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How to Make The Most Of NaNoWriMo

Yes, it’s that time again. Time to make the most of NaNoWriMo. But with only 30 days, how do you ensure that you don’t waste that time and actually get some writing done?

make the most of NaNoWriMo this autumn

The leaves are starting to turn, the school run is back, and there’s a pumpkin-spiced latte on every corner. Autumn is here. And with autumn comes November – National Novel Writing Month.

Wannabe authors everywhere have been clearing desk space, writing motivational prompts and outlining their plots to prepare for the month long writing burst. To make the most of NaNoWriMo, follow our tips:

Make the most of NaNoWriMo

Don’t try to write a novel

But that’s the whole point of NaNoWriMo! we hear you cry. Well, it’s not. The goal is to get words on the page – 50,000 words to be precise. This isn’t the length of a novel, it’s probably just over halfway, but it’s an excellent task to get your mind focussed on your writing.

The main goal of NaNoWriMo is to be productive. It’s one of those rare times when it’s all about quantity over quality. It’s also about giving you a kick-start if, like most writers, you struggle with the blank page. You make the most of NaNoWriMo when you realise it’s about word count, not word perfection.

Keep the red pen away

Do not edit as you do. This not only deters from the purpose of writing the most words every day (the target minimum is 1,666) but also can be used as a means to procrastinate. For example, do you ever find yourself sitting down to write but your hand reaches for the mouse instead, starts scrolling back through your manuscript and begins altering things? This is a habit you want to break when you commence NaNoWriMo.

By all means, read back through the last few passages to get back into the feel of your novel if this helps you, but resist the urge to start editing. You’ll make the most of NaNoWriMo if you do everything you can to help keep the forward momentum going.

Join the conversation

When you sign up to anything new, part of the experience is meeting other like-minded people. The NaNoWriMo community is not only a passionate one, but shares a lot of useful information and tips on writing. It’s great to know you aren’t alone when you start something new. And when you’re having a bad day, the chances are somebody else in the NaNoWriMo community will be too.

Writers share their achievements on the NaNoWriMo website and social media. There’s also a lot of useful advice on the website from authors who have successfully completed the programme. Use the community to learn from and gain support if needed. That’s what it’s there for. You may even find a fellow writer who would be willing to beta read your manuscript.


Be good to yourself

Although joining the NaNoWriMo community is a good thing, try not to get into a competitive mindset. Don’t look at someone’s writing total for the day and feel disheartened because it’s lower than yours.

You are doing this for YOU. No one else. The story you’ve been thinking of won’t be written by anyone else and the only way it will be written is by you going at a pace that suits you. As long as you feel you’ve done your best, that’s great! And you’ll have more words than what you started with – hooray!

Make sure you give yourself rewards for reaching certain targets that you set for yourself. It’s also good to give yourself a break. You might write a lot one day, which means you can have a break on another if you want.

30 days is just the start

When you’ve completed November, having reached the 50,000 word count or not, it’s just the beginning. Take a break if you want to give yourself some distance from the story, but always come back.

Finish writing the book. If your story is short then great, start editing, but fiction novels are typically around 90,000 words, so charge forth.

Yes, another 40,000 words is a formidable thought, but you know you can do it. You’ve proved you can do it. Stick with the schedule that worked well for you during November and you’ll be writing that last sentence in no time.

And then you just have to go through and edit it…

That’s where your novel really starts to come together.

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year? We’d love to hear about how you’ve prepared for it!

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