5 Strategies to Survive NaNoWriMo

You may have noticed that submissions for reviews and beta readings are closed all of November. Rest assured, it is only a temporary policy due to my participation in this year’s NaNoWriMo.

This will be my second and– ideally– successful NaNo! Still, like many of you, I find myself wondering, “Can I win this year’s NaNoWriMo, or will fear crush and paralyze me again?”

YA Fiction Writer Kara shares her NaNo Survival Tips:


If you’re a writer, and have never participated in NaNoWriMo before, you’re wasting a fantastic opportunity. But why? you say. If you don’t know what it is, let me give you the rundown.

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and occurs annually in November. It’s a competition that runs for a month where you aim to write 50,000 words in thirty days. So basically, that’s around 1,667 words per day to reach it on time.

I first participated in NaNoWriMo in 2011—and was unsuccessful. I reached a little past 12,000 words before I declared it too difficult and gave up.


And then, in 2012 I thought I would give it another shot. I figured that I had nothing to lose—any words I write is better than writing nothing, right?—and I managed to write the 50,000 words in fourteen days, which was less than half of the time given.

So what changed? A few things, I think. And thus, here are top five tips for NaNoWriMo-ers:

1) If it’s bad, keep going.

This is the thing that made me fail the first time around. I was convinced that the words I’d written were awful, and in turn, it made my passion for the story fizzle out into nothing. Yet when I attempted NaNoWriMo a year later, I changed my mind set before I’d even written my first word.

I decided that even if the words were utter crap, I would keep going. I told myself that even if it was bad, I could always rewrite it entirely later. Which, by the way, was what I ended up doing.

2) Plan, plan, plan!

Yep, this piece of advice may sound strange coming from a writer who despises planning and plotting with every fibre of her being—but it works. You don’t even have to plan out everything that will happen in your novel.

I would advise to know the beginning, the middle, and the end. While you are writing, you’ll find that the spaces in between will generally come together as you go.

Consider writing brief outlines of your characters: appearance, habits/quirks, background, and so on. If you are attempting a fantasy novel that will require some sort of history—map it out, get to know the world before you write it.

Of course, you may outline it chapter-by-chapter, or attempt the Snowflake Method, however this requires much thought and focus.

3) Write whenever you can.

I’m a student, and whilst schoolwork and study takes most of my time, I take every opportunity I can to write.

On your lunch break at work? Write. Waiting for a bus to go to school? Write. Use every spare chance you have to scrawl down a few words—remember, every word counts toward your goal.

4) Focus.

Something I struggle with is distractions. The internet, TV shows, books. They’re everywhere, and they eat into my writing time.

One way to get around the distraction of the internet is to disconnect it while you’re writing; that way, you won’t even been tempted to check your favourite sites. Addicted to a great book? Tell yourself you can read it after you’ve reached the day’s goal.

5) Connect with other writers.

This one, I think, is an important one.

I personally will feel more motivated to write when there are people cheering me on, which is why Twitter is a fantastic place for writers during NaNoWriMo. Not only can you connect with other writers there, but also participate in sprints which will help to boost your word count.

And if all else fails and you don’t reach your intended word goal—there’s always next year! newyear________________________________

Kara is a sixteen-year-old passionate teen writer of anything YA. You can find her on NaNoWriMo, Wattpad, WordPress, Twitter, Goodreads, or otherwise wasting time on Pinterest.

How will you survive NaNo2013?

Related Topics:
Discover New NaNo Buddies | Writing Tips

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