NaNoWriMo, Writer's Problems, Writing Tips and Tricks

Tips for Preparing for NaNo

If you’re like me, you are watching the 1st of November come up a mixture of excitement, dread, happiness, sorrow. No doubt on Nov. 1st, we’ll all shout in both exhilaration and overwhelming fear. To help feel more excitement and less dread, here are a couple tips for surviving NaNo that I will be putting into use…

Convince your family to gift you gift cards to your favorite coffee shop. Because long nights and even longer days are ahead of us. Just think of how late you stay up studying even without NaNo. Now add in NaNo. See the need for the gift cards now? Yep. I thought so.

Also chocolate. Chocolate is good for the tears when you get to the middle of NaNo and realize that your recent test studying and Thanksgiving prep have you a couple days behind in your writing. Chocolate has endorphins in it (or so I’ve been told) that makes you feel less sad and more happy. So definitely chocolate.

Plans are your very best friend. Typically, on November 1st, I start off with a brand new story and a half-cooked idea of where I want to go. About the middle of November, I lose sight of the end, flounder around, write chapter after chapter of nothing (or worse, write nothing at all), and end up with an editor’s nightmare in December/January.

You don’t have to make your outline detailed. Actually, you don’t even have to outline. Just have a place where you jot down the basics of an idea and roughly put it where you think it should go in your story’s timeline. That way, when you get to the middle of November, you have a basic idea of where you want to go, but it’s not detailed enough that it’s impossible for you to deviate or follow your muse.


Practice hitting the save button. One day you will thank me for this. Profoundly thanks. Like, on your hands and knees sobbing out your thanks. Like, … am I taking this too far?

Announce that you are participating. Because when you involve other people, there is instantly more pressure to get it done and not be the “dropout writer.” Because no one wants to be labeled that. I know from experience. Check out the cool social media pics NaNo has so helpfully provided for you right here.

And while you’re there, check out the sponsor offers. Because nothing prompts you to finish like the thoughts of freebies. Or… at least, discounts? Either way, they are pretty sweet. Check them out here.

When all else fails, write lots and lots flowery descriptions. Of everything. Reason? It takes more words. The more words it takes, the sooner you get to your word count. The sooner you get to your word counter, the sooner you are labeled A WINNER!! Even if the last five or ten chapters don’t mean anything or advance you in your story any, you still hit your word count goal and you still get the prize. You might have to go back and rewrite it all afterward.  As long as you get to 50,000 words before December 1st, everything will be absolutely, positively fine!

Above all…

remember this one simple thing:




2 thoughts on “Tips for Preparing for NaNo”

  1. Outlining??? WHAT IS THIS MADNESS??? XD

    My outlines usually consist of a very vague scene-by-scene bullet point of events, which I then have to take five years deciding once I read it again after writing it. XD

    I absolutely love this survival guide!!!! I’m not sure how you managed to convince your family to give you coffee shop gift cards, but DUDE. THAT’S AMAZING!!!! XD But also COFFEE IS BLECH. Do they serve cinnamon hot cocoa??? XD

    The sponsor offers are always so much fun to look at… Although, I’m not sure I’m going to be able to validate since I’m a rebel? But if I can that’d be AWESOME!!!


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