Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 23, 2017

9 Tips for November’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

The NaNoWriMo challenge to write 50,000 words in 30 days began in 1999. It’s a non-profit effort run mostly by volunteers. Writers aged 13 to 100 participate in 663 regions worldwide.

If you would like to write a novel, you should consider taking the NaNoWriMo challenge. Even if you want to write a middle grade novel that is only 50,00 words, you can still take the challenge. The purpose of this challenge is to get you to focus on writing something new. Many of us need a deadline to push us towards out goal. I have seen this with the Avalon Writer’s Retreat. Writer’s hunker down and write when they know they have a deadline.

Now is the time to get your mind ready for the challenge. Here are some tips:

  1. TODAY: Start thinking about what you would like to write.
  3. THINK ABOUT YOUR MAIN CHARACTER: What do they look like? What is problems do they have? What problems could you threw at them for them to over come?
  4. OTHER CHARACTERS: Is there a hero? An antagonist? Sometimes we can see these characters in our mind and sometimes they develop while writing the text. If you have ideas write them down and think about it before you start.
  5. NO IDEAS?: Try writing a first page. Write the first thing that pops in your head. You have no idea how many writer’s I know from the Avalon Writer’s Retreat and the SCBWI that have had published novels come out of doing this – me included. Actually, write a couple of them and see what comes out, then pick the one that speaks to you.
  6. GOALS: You can make a daily goal or a weekly goal, but I have found that everyday if different. Sometimes the story flows and other days, it feels like I’m trying to push a rope up hill. Just keep pushing through until you get to the flowing parts.
  7. DON’T TURN BACK: Many writer’s keep going back to the beginning and revise before  continuing the story. The objective of this challenge is to write a whole novel in 30 days. You will not reach your goal if you are worried about the quality of what you wrote the day before. The book will change many times, so keep moving forward. You can worry about that when you finish. Who cares if it is a lousy mess? You will work on that after the challenge.
  8. END EACH SESSION: Before you stop for the day. Write a sentence or two about what happens next, that way you won’t be tempted to read what you wrote the day before to get back into the grove.
  9. GET RIGHT BACK ON THE HORSE: At the end of the month, don’t just throw your story in the desk drawer. No one writes a good first draft. It needs to be worked on and revised. If you let it sit too long, you’ll lose the momentum you built writing the first draft, so rewrite, edit, work on your characters, fix it, have others critique it, and finish it ASAP.

I am sure there are many other things writers have done to help them through to the end. Feel free to share them here.

Books by past participants include:

Over 250 NaNoWriMo novels have been traditionally published. They include Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder. See a full list of NaNoWriMo published authors.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Great advice, Kathy! Inspiring to hear how many NaNoWriMo manuscripts have turned into spectacular books!


  2. Lovin’ this list, Kathy 😀 I’ve NEVER considered doing NaNoWriMo ’cause I didn’t want to add yet another “pressure” to my life. The other day an author I know mentioned she needs to get her memoir done, has been developing it for a while, but needs to actually get it done and plans on using NaNoWriMo to do it. I know I can’t do this for my novel series, at least not yet, BUT there’s this little part of me that wants to tackle it purely pantsing, just to see what comes from it and to force that amount of writing every day. We’ll see!

    And I knew CINDER was a NaNoWriMo, but not THE NIGHT CIRCUS which I absolutely LOVE! Wow!

    We’ll see. Don’t know if I’ll commit. But I totally shared this! 😀


  3. Thanks to the tips, I am actually considering trying this. Even if I don’t finish in a month, I will have a good start. So far I’ve been in the writing doldrums.


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