NaNoWriMo 2018 is already well upon us!

If you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo, let me clue you in: it stands for National Novel Writing Month, and the idea is simple. You start writing on November 1 and finish up with 50,000 words by the end of the day on November 30.

There’s a fabulous community involved and it can be a super-motivating way to write your first (or next) novel. I’ve been a participant in the past, though my own writing schedule doesn’t usually line up with writing in November. I’m not playing this year, but I follow the crowd every year and offer encouragement to everyone else who’s taking on the challenge.

5 easy ways to win NaNoWriMo in 2018 by @reveriepress
Set yourself up for writing success and get that win – even if you don’t get started on time.


Let me point you in a few directions if you’re looking to get started:

National Novel Writing Month official website
National Novel Writing Month Camp – a social way to connect with other participants
National Novel Writing Month – Young Writers Program

So, now that you know what it is and how to join, where do you start? And how do you win? Well, lucky for you, I’ve got some great tips to get you moving in the right (or write, if you’re feelin’ punny) direction!


Do you know how long it takes you to write 100 words? What about 1,000? If you’re new to writing, you may need to give yourself some room to find your happy place. There are two main approaches many writers use for hitting their goals:

    1. Words per day – what’s the math for reaching 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo? Well, if you write every single day, you’d need an average of 1,667 words per day. That would, actually, put you at 10 words over on the final day (bonus points!) Do you know if you can write 1,667 words per day? For experienced writers, that can be an easy reach. Newer writers can struggle to hit that.

      If you’re counting words per day, watch your average and adjust accordingly. Remember, too, that this is a draft with a capital DRAFT. Sling those words, even if you know they’re garbage. You can fix them later.

    2. Butt-in-chair time – this one is more nebulous. I don’t personally do well with butt-in-chair time because it’s so tough to track. Sure, you can plop your booty in a chair at 5 pm and plan to write until 7 pm. But how much of that time do you spend distracting yourself from writing by *connecting* with other writers on Twitter or creating the perfect inspiration board on Pinterest? Yeah, that’s why I don’t do butt-in-chair time. A daily word goal keeps me far more accountable.

      If you must be a butt-in-chair timer, you’ll have to be extra strict with yourself to hit the goal. Again, I recommend keeping an eye on your average and adjusting accordingly.


Sometimes NaNoWriMo can sneak up on writers. Life is crazy and busy and hard and suddenly it’s November and when did that even happen? You’re still wearing your summer clothes and just covering them up with a jacket because why is it unseasonably cold?! It can also sneak up on writers who’ve never seen or heard anything about it until those October days when the word starts to fill up the author space of social media.

It’s cool. It happens.

If you find yourself caught up in the frenzy of “OMG what do I write?!” while you’re noshing the Halloween candy leftovers, you’re definitely not alone.

The best move?

Choose a plot that really revs you up. Wanting the win and also being short on time can create unnecessary stress. This may not be the moment to focus on a work in progress that has been getting you down. Instead, choose a story you’re dying to write. You can even look up writing prompts online if you don’t have an immediate What If lined up. Don’t copy a story – just look for a spark. You can also boost a What If you’re already working with!

Picking a story that you’re itching to write will give you a better shot at success because you’ll be thrilled to sit down at every writing opportunity. The work will call to you and you’ll itch to get started.


This goes along with choosing a plot that drives your excitement. When you start your writing session, take five minutes to jot down the things you’re most excited to write that day. If you left your character dangling by two fingers on the edge of a cliff, on the verge of losing grip and dropping to her death, that’s a scene you’re not going to want to wait to get back to! Think – or read – back over where you left off the day before and find as many exciting moments as you can to write about next.

Bonus points for doing half of this work at the end of each writing session! You can absolutely breeze back through what you’ve written that day and get your brain working in advance for what you’re excited to get to next in your story.


Yes, NaNoWriMo can be a gamechanger for lots of writers. You may not have the time to devote to 50,000 words every month. That’s why one month where everyone is doing it makes it so much easier to win. It can be a huge jumpstart for a new novel and, if you do it right, you can capitalize on the month by connecting with loads of new people. Those people may become your writing friends, your critique group, and even your future readers. But that doesn’t mean you should lose your head about it.

If NaNoWriMo starts to become anything other than good and fun, you're doing it for the wrong reasons and putting way too much pressure on yourself. Trust me: that will come out in your writing.Click To Tweet

If you don’t get started until later in the month or you can’t dive in this year, you’ll be totally fine. And if you don’t win, you’ll be totally fine. It’s a challenge. That should be a good thing.If NaNoWriMo starts to become anything other than good and fun, you’re doing it for the wrong reasons and putting way too much pressure on yourself. Trust me: that will come out in your writing. So…


Take a deep breath and remember: the words will always be there. November isn’t a magical month for writing. It’s just the month that happened to get picked. December is a great month. January is a great month. May, three years down the road, is also grand. The point is to write. Whether that means the first time you pick up a pen or the thirtieth time you sit down at the start of a new manuscript.

Breathe and remember: the words will always be there.

If you still need help getting started with your writing dreams, check out the services I offer. I’m always thrilled to work with newbies to help in every step of getting that first book out to the world ❤

Happy NaNo, writer friend!

If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, be sure to follow me so I can find and support you!
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