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How to Have a Successful NaNoWriMo

Saturday, October 3, 2020


It’s one of the best times of the year! Fall is in the air which means it is almost time for NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. This is a yearly event where writers attempt to write 50,000 words during the month of November. During the month of October, in honor of Preptober, I will be sharing a blog post every week to get you ready for NaNoWriMo. This week, I’m sharing five steps to have a successful NaNo.

Step #1: Make a Writing Plan Ahead of Time


If you can do nothing else on this list, please make time to do this. Making a writing plan can be the difference between winning NaNoWriMo or losing. You need to know when you will be writing, what times you will be writing, and where you will be writing. This way you can go ahead and carve time out in your schedule to make sure you can complete your word counts. You can also use this writing plan to come up with a strategy for when you will have off days or catch up days.

If you need help coming up with your own writing plan, check out this article by Sarra Cannon. She also provides a workbook to help you make your plan. This is what I will be using this year to plan.

Step #2: Have a Clear Idea of What You Will Be Working On


Whether you are a plotter or a pantser, it’s important to know exactly what you will be working on for NaNo. If you are a plotter, it is important to have your beat sheet prepared. If you prefer to pants your work, pick out your prompt ahead of time, or have your idea written out for reference.

For my last NaNo, I chose to pants and picked out a prompt in advance to write on. It wasn’t as involved as having a full outline prepared, but I at least knew what I was going to be working on. Having something is better than spending your first writing session searching for an idea. During NaNo each writing session is important, so it’s essential to know what you’re working on, so you don’t waste any time.

Step #3: Find Your Writing Support Group


In the time of Covid-19, I know it is extremely hard to find in-person writing groups for NaNo. However, it is critical to find yourself a group of writers you can bounce ideas off of and discuss NaNo stress with. Live write-ins on YouTube can help you find a tribe to write with along with Facebook groups. If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend looking for your region on the NaNoWriMo website. Even though there aren’t in-person groups, regions are still hosting virtual groups. Go out there and find your tribe! Trust me you’ll need them when you’re behind on your word count.

The writing group I’m apart of is here. I’m also in my regional NaNo group.

Step #4: Let Your Family/Friends Know What You’re Up To


If you’re going to be taking on a major writing goal for a month, you need to let your family and friends know. NaNo is a huge time commitment especially if you are doing it along with working full time. If you let them know now, you can set expectations about needed work time and let them know you won’t be able to hang out like normal.

Letting your family and friends know about your NaNoWriMo also allows them to support and encourage you for the month. One large support system is better than none, even if they aren’t writers.

Step #5: Make a Self-Care Plan


NaNoWriMo is hard on your mental health. Forcing yourself through 50,000 words in one month is taxing even to the most experienced writer. Having a writing plan is essential, but having a self-care plan is necessary.

Before November, have in mind what you can do to relax and take care of yourself. Whether that is making sure your favorite tea is on hand, or having bath bombs ready, know what helps you relax and recharge. I also recommend coming up with a list of rewards for each NaNoWriMo milestone. Having these ideas in place will prevent burnout and keep you sane during the process.


I hope you enjoyed this post on how to prep for a successful NaNoWriMo 2020. Let me know in the comments or on Instagram, what project you will be tackling in November. Happy writing!

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