal.

Generally this is 1,667 words per day (NaNo even gives you a “words you must write today to finish on time” schedule). Whether you write 500 words at a time or are brave (or motivated) enough to crank it all out in one sitting, this should be your focus. The only one you’re racing against is yourself, unless you have a sprint partner, but that’s another story (hahaha novel puns). You choose whether writing is the first or last part of your day, or maybe for you it falls somewhere in-between.

When you hit that goal and you get to a point where you can stop, stand up and take a short break. Get a snack or go for a walk or something. Then come back and reevaluate.

Decide whether or not you want to keep going.

Especially the first few days of NaNo, you might feel really good about your new story. Like, really good. So good you write 2500 words in the first day (not that I know what that’s like or anything). Keep in mind, however, that this won’t be the case for 30 straight days. There’s the 30,000-word slump, which I’m convinced is absolutely a real thing. There’s Thanksgiving, for all my USA readers. There’s that day or two you just won’t feel like doing anything, especially writing. So do you give yourself a buffer, just in case, or try not to go overboard in the beginning?

Honestly, I always go overboard, but that’s not to say a small buffer, such as writing 2,000 words per day instead of 1,667, isn’t a good idea. I’d recommend it. I wouldn’t recommend writing too much in the beginning though. Yesterday I could have kept writing long past 2,500, but I stopped. Why? Because I woke up this morning SO PUMPED to keep writing, and I’m looking forward to it, and that’s the kind of feeling, especially in the beginning, you want to hold onto as long as you can.

A little burnout will happen to everyone, so don’t get discouraged.

There are a lot of things you can do to avoid frying the creative part of your brain, but you’re still going to feel the effects every once in awhile as you move through your story. Writing almost 2,000 words a day is a lot. It’s the same as writing four short blog posts a day or a short report for a class 30 days in a row. It’s a bit more creative and you can do whatever you want with it, but your brain can only handle so much. It will need a little rest here and there.

If there’s a day you’ve written only 300 words and just can’t go any further – stop. Let your brain have its rest. Everybody has their off day (or two, or seven). You will catch up, especially if you give yourself a break now. The closer it gets to the end, the more motivated you might be to write more. I wrote 8,000 words the day I finished my most recent book. Do I recommend that? Uh, no. But I gave myself a deadline on purpose, because I knew, no matter what, I was getting that thing done and putting it to bed.

So go hit your daily goal! I will too, after I write a paper for my marketing class. I’m debating whether or not to have my character write it, but she’s in high school, so having her write a graduate-level paper might not work out so well.

We’ll see.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and health. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist, Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.

7 Writing Lessons NaNoWriMo Has Taught Me in 7 Years


The main reason I take the time every October to give National Novel Writing Month advice is because I’ve done it many, may times. I’ve also never lost. I only tell you that because I hope my advice, and what I’ve learned so far (this coming month will be my 8th round) can help you win, too. I don’t do it for the win. I just love to write.

Here’s what 7 years of literary insanity have taught me.

1. Writing chronologically is not a requirement.

During events such as NaNo, writing your story in order from beginning to end, unless you’ve done a lot of detailed outlining, is absolutely not necessary. In fact, trying to do so might even slow you down. If you have an idea for a specific scene but your story isn’t “there” yet, just skip down a few lines and start writing that scene anyway. You can go back and fill in the gaps later. Much, much later.

2. Your inner editor will start yelling; ignore her.

You’re going to misspell words, and write sentences that make no sense, and run on for an entire paragraph without any punctuation. You’re going to spell one character’s name five different ways on the same page or forget their name altogether. Your inner editor is alive and well, and you’ll know it. Ignore that voice in your head begging you to fix all the words marked with red and green squiggly lines. Just keep writing. Don’t look back.

3. Take breaks even when you’re on a roll.

There were a few days during a WriMo a long time ago where I unintentionally ended up sitting at my desk writing all day without stopping. Do not do that. It’s nice to pull yourself out of reality for a little while, but doing it too much at a time will really mess with your head. Plus, you need to do normal real-world things like sleep and eat and shower, and you probably have to go to school and/or work. Etc.

4. Try not to obsess over your word count.

It’s much easier to dive into a story and crank out a lot of words at once if you’re not constantly glancing down at and/or updating your word count. If you can, try to limit yourself to updating your word count only once or twice a day, depending on how you break up your writing time. Even though the point of a WriMo is to write – a lot – the quality of your story still does matter, and the more time you spend stopping to check, the less productive you’ll be.

5. A few slow writing days won’t stop you from reaching 50,000.

It’s very easy to get discouraged when you have a particularly rough writing day, especially if it’s your first WriMo or you’ve never won (hit 50,000 words before December) before. One bad day isn’t going to throw you off too much. Sometimes our brains just need time to align themselves after some overuse. You will get back into it and you’ll make up that “lost” day in no time at all.

6. Force yourself to write only when absolutely necessary.

You can’t force creativity, and unless you’re scrambling to meet a deadline of some kind, you shouldn’t ever try. Forcing yourself to write when you’re blocked isn’t quite the same as trying to push through those first 500 words – what I’ve found to be the magic number it takes to really get into “the zone.” If you’re just not in a good mental place, don’t push yourself too hard. Everyone has good and bad days, and on those bad days, it’s okay to take it easy.

7. Don’t just stop when you hit 50,000.

Reaching the “end” is a great feeling, but just because you’ve hit the minimum word count to score a NaNo victory doesn’t mean you have to stop, or that you should. If you’re at 50,000 and you’re finished with your story, okay, no problem. But if you have more to write, write while you’re still riding on that momentum! I’ve finished NaNo with 70,000 words before (please don’t ask how, I have no idea). There is no limit. But be honest, don’t fudge your numbers.

Need more NaNo Prep help? Start here.

Love&hugs, Meg<3

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

Meg is a twenty-something workaholic with a passion for writing, coffee and health. In addition to her status as an aspiring novelist, Meg is the managing editor at College Lifestyles magazine, a guest contributor with Lifehack and a guest blogger for Food & Nutrition Magazine. She is a seven-time NaNoWriMo winner and has also written for Teen Ink and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter.

3 Things to Do the Week Before NaNoWriMo | NaNo Prep 2015


Somehow, Noveltiers, October has disappeared. November is now a week away, which means it’s the week before National Novel Writing Month begins. Which means you’re either scrambling to get everything done as fast as you can, or you’re sitting at your desk counting the minutes.

Or both.

This week is tough. You want to start writing, but can’t. You’re a little nervous, but you’ve (mostly) convinced yourself you’re ready. You sort of want to prepare, but you’re not sure how. What do you do to get ready for 30 days of nonstop writing that doesn’t involve writing?

Here are a few things you can do. We’ll do them, too. 

Don’t write any fiction (at all) 

Take a deep breath! It’s going to be okay! 

One of the hardest parts about the week before NaNo is dealing with how excited you are for November to hurry up and get here already. It never really goes away no matter how many times you’ve done it before. That excitement will really tempt you to write anything and everything, even though you won’t actually start your new project until midnight on the 1st.

Don’t do it. Don’t even think about it. Why? Because that itch to write isn’t going to go away even after you update your word count for the first time. If you wait until Sunday morning to write, you’ll probably end up writing more on your first day than you will any other day in November—and that’s not a bad thing! Your brain isn’t going to get much opportunity to get a good rest this upcoming month, so let it rest now. Let your anticipation motivate you. Besides, you don’t want to accidentally start a new project only days before you’re going to start another one. Bad idea. 

Block out two hours every day for a few mindless activities

There are a few reasons you’ll want to start doing this right away. Remember: during NaNoWriMo, you’ll have excellent writing days and absolutely awful ones. It might not take you two hours a day to write 1,667 words. Or it might take you longer. The first reason you should start blocking out time now? When November hits, you’ll already have started training yourself to block out writing time, even though you didn’t use it for writing the week before.

The second? Do something mindless with that time. Tweak your resume or rearrange your furniture or play Minecraft or something. At first you’ll feel bored and probably a little guilty for wasting two hours of your day doing nothing. But again: once November hits, you’ll have something to do with that time, and trust us, you’ll be grateful for it by then.

Read, read, read

Participating in NaNoWriMo does require some sacrifice, and reading is going to end up being one of those things you’ll have to give up for a month. So while you still have some free time (two hours every day at least), read as much as you can, while you still can.

Reading can help distract you from how badly you want to start writing (it’s going to get particularly difficult around Wednesday or Thursday, but if you can make it through that, you’ll be okay). It can also inspire you, though. Along with all the pre-NaNo excitement comes a few spells of doubt. Do I really want to do this? Do I really have time for this? YES YOU DO! And it will be worth it. That book you’re holding? Someone somewhere took the time to write that. If they can do it, so can you!

You’re almost there. It’s almost time! Are you ready? How are you gearing up for our favorite writing month?

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

How to Stay Healthy During NaNoWriMo


For those participating in National Novel Writing Month, November is all about writing. It has to be, if participants have any hope of making it to 50,000 words before the month ends.

All that focus on staring at a screen and typing away can unintentionally block a lot of our healthy habits, and the last thing you want while you’re trying to write a novel is to get sick and/or totally burn yourself out.

Here’s how to stay healthy—and write a lot—this November. 

Take breaks—a lot of breaks

The good news? NaNo gives you the chance to write a lot, probably a lot more than you normally would in a 30-day time span. You finally have an excuse to write! The bad news? You’ll end up burning yourself out pretty quickly if you’re not careful. Taking a lot of breaks—more than you think you need to—is your best bet this November. Give your brain a chance to rest from overuse.

Don’t combine food and noveling 

Do you snack—or even worse, eat full meals—while you try to get some writing done throughout the day? Try not to do that. It’s likely you won’t be munching on anything all that healthy, and while your brain can surely benefit from a carb-induced energy boost, eating a lot without even realizing you’re doing it isn’t going to make you feel very well, and we all know how hard it is to write a few thousand words when we don’t feel well. 

Figure out your most effective idea-generating activity

It’s when we step away from our screens that ideas seem to come to us more easily. Your brain “rushes” ideas—and you comprehend them—because you’re not distracted by something else in front of you. While you’re taking a break, go for a walk. Work out, if you want to. Do something productive while you’re letting your brain generate more ideas for your story.

For the love of God, just sleep a lot

A WriMo does not automatically equal sleep deprivation. Yes, you’ll have a lot going on, on top of having to write 1,667 words a day and whatever. It’s not going to get any better if you try to sleep less on purpose. Eventually you will hit that wall of non-productivity and nothing, not coffee, not even your characters, will be able to keep you awake.

You’ll be much more productive over the course of the month if you let yourself rest and treat yourself well. It’s hard, writing a novel. We know. It may not seem like you have time to stop and rest, eat, walk, sleep, all the things you might normally do to relax. But it is possible. You can do it. Your brain and your body will thank you, and by the end of November, you’ll have 50,000 words behind you and enough energy to keep writing even after NaNo ends.

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

How to Survive and Conquer National Novel Writing Month, 2015


NaNo is coming. 

You’re either here because you come here often or you’re terrified about this seemingly not at all doable thing you’ve just signed up for and need some advice. If you’re new here – look to your right. There’s a shiny blue follow button. Click it so you don’t miss out! (This is the first and last time we will ask you to subscribe in a post, but this is important stuff. The health of your novel, and yourself, is at stake.)

You can get something out of this post whether you’re NaNo’ing or not, but if you are, welcome. We’ll be posting NaNo tips, etc. every Monday (and maybe more days of the week) for the next month and a half, or longer. Stay tuned.

For now, you might just want to know if you can do this. Is there time? Is 50,000 words a thing you can even do, ever? First of all: yes. Second of all, don’t think of it as writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Think of it as writing 1,667 words every day during November.

That’s our first slice of advice. Here’s some more. 

Write 500 words at a time

Now, even if you’re not so good at math (duh, that’s why you’re a writer), it’s easy to figure out that 500 does not equal 1,667. When we say “write 500 words at a time,” we don’t mean you should write 500 words right before you go to bed and settle for that. You could. If you’re not in it to win it, there’s nothing wrong with that. Some people do it just to get themselves motivated. It works.

If almost 2,000 words a day seems like way too much to handle, don’t think of it as 1,667 words before bed. Think of it as 500 words between coffee and breakfast. 500 words before lunch. 500 words on the train/bus/subway/hover board ride home (unless you’re piloting). 500 words between dinner and bed. That seems much more manageable, and look—you’re already over your daily average. And sometimes, by the time you hit 500 words, it actually becomes hard to stop.

Choose certain days of the week as your forum days 

Some of the best times you’ll have during NaNo involve other people. Your region and other community forums are great places to bounce ideas off strangers, meet new people and, well, just talk about writing (which many of your friends and family probably, really don’t understand). This is all great, except, just like social media, it’s hard to enjoy the community aspect without getting sucked in.

You can write 1,667 words every day and still be part of an amazing online community. To avoid getting lost in the forum vortex, choose two, three or maybe just one day per week where you’re allowed to go online and check the forums. After you’re done writing for the day, that is. 

Do not look back

NaNo is the time of year meant for locking your inner editor in your basement and leaving them alone in the dark for 30 days. Sprinting (writing a lot of words in one sitting, because goals) has its downsides. You will spell things wrong. You will make really dumb grammar mistakes. You will realize, in the middle of a chapter, you’ve messed up a plot line, forgotten someone’s name, can’t think of the word you want to use.

You just have to keep going. Do not scroll up; do not look back. This is honestly the only way you’re going to make it. And this is good for you. Sometimes the most important thing is just getting the thing done, and leaving your inner editor out of it (no matter how much they will resent you). Sure, you’ll need to make it up to them later if you ever want to make it through your revision period, but that’s a blog post for another month.



If you haven’t signed up yet, do it now!

Happy planning!

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.

You Should Give NaNoWriMo a Try If …


It’s October! Guess that that means?

Halloween? Well, yes. Pumpkins! Apple picking! HAY RIDES!! SWEATER WEATHER!

Okay, yes, all those things (unless you live outside the U.S., sorry). It’s also one month closer to National Novel Writing Month—November, in which thousands upon thousands of literary maniacs take on the challenge of writing 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days or less.

What’s that? You’ve never tried NaNoWriMo before? No judgment here, it’s not for everyone. But we are going to do everything in our power to convince you to change that regardless. There are plenty of reasons to try a WriMo. We’ll give you four.

You should give NaNo a chance this November if …

… you’ve never written a novel before, but have always wanted to

Have you always said, “I want to write a book someday” but someday has never come any closer? November 1 might be your day! NaNoWriMo can help you start writing your first book, or your next book, even if you don’t end up finishing. Sometimes starting is the hardest part, and the nice thing about NaNo is, you won’t be starting alone.

… you want to practice sticking to a daily word count 

On a typical day in NaNo land you’ll write an average of 1,667 words per day (50,000 words divided by 30. Yeah, I mathed). You can write less on certain days and more on others, or more in the beginning and less toward the end—how you break it up is really up to you. But participating, and making the commitment to try, is a great way to train yourself to write a little bit every day even when it’s a struggle.

… you need a measurable writing goal to work toward 

“I’M GONNA WRITE A BOOOOOK!!!” AWESOME!!!!!!!!!! But writing a book is a big project to take on no matter how experienced you are, and as the experts say, you’re more likely to succeed if you break a big goal into a bunch of tinier ones. Writing 50,000 words in a month still sounds like a lot, but a number might be easier for a newer novelist-to-be to inch toward. 

… you’re in need of a new kind of writing challenge

31 Days to Build a Better Blog? Been there, done that. Writing challenges are everywhere, which you might already know if you’re part of some kind of online writing community. NaNo is a writing challenge like no other: you’re asked to write a novel and hold yourself accountable for your daily progress. You’re expected to accept that you’re not perfect—that’s not an easy thing to do. But NaNo verterans will tell you: it’s worth the thrill, whether you do it once, twice or 10 times.

If you have questions or want to know more, the NaNo site will be back up shortly (they’ve taken it down today to get it ready for this year’s endeavors—which you could be a part of!). Check there, or ask Meg (@MegDowell) or just give it a go. Jump in before you find a reason not to. DO IT!

Image courtesy of Novelty Revisions.