How to Conquer National Novel Writing Month

fountain pen

November 1st marks the start of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo as it’s known in the writing community. The idea is to write 50,000 words in the month of November towards your novel. The 50,000 may be your full novel or can count towards your final word count. 

The thought of writing 50,000 words in a month might seem overwhelming or unattainable, especially if this is the first time writing a novel, but every year thousands of writers achieve this goal, and you definitely can too.

Here are 5 tips for conquering NaNoWriMo and successfully writing the first draft of your novel in 30 days. 

1.      Have a daily word count goal

To successfully reach the 50,000 target, you need to write 1667 words per day. This is totally do-able and not as hard as you may think.

2.      Have a schedule

Block out time in your calendar to write. You may need to get up an hour earlier to fit it in, if you have a full uni timetable or kids. I write better in the evenings, so I block out between 9-10pm once all my kids are asleep.

3.      Keep accountable

I found signing up to the NaNoWriMo community helped me to stay motivated and kept me on track. On the website, you can track yours and other writers’ progress, and there are support forums for advice and encouragement. It’s a great way to make new writing buddies.

4.      Don't edit

Editing will slow you down. Remember, you only have a month to reach 50,000 words, and editing as you go along will consume a lot of time that could be used towards hitting your goal. There is plenty of time to edit once November is over. Remember it’s a first draft not a final product.

5.      Reward yourself

If you reach your daily word count then why not reward yourself. I will have some expensive chocolate or watch an episode of my current Netflix obsession. If I write consecutively for a week, I will buy a book or rent a movie. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you miss days. Life happens, and you can catch up in other writing sessions.

The same can be said if at the end of November, you are short of the 50,000 words. Just keep in mind you made progress with your book and that’s all that matters.

Good luck writers.

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Written by Natalie Roberts, a writer and former HSc Mental Health and Wellbeing student at Wrexham Glyndŵr University. You can read more about her work and her books here