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NaNoWriMo Afoot: Some Tips to Win This Novel Writing Game

As you read in my last post, NaNoWriMo is a fun novel writing game. It stands for National Novel Writing Month, and the month is November. Aspiring writers cannot afford to miss deadlines, and this writing game is quite a bit about keeping deadlines. Completing 50,000 or more words of pure fiction in 30 days’ time is sheer fun ride. Here I have some tips to equip you for it.

Make sure you register at NaNoWriMo website before 30th this month.

1. Plan Ahead

At this eleventh hour, planning ahead may seem awkward. But time is always valuable. You got three days to go before the competition actually starts. You can decide your plot, characters, schedule, time when you sit to write those 2000 words daily, maybe watch a few films or read a few short stories to gain some ideas, or read some related non-fiction as part of your research.

You should make sure to write at a fixed period every day. This should be decided in these three days.

These three days and the thirty days coming after that are completely yours to enjoy.

2. Write Every Day

Obvious, isn’t it? You got to write at least 1666 words daily in order to complete those 50,000 words. But remember, your novel may not end there. It may require 120,000 words. So, your win is in completing the novel, and not writing 50,000 words without a climax. So, simply write every day.

3. The Research

It may be a difficult task to carry out your novel’s research in those thirty days. So, the plan has to be to channel all entertainment hours productively toward the research. It is not that NaNoWriMo requires you to submit a perfect novel. But this novel you write in this month doesn’t end with it. It may well be your first novel, which you can edit later, add something new to it, research and write better, and ultimately publish. So, make sure you do proper research on it. Find time for it.

4. It’s Not Work, It’s Entertainment

Some writers believe that NaNoWriMo is sheer work. Your success is in understanding that whatever you do, you find success only if you love it. So, look at it as a baseball game or a movie. Engage with the competition. Understand that there are thousands of other writers writing with you. This will help you get going.

5. Your Planning Includes the Workspace

How are you going to manage your writing workspace? You really need to make some changes to it. You may not be a regular writer. Your office room may not be well equipped for writing daily. But those thirty days, you really need some changes. Read this post on writers’ workspace for more information.

6. Your Software Should Be Ready for Regular Backups

I found this valuable tip at Sonja Foust’s NaNoWriMo tips post. You should take regular backups of your writing every day. You never know when a system error causes something weird. So, ensure your system is working fine.

7. Engage With a NaNoWriMo Community

You have communities of writers in NaNoWriMo forums. You can post there every day as to the progress of your novel, hunt for ideas, ask for tips, get feedback, etc. It’s fun to spend some hours in these forums every day.

8. Strategic Stopping Points

I found the tip from S A Bodeen, writer of picture books, very interesting. She is an experienced NaNoWriMo writer, and knows what she says. This is from her:
I always stop for the day when I’m hot. For example, say I’m writing an exciting chase scene that I’m really into. I stop before I finish the scene, so I can get right into it again the next day. If I were to finish the scene completely the day before, then I’d be staring at the blank screen the next day thinking, “Now what?” Instead, I’m off to the races, racking up the word count for the day, on my way to the finish line.

9. Some POV Tips By Writer, Lee Warren

Here are some tips on choosing the point of view (POV) by Lee Warren, author and editor. I loved reading this post:

10. Communications and Distractions

In your primary planning you do from today, NaNoWriMo writers, decide how you are going to manage your distractions. You will most probably have your friends waiting outside your apartment for a movie at the time of your daily writing. Don’t disappoint them, don’t disappoint yourself either. So, plan ahead as to how you will communicate with your friends and family and cop up with other distractions.


You are half way through if you have taken up this game as a game itself, and have written 25,000 or more words within the first fifteen days. Then you will know well that you are in for a win. At this point of time, the most important tip I guess is the one I gave at the third item above. You are not going to end this novel here. This is just a game to finish your first novel (first novelists). Your actual aim is to reedit it and send it to your agent by the end of this year. All the best.

Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008


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