National Novel Writing Month NaNoWriMo


Are you ready for National Novel Writing Month?

Whether this is your 1st or 21st time with NaNoWriMo (NaNoWriMo has been around since 1999), you can write 50,000 words this November. We believe in you!

To help you reach your goal this year, we have created a printable calendar. Download the PDF or get the lo-resolution version to save ink and start recording the words you’ve written. For maximum benefit, we recommend printing the calendar and hanging it in a place that’s clearly visible to you every day. You can put it on your front door, your fridge, your steering wheel, or your partner’s forehead. The often you look at it; the more likely you are to sit down and write.

3 Steps to Get Ready for NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month happens at the same time every year, but it’s easy to get caught by surprise. Whether it’s October 1st or already November, it’s not too late to participate. You can do this in just three easy steps.

1. Sign up with NaNoWriMo

The minimum you have to do is sign up on the official NaNoWriMo site. They also have a section that explains how the process works. Basically, you sign up, announce your intention of writing a novel to the world (that part is optional), and once November hits, you start writing. You can earn participation and writing badges along the way. In order to be a NaNoWriMo winner, you have to write 50,000 words by the end of November. In the meantime, you can use the online NaNoWriMo forums to get support from other writers and become inspired to achieve the goal for yourself.

2. Plan your novel

To avoid sitting in front of a blank screen come November 1st, it’s a good idea to plan your novel now. At the very least, you should have the basics of your story down. What’s your story about? How does it start? What’s the first conflict? What happens at the turning point? What’s the climax? How does it end?

You need a complete story arc to help you write your novel. The more details you can come up with, the easier the writing process will be for you. If you want to make writing even easier, then you might decide to outline most of your chapters and scenes beforehand. Now there could be some debate on whether that’s cheating or not, but we couldn’t find anything that said you’re not allowed to do that. In fact, NaNoWriMo is all about finishing the novel. Outlining it beforehand just makes it more likely that you’ll achieve that goal. Let’s face it, it’s not easy to write 1,600 words a day, but if you already know what you’re going to write, then the goal becomes achievable.

3. Make Time to Write

You might argue that November is not a great month to embark on this challenge, with the holidays coming up and Thanksgiving in there. But every month has its challenges, and as a writer, you’re just going to have to suck it up and write your novel anyway. To ensure that you meet your goal, it’s best to consciously plan time to write beforehand. Since NaNoWriMo is only a one-month challenge, it shouldn’t be that difficult to make some temporary adjustments to help you find the time to write. Here are some suggestions:

  • Get up an hour earlier every day and write before you go to work

  • Cut out your evening activity (watching TV, reading, or surfing the Internet) and write instead

  • Schedule time to write in your calendar and don’t skip those appointments

  • Use your weekends to catch up and schedule a writing marathon

  • Get together with friends to write

  • Find an accountability partner and hold each other to your writing goals

  • Track your progress and celebrate your successes

How Can You Make Sure You Succeed This Time?

There are no guarantees in life, but success comes to the people who work hard for it. It’s not a matter of luck or good timing. In this case, you can only finish your NaNoWriMo goal if you really put some effort into it. The 3 steps above are essential for your success. Signing up is easy, outlining a novel is more challenging, but scheduling the time to write is where most writers ultimately fail. And that’s why many people only write one book during their lives, if that. They just don’t take writing seriously.

But you’re not going to be one of those people. You can win at NaNoWriMo. After all, it’s not about churning out a bestseller in a month. It’s just about completing a first draft in 30 days. And that’s a reasonable goal.

How Much Time Do You Need?

The average typing speed is 40 words per minute. That means you need 1,250 minutes to type up 50,000 words. That’s only a little over 20 hours. Let’s assume, you only type half that fast, because you’re thinking about your story as you type. That’s 40 hours. That’s just one full work week. You can definitely squeeze 40 hours of writing in over a period of 30 days. Let’s be really conservative and assume it takes you twice that long (for whatever reason). You should be able to finish a manuscript within 80 hours in 30 days. That breaks down to 20 hours a week. You can find an extra two hours a day by cutting down TV time and getting up a little earlier, and you can block off one of your weekend days for writing. You might even get done before the month is halfway over if you really put in the time.

Why Do People Fail at NaNoWriMo?

The biggest reason why people don’t finish NaNoWriMo is that they just don’t believe in themselves to make it happen. It’s really easy to sign up, but it’s much more difficult to follow through. By now you already know that you need to be serious about scheduling time to write, but what else do you need to do to ensure that you succeed? Here are some suggestions:

  • Make your goal public (announce it on FB and tell your friends)

  • Pin a note on your bathroom mirror or partner’s forehead (WRITE RIGHT NOW!)

  • Take a break from social media and write instead of checking Twitter

 Now you have no excuses not to start writing. You can use Novelize to get it done, but it’s not a requirement for NaNoWriMo. Ready, set……. write!

5 Reasons to participate in NaNoWriMo this year

If you haven’t heard of it already, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. During the month of November, NaNoWriMo participants pledge to write 50,000 words, which is a pretty good chunk of a new novel. While some people argue that quality goes by the wayside when you focus on quantity (and 50,000 words in one month is a lot), there are at least 5 good reasons why you may want to participate and join the bandwagon this year.

1. It motivates you

Getting motivated to write is not always easy, especially since most writers have a full-time job, a family, and a household to take care of, too. By the end of the day, you may feel too overwhelmed to write anything. It’s just much easier to watch TV or read a good book than to get on the computer and start typing. But NaNoWriMo can help you get the motivation you need to sit down and write no matter what else is going on in your life. After all, you have a goal with a deadline!

2. You’ll have support

Do any of your non-writing friends understand how difficult it is to sit down and write something? They probably just think of your writing as a hobby that doesn’t pay any money. Fortunately, there are a lot of other people who are in your shoes and want to write a novel. You can find these people in forums on the official NaNoWriMo site. It’s a good time to connect with others and support each other on your journeys.

3. Peer pressure can make you write more

You already know that it’s easier to do a lot of things when you’re not the only one doing them (such as dieting and working out). But did you know that this applies to writing as well? Peer pressure can be an enormous motivator for you during National Novel Writing Month. After all, there are lots of other participants, and we can guarantee that many of them will win and finish their novel. Will you be one of them?

4. It’s absolutely free

NaNoWriMo is completely free. You sign up for a free account, connect with others in the forum, get your work done, and upload it. You don’t have to pay a dime to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity to get your book written. How amazing is that?

5. You can’t lose (even if you don’t win)

The best part about participating in NaNoWriMo is that you really can’t lose even if you don’t end up winning. Even if you only write 200 words, 5,000 words, or 49,958 words, you have accomplished quite a bit during the month of November. And regardless of how much you have written by the end of November, the novel is still yours to continue (and edit and eventually publish).

So what are you waiting for? Sign up for NaNoWriMo now.  


How to write 50,000+ words in less than 30 days for NaNoWriMo

50,000 words is a lot of words. It certainly seems out of reach if you’ve just started typing up the first chapter of your novel. And it can be really overwhelming when you just don’t have a lot of time to write. Fortunately, writing this many words in less than 30 days can be within your reach if you make writing a priority. Here is how.

Set a daily goal

Whether you’re training for a marathon, losing weight, or writing a novel, it’s important to remember that you have to do a little bit each day. And when you break it down into a daily goal, the number doesn’t seem quite so scary does it? Let’s see.

50,000 words per month / 30 days = 1667 words (rounded)

But what if you just don’t think you can write every day? I mean you might have a dentist appointment on one day that month; and that always knocks you out. (On the other hand, this is a good time to get revenge by killing a character in your book who may look remarkably like your dentist….) To set you up for success, let’s assume you’re taking 5 days off that month.

50,000 words / 25 days = 2000 words

That’s not too bad, is it? If you shoot for 2,000 words a day, then you can take the occasional day off without getting off track with your goals. Depending on how fast you can type (and make up stuff for your novel), you could get this knocked out in an hour or two each day. Not too shabby, is it?

Get it done in the morning

Okay, some of you might not be morning people. In fact, a lot of people don’t start to come alive until sometime after noon. But whatever your definition of the morning is, that’s the time you should get your writing done. It’s the same thing as working out. If you don’t want to do something, then you’ll postpone it until later. Unfortunately, later never comes.

There’s nothing wrong with writing in the evening but only if you will commit to doing this every night. That means you can’t go to bed until you’ve written at least 1667 (or 2000) words.

Treat Writing like Brushing Your Teeth

We all have habits that we don’t need to be reminded of. We do them without thinking. For example, we brush our teeth every night before bed; and we put on our seatbelts before we start the car. If you want to be a writer, then you shouldn’t end your day without having written something. It doesn’t even have to be 1,667 words every day (unless it happens to be November).

Fortunately, NaNoWriMo is a great way to get into the writing mindset. After all, it only takes a few weeks to get into a new habit. That means you can reap the benefits of NaNoWriMo all year long after establishing a habit of writing in November.

Hold Yourself Accountable

On a rainy day with nothing else to do, it’s probably easy to write 2,000 words, especially if the kids are at a friend’s house. But most days, it’s a lot harder to get on the computer and start typing. Fortunately, there is a way you can still reach your writing goals: hold yourself accountable.

The promises we make to ourselves are much easier to break than the promises we make to other people. But if you involve other people in your quest, it might be easier for you to keep going. Whether you tell all of your friends on Facebook or Twitter that you’re going to write that novel in November or participate in designated forums for NaNoWriMo writers isn’t as important as enlisting others to help you.

Where to find out more about NaNoWriMo

National Novel Writing Month is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that believes your story matters. They have sponsors and they accept donations to further their cause. Participation in NaNoWriMo is absolutely free for everyone. Anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel can (and possibly should) sign up.

Here is how NaNoWriMo works, and here is where you can sign up to get started. Please note that you can’t write your novel inside of NaNoWriMo. It’s only used to validate your word count and present you with progress awards. So you can write inside of Novelize as usual and copy the words over when you’re ready to claim your rewards.