The Trick That Pushed Me to Write 26,000 Words in 3 Days

Uh, not recommended.


On Monday, I came back to reality (after four days of vacation and several weeks of feeling like I wanted to quit everything and move to Antarctica) and realized that I had only written 24,000 words of my NaNoWriMo novel.

It was November 28. I had three days to write over 25,000 words.

If you’re going to know one thing about me, it’s that I do not handle defeat well. If I have to, I stare it straight in the face, cry a lot and then get over it pretty quickly (after a lot of crying … a LOT). I was terrified that I would have to accept my first NaNo defeat since I started doing this in 2008. I was disappointed. I felt like other people would be disappointed in me.

I had two options: scream “YOU CAN DO IT” over and over again until I hit 50,000 words, or give myself a break, write as much as I could, and accept that just because I wasn’t going to win did not mean my attempt did not count.

Then I tried something I’m not sure I have ever tried before – the one trick that got me from 24,000 words to 50,000 words in a little over 75 hours.

I started telling myself I could not do it.

Positive affirmations have actually never worked for me. Telling myself “YOU GOT THIS! YOU CAN DO THIS!” over and over again just annoys me. However, I am the person who, when told I cannot do something, has to tear apart her entire orderly existence – temporarily – for the sake of proving whoever sid “no” that she CAN actually do it. Even if I’m the one saying “no.”

So I put off as much work as I could, shifted around my schedule, and wrote 6,000, then 8,000, then 12,000 words, three days in a row, without a decent break along the way.

One: Never do this. Two: Stop saying you can’t. Gosh darn it, you CAN. YOU SO CAN.

I should add a disclaimer to the beginning of this post: “Kids, don’t try this at home.” Seriously, don’t take all of this to mean you SHOULD write this much in such a short amount of time, or that you HAVE to. If you are going to take anything away from this, it should be that YOU ARE SO CAPABLE. You are more capable of writing like a machine than you think you are. You can, when you have to. You CAN.

Don’t ever let anything like deadlines or bad days or doubt get in the way of just DOING IT. Just jump in and do it. If procrastination is how you do it, then do it responsibly. As long as you DO IT. Write it, record it, draw it, try it, whatever it is. See how far you can push yourself … as long as you’re not pushing yourself completely over the edge.

In the comments, share with the class what you’re going to do this weekend that you’ve already convinced yourself you can’t. How are you going to prove yourself wrong?

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and a nine-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

The Last Line | NANO TALK 2016

It’s all John’s fault.


It would be completely reasonable to blame John Green for my obsession with lasts – last words; last lines; last attempts. But I was a writer long before I discovered what is still my favorite book of all time, and if I remember correctly, I have always put more effort into the last words and lines of everything I have written than anything else – even the first ones.

Every final line in my books and stories – even transitioning from chapter to chapter – I want it to be memorable. Sometimes it’s a punch, sometimes it’s a heartwarming phrase. Sometimes it’s dialogue. Like the Last Four Words of one of my favorite TV shows, I want people to wonder; to imagine; to say, “OK, I’m not going to be able to stop thinking about this for days.”

I often end up writing the last lines of my books before I actually finish. Though I am still very far off from finishing my current NaNo novel (don’t ask me my word count, I’m already anxious enough …), I’ve already written the last line. It’s the line I would hope an agent would say, “Are you planning on making this a series?” to which I would reply, “Please?”

In a dream world, of course. This is a first draft. The last line may change. In fact, I’m almost counting on it. If I end up rewriting this thing, it’s going to be a completely different book.

Your last line is important. Sometimes it just comes to you – you’re in the flow and you just write it without second-guessing yourself and you stop, because that’s it, you’re done, it’s over.

Sometimes you keep trying to write the ending, that last phrase, and the story just keeps going. Or you stare at that page for what feels like forever, and everything you think of feels inadequate, compared to what your story deserves.

Let’s focus now on a different kind of last line – the last line you write during NaNo 2016. Whether that’s the line that gets you over 50,000 or the last line you write before you update your word count one last time before midnight hits.

Are you ready? Because this will be the easiest, and most challenging, part of the month.

One minute you’re going to be typing away. And the next, it’s going to be over.

Whether you’re going to ‘win’ or not – it’s OK if you aren’t; I’m probably not going to this year, and we’ll talk about that later (maybe) – your last line still matters. Remember that you tried as hard as you could. Make that last line count. Be proud of it. Celebrate. Just be glad you, in some way, survived.

Keep writing, one word at a time. I have about 9,000 to squeeze in today. Sooo … good luck to all. And if you’re already past 50,000 – cheers! I’ve done that eight times. It feels better every year. You’re awesome. I’m proud of you. I mean it.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Will This Be My Last NaNoWriMo?

I jumped on board my first NaNoWriMo in 2008, two days before it kicked off. It was easy then: I was 16. I literally had nothing better to do. Every year since then, it has gotten progressively harder. I don’t mind – I love a good challenge. But I’m definitely more behind on my word count at this point in the month than I ever have been in previous years.

Am I worried? Uhhhh….yeah. A little. I also wrote 13,000 words in 48 hours this past summer for some Wrimo reason, so pretty much anything is possible with so few days left.

It’s definitely been a struggle though. I’ve wondered several times so far, silently, if I could let myself call it quits after this year. I’ve had a blast … But unlike before, I’m busy in the kind of adult-y way that makes writing 50,000 words in 30 days not quite as appealing as it was 8 years ago.

I love writing, I love NaNo – I always will. But this is definitely the most challenged I have ever felt during an epic November word sprint. It’s a good thing, in some ways. A terrible thing in others.

Will this be my last NaNoWriMo? I don’t think so. I’m not giving up on this one yet, and if I do win, it will be my ninth victory – but more importantly, no matter what, it will be my ninth attempt. I’m not sure I could stop just one year shy of a nice, even 10.

After that, who knows. A lot can happen in a year. Who knows where I’ll be, what I’ll be doing, whether I’m still always quietly working on a book in the background or not. Never say never. If I’ve learned anything in the past 24 years, it’s that life has a way of taking you by surprise. I don’t say no. Let’s leave it at, “Let me get through the next week of insanity and update you on how I feel.”

Shop. Watch. Write. Whatever it is you’re doing today, do it with a smile. You deserve it.

Make It Up As You Go Along | NANO TALK 2016

Those 15 seconds it takes to Google something can really start to add up.


Research. It makes you sound productive. Credible. Like you know what you’re doing. A writer who researches, at any other time of the year, is on the right track.

During a WriMo, however, research makes you extremely unproductive, unfocused and makes you much more likely to fall short of whatever your personal end goal for the month might be.

I’m going to eventually have to look into about half of what I’ve already written to make sure it’s accurate. I know next to nothing about murder investigations, cybercrime or dead people (it’s a book, don’t judge me). If I were to try and research details in all of these areas and more, I would be even more behind on my word count than I already am.

Half the posts I’m seeing in forums and writing groups are about research. And as much as I understand that everyone has their own writing process, it just completely defeats the intended purpose of a WriMo – to write as many words as possible as fast as you can.

Many people use November as motivation to start or continue working on a novel they haven’t been motivated to work on all year. I get that. But there are first-draft laws being violated here, WriMo or not. At some point, yes, you’re probably going to have to look into some facts. But the whole point of a first draft is to write a messy, imperfect story. Only once you have a foundation in place can you even hope to build a sturdy house on top of it.

I honestly recommend making things up as I go along. The details in a story matter – but you don’t have to get them all right the first time. I just want to shout this (constructively, of course) at everyone I see talking about their novel research. WRITE THE STORY ALREADY. I’m fine with Googling a word every now and then, if it’s really bugging me that much … but you have to set limits, or you’re never going to move forward.

I like to call this month No Research November. Maybe that’s just my preference, maybe many of you out there have good reasons why you try to fit researching into NaNoWriMo. It’s always something I’ve had trouble wrapping my head around. When it comes to novel writing, I will always advocate for first draft first, research during rewrites. But if you have a different perspective, I’d love to hear about it.

Many of the normal ‘rules’ of the writing process just don’t apply this month. I think research is an extremely important part of writing a story told accurately, of course depending on the genre and your overall goal for writing the story in the first place. Just not now.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

The First Line | NANO TALK 2016

How important is the first line of your novel?


I’ve never sat with my feet up on a desk before. Especially someone else’s desk.

BEHOLD – the first line of my novel.

I do not like it. I didn’t even want to share it with you. But let this be a lesson: you are not going to like over half of what you write. Are you really going to let that stop you from writing at all?

If I ever finish writing this book, if I ever get into the revisions stage, I will likely rewrite my first line. Twice, three times, maybe more. But I’m not going to rewrite it now. Why? It’s National Novel Writing Month, not National Revise Every Single Word You Write Until You Lose Your Sanity Month. This is not the time for revisions. Stop second-guessing yourself.

First lines are one of the most significant, time-consuming elements of a novel – at least in some writers’ points of view. I happen to be one of them. I’m obsessed with first and last words (an obsession that started long before I read Looking for Alaska, mind you – hence why it’s my favorite book). The last novel I wrote and edited to completion, back in college, I rewrote the first line at least three times, until I found the one that best fit the story.

I’m not completely confident this first line will stay – and you probably aren’t, either. Right now, though, your first line isn’t the most important thing. Right now, you need to write everything that comes after that. Develop your characters. Let them hold your brain hostage while they overpower you and finish writing the story you started. My English professors in college always told me to write my essay introductions last. They were right. Often, you can’t know what your final first line should be until the rest of the story has already unfolded before you.

But you do have to start somewhere – anywhere. It might be at the beginning of the book or the end; it really doesn’t matter. Whether it’s the first line of the story itself or just the first line you wrote on November 1, leave it alone. It’s not going to be perfect – certainly not now, maybe even not ever. Let the anticipation build up. Let it motivate you to keep writing. I can’t wait to go back and start revising – but I can’t do that if I don’t have a finished book to revise. I think every editor and writer I’ve ever asked has agreed that revising while writing a first draft is an absolute NO. Do not do it. If you’re that bothered by imperfection, you’re going to have a really hard time finishing a book. It’s possible. It’s just going to take you a long, long time.

The most important thing right now is that you keep writing. Keep moving forward – don’t go back (unless you’re writing out of chronological order, as I am). We’re about halfway there. It’s not too late to catch up. That first line has room to grow – but later. Much, much later. I’m off to crank out another 2,000 words. I strongly advise you do the same. (:

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

What Does It Mean to Love a Story? | NANO TALK 2016

This is an experience you will never forget.


You do not want to write today. It’s Monday. Work is stupid. You’re stressed. You’re behind on everything, including your word count.

And yet, you can’t wait to sit down tonight and write.

You aren’t fully confident in your ability to execute all your ideas in a way that makes sense. Your plot already has holes. You’re nervous about where this story is going to go.

Yet you can’t wait to get back to writing.

We all have days when writing is the absolute last thing we want to do. But the driving force behind “writing anyway” is often not confidence, or desire, or excitement, but love.

I say this every year, but I’m in love with my story. Possibly more than I’ve ever been in love with a story before. As busy and tired and unsure as you are, spending time with something you love is worth it. That’s why you love it so much.

I understand that sometimes you still aren’t going to want to do this, and you might not end up doing it today or even tomorrow. That’s OK. The word count goal is only a numeric motivator to push you to keep writing on days you’d rather take a nap and eat potato chips. But that’s why I hope you’re working on a story you truly love. A story that makes you feel alive and lifts you out of the present and takes you to a new place and a different time, with people you don’t know – but want to get to know.

If you aren’t writing a story you enjoy, now is the time to change that. Focus only on the story that makes you happy. If you aren’t enjoying it, you aren’t going to make it to the finish line. If you have a “I want this to happen” thought, write it. Let it happen. Things are not going to go the way you planned. Listen to what the creative part of you wants. Write the story you want to write. Your perception of everyone else’s future opinions is irrelevant.

Because when December 1 hits, you will have either reached 50,000 words or you will have fallen short. Life will continue on, and you will make the choice either to keep writing or leave that document unfinished. If you immerse yourself in your story, and you let yourself write it the way you want to write it, not only are you more likely to reach your end goal … you are more likely to keep going even after November is finished.

Love your story. If you don’t already, do what’s necessary to change that. Your brain is going to come up with some off-the-wall ideas. Just let them come. Enjoy it. Embrace it. This is an experience you are never going to forget.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Embracing the Part of You that Thinks You Can’t Do This

You actually CAN do it. It won’t be easy, but it’s not impossible.


National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) begins in less than 36 hours. I am always, ALWAYS excited for November 1 to hit. It’s a time of year people who live to write have a legitimate excuse to do more of it than they have time for – and I love that. We all do.

I’m still excited. But possibly for the first time since I joined the NaNo community in 2008, there’s a little fear and anxiety dimming my anticipation. For the first time, I’m legitimately afraid I won’t be able to make it to 50,000 words this year.

Long story short, I’ve already had to drop multiple writing projects this year because I couldn’t balance everything. What if NaNo becomes just another abandoned commitment?

The logical part of my brain knows I’ll be fine – writing a novel is sort of like doing homework: starting is just a hurdle you stumble over and then things don’t seem quite as bad as you thought they would be. This is a new feeling for me, though – at least in terms of novel writing. This part of me screaming “you cannot do this, do not do this” – I don’t recognize it. Where did it come from … and why won’t it shut up?

I hate to break it to you, but there is no remedy for doubt. It will always be there, if only in the back of your mind, prompting you to wonder if you’re making all the right choices. There are things you can do to quiet it down – writing even if you aren’t confident; trying your hardest; not giving up, even if it means adjusting your own self-expectations – but in many ways, you can, should, also embrace it.

“I can’t write 50,000 words in 30 days this year,” my brain tells me. But actually, I can. I’ve done it before – eight times – and I can do it again. It will be a challenge, and it may not be in my best interest to try, but that does not mean I am incapable of attempting it – or that I shouldn’t at all.

The reason you should embrace doubt is not just to retort with a mental or verbal “Yes, I can” – but also to sit down, make a schedule, write 1,667 words every single day in November and prove your doubt wrong, no matter what it takes. There is no better incentive than proving doubt insignificant. Doubt is doubt. It is a bad feeling that prompts many negative thoughts and behaviors. But in many ways, it’s there to encourage you. It’s taunting you. “Ha, ha. You can’t do it. No way.” You can – and it might take doubt to help you realize the only way to beat it is to do the very thing you have come to believe you cannot do.

I don’t know what your biggest hangup is, as a writer. But what I do know is that you have doubted yourself before – once at least, but likely many more times than that. Your only regret will be that you never tried. Trying and failing – or trying and deciding it’s not going to work, willingly setting it aside – you will learn from and overcome that. Not trying at all – that will destroy you. Even when you doubt, all you have to do is try. And revise. And try again. It sounds impossible … but it isn’t. It’s possible, as long as you’re willing to make an attempt that counts.

I won’t promise that I’ll make it to the finish line this year if there comes a moment I decide it cannot be done. But you can bet I will try, using that fear and doubt and anxiety as fuel to keep going even when it gets hard. Whatever goal you’re working toward in your writing in the weeks to come, I hope you’ll do the same. Try. That is all I ask of you.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

How to (and Not to) Use Your NaNoWriMo Community | NANO PREP 2016

Your community can be a huge help – if you use it correctly.


Writing itself is an individual activity. No one else can write your words for you. No one else can decide what your characters do or say. But sometimes, the writing process does involve other people. In the case of National Novel Writing Month, there’s a community aspect to the competition. You’re not competing against anyone else – you’re there to write, to “meet” new people and have fun. Here’s how to, and not to, use this community to have a totally awesome NaNo experience this year. (ONE! MORE! WEEK!)

DO establish an equal support system.

When you join NaNoWriMo, you also join a home region – an online community full of writers who actually live near you. Though NaNo itself is a virtual event, the leaders of your region – your MLs – will encourage you to meet up with one another and interact with each other in the regional forums. The purpose of grouping participants into smaller communities has a lot to do with support. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is hard. At some point you will probably need a little boost. It’s likely someone else in your region will be able to encourage you when you’re struggling. You can do the same for someone else who’s having a rough writing stretch.

DON’T expect someone else to support you if you don’t return the favor. Being part of a writing community is about encouraging one another to keep writing, and in some cases (though not so much with NaNo), write better. It’s not about finding someone who is going to nag you 24/7 to write – unless you plan on doing the same for them. It’s not all about you.

DO join a word sprint.

Otherwise known as, join up with one other person or a group of people, set a time limit and see how many words you can all write in that amount of time. The pressure is on, which means you’re much less likely to fall prey to distractions. You can treat it as a competition or just compare numbers when time’s up – it’s really up to you. You can do this on your own, but it’s much more fun with a group.

DON’T wear yourself out. Sprinting is fun – and productive, in terms of getting your word count up – but it’s exhausting. The last thing you want to do is completely burn out by the second week because you’re going at it a little too hard (yes, it happens). If you’re going to sprint, do it sparingly – when you really need a word count boost or you can’t get your fingers to type words, not necessarily when you’re bored or your introvert self needs some social time.

DO have fun!

I take my writing very seriously, but November is my favorite month because it’s not work. Writing a novel, and interacting with other people doing the exact same thing, is an absolute blast. You don’t have to worry about all the small mechanics of your novel. Nothing has to be perfect. Just hop on and enjoy the ride.

DON’T forget about the reason we’re all here – to write. I love joking around and answering silly questions as much as anyone, but not when it’s starting to take away from my writing time. I’m an ML, so I also have to divide my time between personal writing and forum moderating, planning events, etc. – but if you find yourself distracted by people in your region, it’s OK to take a step back and focus on your novel. No one expects you to hang out on the forums 24/7. Have fun – but not too much fun. At least until you’ve hit your daily word count goal. Then, by all means, go crazy. (You’re already doing that, seeing as you’re about to write a novel in a month, but …)

Your NaNo community is valuable – but always remember that it’s not about finding someone else that will be there for you. It’s about joining an entire bunch of word-loving literary maniacs in the race toward 50,000 words. If you see someone struggling, help them along. Have fun. Be nice and join in the conversation. Just don’t forget to actually get some writing done along the way. That is, after all, the whole reason thousands of people are tossing and turning nightly waiting for next week to HURRY UP AND GET HERE ALREADY. Or is that just me?

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

How to Write a Character Sketch | NANO PREP 2016

It’s kind of addicting, so be careful.


Knowing your characters before you introduce them to potential readers is a time-consuming task. But when you only have so much time to write 1,667 words 30 days in a row, knowing who you’re dealing with before you start becomes extremely important. While you have the time, I would suggest “sketching” at least one of your characters. Not drawing, though I suppose you could do that too. Think of a character sketch as a bulleted list of all the facts you eventually want your reader to know about them.

There are plenty of examples out there from creative writing websites that suggest you outline every aspect of your character in detail, everything from appearance to mannerisms to things they experienced in their childhood. If you want to go into that much detail, you’re welcome to do so. But if you’re short on time and want a simpler, more focused approach to character sketching before November 1 hits, this short guide is for you.

I divide my character sketches into three “levels” – basic details, relationships and history. I find that small physical details like hair/eye color either come as I write or I add them in later. You can add a category for physical details if you want to, though; that one is fairly self-explanatory.

Basic details – things the reader learns within the first few scenes with this character

Everything from name/nickname to jobs, hobbies, daily habits, likes, dislikes. We’ll use one of my main characters (MCs) for next month’s novel as an example here. The book opens, after the prologue, with [character’s name – no, I haven’t decided yet, I hate naming things] sitting in a chair, her feet up on a desk, staring at her name printed at the top of a resume. Everything about this scene conveys things she does not normally do, and is not supposed to do – feet up on her boss’s desk, glancing at his files when he’s not there. We don’t know anything about [name] at this point, except:

  • Her name (printed on top of the resume)
  • Her personality (a rule-follower, though she isn’t now, which becomes significant later)
  • Probably her feelings about her boss/job
  • Drinking habit (she doesn’t, usually)

I like to list details as bullet points because traditional outlining gives me unwanted flashbacks to my freshman college composition course, but that’s just me.

Relationships – connecting one character to other characters you might also sketch

Here you might want to create a sort of diagram that connects characters to one another. For the sake of time, I’ll use simple bullet points again. What’s important is that you specify who the person is, how they are related to your character, your character’s feelings toward that person, where the relationship stands at the start of the novel.

  • Boss – [name/MC] has worked for boss for going on three months (his personal assistant). Boss has gone out of town, boss trusts [name/MC] to house-sit. It is unclear whether or not [name/MC] plans on quitting but all previous jobs she has held in the past 2 years have lasted three months or less.
  • Dr. [name] (I’m bad at names) – went to school with MC. They used to be friends. They have not spoken in 2 years. They meet again for reasons I won’t give away in case for some reason this novel ever gets finished and you read it. He keeps his distance for reasons we find out later. There is no past or future romance between Dr. [name] and MC.

I typically do this for every major character I plan on featuring in a story. I get a little character-happy and always have too many, so I’ll spare you more details.

History – things the reader learns as the novel progresses

Every character has a past. Whether it’s largely significant in the novel or just a small detail, I think it’s best you know as much about what your character has been through as you can. Start from the beginning. Where do they come from. Does their relationship with their parents (or lack thereof) matter to the story? Past relationships that aren’t with other present characters in the novel? Figure out how your character’s past has gotten them to where they are when the novel begins and how it will shape their development actively throughout the novel.

Again, these categories are based on the general themes and story elements I personally tend to focus on in my fiction. Yours might be different. You might add more details like significant locations your character likes to visit or actively avoids. My philosophy is that as much of it should relate to the story as possible. Even if you do come up with more details than you end up using, what you don’t use can serve as inspiration for things you add later.

Some argue that outlining before you start writing a novel kills spontaneity. No one’s saying you have to outline every scene, every piece of dialogue. Getting to know your characters before you spend a month or more with them, though, will significantly increase your chances of hitting 50K this year. I can guarantee it.

I’m really excited for November now. Unless I can’t come up with names for my characters, which will be a bit confusing.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.

Now’s the Time to Hit the NaNoWriMo Forums | NANO PREP 2016


IT’S OCTOBER! DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS MEANS? Most of you don’t. Which is fine. I get it. This blog has grown so much in the past 10 months, I’ve honestly lost track of who was around last year when I started doing NaNo spotlights (give a shoutout down below if that’s how you found me!).

Anyway, it’s October. Forget about Halloween. Forget about pretty much everything else, because it’s almost November, and November is the most important month of the year for people addicted to writing a lot of words in a short amount of time (uh, me).

National Novel Writing Month starts next month, which means every Monday in October I’ll be sharing tips and strategies to help you get ready to write your novel. This is my ninth consecutive year participating in (and hopefully winning) NaNoWriMo, so I promise, I’ve got you covered. Don’t worry – I’ll still be sharing general writing advice every other day of the week per usual. But Mondays are now reserved for my fictionistas (I really wish I could say I made that up – others beat me to it), so if you’re out there, make sure you’re following this blog ASAP so you don’t miss out.

Now onto today’s topic of awesomeness: forums.

What are the NaNoWriMo forums?

The online forums are a place for all NaNo participants to chat, ask questions, bounce ideas around, procrastinate … everything you would expect from a forum, except all about noveling. There are topics about everything, from the basics of how NaNoWriMo works to random threads about “stereotypical elves” (really). They’re where you can go when you’re feeling down and need some help getting back up as you write. You can also go now, before the fun starts.

Who should go there?

Everyone! People who just like to talk about writing. People who need advice. People who have questions about whether or not a plot point makes sense. People who just want to feel like they’re part of a big community of people who understand how their brains work. You don’t have to show up with a question or even participate in the discussion. I’ve lost countless hours in many Octobers past just scrolling through things people have written about. It’s very easy to get lost … which is why, if you’re going to explore, you should do it sooner rather than later.

Why now? Why not November 1?

Trust me, you’re going to be a little preoccupied by the time November rolls around. If you’ve never tried writing 1,667 words daily for 30 days straight before, it’s going to hit you pretty hard about five days in. If you haven’t done it since last November, it’s still probably going to take some getting used to. So while it’s fun to explore different topics, get to know other writers and find people who want to “sprint” with you (writing as much as possible against a timer, basically), you’re going to need to be careful about how much time you spend in the forums after November 1.

Which is exactly why now is the ideal time to go check them out. No one has started writing yet. NaNo HQ has now given the official OK to go in and start prepping, which means the forums are going to come back to life in the next few days and beyond. I’m going to check them out myself tonight. It’s a great way to get pumped for next month even if you don’t have an idea for a new novel yet.

Keep in mind that your home region also has its own set of forums for you to explore and meet people who actually live near you. These can be much less overwhelming, and you have an ML there overseeing everything if you have any specific questions about how stuff works.

I officially have NaNo fever, and I’m so happy to be able to use the extra energy to help you get ready to write 50,000 words this November. I won’t be repeating topics, so if you want more advice about surviving 30 days of literary insanity, everything you need to know is right here.

Questions? Concerns? Exclamations of pure joy and frustration that it’s only October 3? Compose your words of wisdom to let me know how you’re feeling. I’m here for you.

Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is a freelance writer and an eight-time NaNoWriMo winner with work published in Teen Ink, Success Story, Lifehack and USA TODAY College. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food and nerdy things.