5 Tips to Rock This NaNoWriMo

For those of us who've been writing fiction since elementary school, November 1st carries with it a lot of stress and anxiety. But for those of you who aren't familiar, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is an annual push for writers to write a whole novel-- 50,000 words-- in just one month. Anyone from the total novice to the seasoned professional is encouraged to participate on NaNoWriMo's website.

  1. 1. Prep

    You can't just start out of nowhere! Whether you're a planner or not, having at least some idea of what you're going to be writing can be really helpful when you start on November 1st. Be it a detailed outline of every scene in your future novel or just a title and general plotline, having that little bit of plan to fall back on can make a world of difference.

  2. 2. Watch the Calendar

    There's truly nothing worse than getting into your bed, closing your eyes, getting ready to sleep, and then realizing it's midnight on November 1st and you haven't written a single word. So watch your calendar! Count down the days until November (Halloween works, too) so when the day arrives, you feel ready to take it on.

  3. 3. Start Strong and Don't Get Behind!

    I'll admit, I inevitably fall in this whole every year. I don't hit my word count on one day, then I miss another day... soon enough I have to write 5,000+ words to catch up. Getting behind can be incredibly discouraging, and the longer you let it go on, the worse it gets. Start strong on day one, hit that word count, and keep it up all month! Missing a few words here and there is alright, but keep a close eye on how high that number gets.

  4. 4. Write Now, Edit Later

    November is national writing month, not national editing month. All progress is good progress! Even if you feel like what you're writing sucks, keep writing! The point of the month is for you to at least finish your novel. You can always go back and edit once the month is up. For now, what's important is hitting your word count. After all, this is only your first draft, it doesn't need to be perfect.

  5. 5. Keep It Fun!

    Yes, NaNoWriMo can be very stressful, but it's not meant to be. Write about what you care about, what motivates you, what really gets you going. The more fun it is for you, the more you'll want to keep it up! If you're dreading sitting down to your computer everyday, if 1,667 is a number that terrifies you, or if you can't bear to even look at what you've written so far, then don't force yourself to keep going. There's no shame in packing up your novel and resolving to try again next year. Don't psyche yourself out-- your novel may not be the next Harry Potter or Michelle Obama autobiography, and that's okay! As long as you love what you've written, you've done NaNoWriMo successfully.

1,667 words a day for 30 days straight is no easy feat, but follow these steps and you might just make it!