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        What Is NaNoWriMo? Top 7 Tips to Ace the Writing Marathon

        • calenderNov 10, 2023
        • calender 5 min read

        If you’re excited about NaNoWriMo, this article is for you! NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month. It’s the time when writers challenge themselves to write daily and create a masterpiece. In this article, we’ve provided simple and practical strategies about how to prepare for NaNoWriMo. 

        We have also included the rules for NaNoWriMo and how to sign up for this massive event. With this, we’ve also answered the question- After NaNoWriMo, what next? Before we delve into the main topic, let’s quickly understand NaNoWriMo’s meaning. 

        What is NaNoWriMo? 

        NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month where writers attempt to write a 50,000-word novel. Founded by Chis Baty, this huge writing challenge always occurs in November. This creative writing challenge aims to encourage writers to enhance their craft. 

        After understanding what is NaNoWriMo, the next question is: Why should I take part in this event? Dive in to learn 3 ways in which you can benefit from NaNoWriMo! 

        Top 3 reasons to take part in NaNoWriMo 

        1. You develop a writing discipline- NaNoWriMo encourages you to set a daily word count target. This ensures that you consistently write every day. 

        2. Improving writing speed- Penning down words every day helps to gradually enhance your writing speed. 

        3. Growth as a writer- Participating in NaNoWriMo will help you understand your strengths and shortcomings as a writer. NaNoWriMo also helps you successfully overcome writer’s block and write more confidently. 

        NaNoWriMo rules for the writing marathon 

        Following are the basic NaNoWriMo rules of this exciting creative writing challenge: 

        • You must be the sole author of the 50,000-word novel. You cannot collaborate with another author and co-write the novel. 
        • You must complete the novel in 30 days (from 1st November to 30th November). The challenge ends on 30th November 2023 at 11:59 pm. Hence, your novel must be completed before then. 

        NaNoWriMo tips to complete your novel 

        Given below are seven tips to win the NaNoWriMo 2023 writing challenge: 

        1. Plan your schedule  

        Jotting down the time you need to write every day is essential. It’s recommended that you should dedicate 3 – 3.5 hours every day to writing. You can use the following strategies to plan your schedule: 

        • Half-an-hour sprints- This strategy involves writing continuously for half-an-hour without taking a break. After half an hour you can take a 5-minute break and again start writing. 
        • Set a timer- You need to time yourself and try to achieve a specific word count in half an hour. It’s generally recommended that you write 1,667 NaNoWriMo words per day. This means you must complete at least 239 words in half an hour to achieve this goal. 
        • Back-up days- It’s highly possible that you do not finish the targeted word count on a day. Setting up a backup day and timing where you can finish the pending word count helps to achieve this goal. 
        • Use writing software- Using writing apps like Scrivener and Y-Writer can help you streamline your writing process. Y-Writer gives authors the option to write the scenes of the novel. Scrivener also aids the writer in dividing their novel into chapters. Writers can also switch between chapters and make changes easily. It also has a feature of a notepad to allow writers to jot notes of their ideas for chapters so that they don’t lose their ideas. 

        Another important aspect of how to prepare for NaNoWriMo is to cut out any disturbances. The next point briefly explains simple strategies to minimize interruptions. 

        2. Eliminate distractions 

        It’s easy to be distracted by social media, friends, relatives and colleagues. Here are some practical suggestions to help you eliminate distractions: 

        • Determine a dedicated workspace- Writing in the same place every day can help you focus on finishing your NaNoWriMo challenge. Ideally, this writing space should be free from any clutter. 
        • Silence email and mobile notifications- This will help you avoid being distracted from your work. If this doesn’t help, you can also try leaving your phone in a drawer far away from you, to focus. 
        • Block meetings for a specific time– Decide a time when you will not have any meetings and write in that time. This will help you to focus on writing. 
        • Use headphones- You can listen to music on headphones if it helps you write better. This will help to eliminate other distractions. Another strategy is to use noiseless headphones which drown out all the noise. 

        Want to perfectly edit your NaNoWriMo draft?

        3. Don’t immediately edit, read, and revise after writing 

        It’s important to silence the inner critic and not worry about word choice and refining your sentences. A simple way to prevent yourself from editing is to copy the last sentence you’ve written at the end of your writing session on a blank page. The next day, you can then start fresh, without seeing the entire draft you’ve written before. Following are some NaNoWriMo tips to help you write better and edit later: 

        • Write notes- Creating small notes about what you wish to edit at the end of every writing session will help you resist the urge to edit immediately. If more research is required, you can add a note about that. You can highlight what needs to be changed in red or attach a sticky note about what needs to be changed. This will help you write better. 
        • Find extra time for planning- If you set a timespan of half an hour to one hour a week to plan additional details for your novel, this will reduce editing time. For example, instead of adding extra scenes to your novel later, if you find additional time to plan your scenes, this will reduce your editing time. 

        4. Share your goals with someone else

        Sharing motivates one to complete the novel and creates a feeling of accountability. You can share about your NaNoWriMo challenge with your friends, family, and social media. If you sign up on the NaNoWriMo website, you will also see an option to choose your location. Selecting your location will help you to connect with writers in your area who are also taking part in NaNoWriMo. You can also find hashtags related to NaNoWriMo and writing groups on Facebook and Twitter and share your progress. 

        5. Experiment! 

        A good way to beat writer’s block during NaNoWriMo is to try something out of your comfort zone. Here are some strategies you can try to do so: 

        • If you find it difficult to write the novel’s chapters in order (from the first chapter to the last), ditch the order. Randomly start from a scene that you have clarity about and complete it. You can later go back to the scene you didn’t write at first. 
        • Set an approximate word count for a scene and attempt to write that scene in one day. The scene’s importance and relevance in the novel can help you determine the word count. A good strategy is to divide the scene into three parts (beginning, middle, and end) and give every part a word count. For example, 500 words for the beginning, 1000 words for the middle, and 500 words for the end. You can distribute the NaNoWriMo word count of 50,000 words by setting a specific word count for every scene in the novel. 
        • Use voice typing- You can use apps where you can dictate and the app will convert your spoken words to text. This can help you save writing time. You can try various voice typing software like Google Keyboard, Just Press Record, Speechnotes, Transcribe, etc. 

        6. Reward yourself

        Giving yourself incentives for completing your target word count feels tremendously motivating. You can fulfill one item on your bucket list or perform one activity that pleases you. For example, having your favorite meal, practicing your hobby, going to your favorite hang-out place, etc. This will make you feel motivated to write and complete your writing goals. 

        7. Take valuable suggestions from NaNoWriMo books 

        Sometimes, it’s best to learn from those who have actually experienced the crazy NaNoWriMo marathon. Following are some of the best NaNoWriMo books: 

        • NaNoWriMo 101: A Quick Guide on How to Write a Novel in 30 Days During National Novel Writing Month by HowExpert, Nicole Thomas
        • Surviving 30 Days of Literary Madness: Getting through NaNoWriMo with Your Sanity and Sense of Humor (Hopefully) Intact by Caro Kinkead
        • Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights and Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo by Grant Faulkner. 
        • The NaNoWriMo Survival Guide: The No Stress Approach to Preparing For and Winning NaNoWriMo by Kate Krake.

        8. Bonus section: 5 strategies to beat writer’s block 

        You may be feeling writer’s block and are unsure about what to write. Here are some strategies to overcome writer’s block: 

        • Practise free writing and write 500 words without thinking even if your thoughts aren’t clear about what you are writing. 
        • Take a short break and do something you like. 
        • Try some creative writing prompts to bring out your creative genius. You can also use writing prompt generators like Story Shack. 
        • Read something that you like. This will help you refresh your mind. 
        • Take inspiration from your real-life experiences to write the novel. 

        If you haven’t signed up for NaNoWriMo but want to, browse through the next section that briefly explains how to sign up for NaNoWriMo. If you have already signed up, skip this section and go through the next intriguing section: After NaNoWriMo, what next? 

        How to sign up for NaNoWriMo

        To sign up for NaNoWriMo, you need to visit the official website: and click on the option of Signup. This signup is free and you can sign up on the website any time in the year. After filling in details like the user name, email id, password, and timezone, you can create your account. 

        You can then track your word count progress, and get access to a large writing community and exciting virtual events. NaNoWriMo also encourages forums where writers can connect. NaNoWriMo winners also get a certificate and their names are shown on the winners page on the official website. 

        Now that you’ve created an account, you can start preparing for NaNoWriMo! For those who are still unsure about participating in NaNoWriMo, the following are some inspiring NaNoWriMo authors’ success stories. 

        NaNoWriMo authors’ success stories 

        Eric Morgenstern wrote the novel The Night Circus during NaNoWriMo. As of present, more than 3 million copies of this novel have been sold. 

        Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen is another famous novel written during NaNoWriMo. The novel’s immense popularity led to its film adaptation in 2011. 

        These examples show how NaNoWriMo can completely transform an author’s life. After signing up for NaNoWriMo, you might be wondering about your next steps after NaNoWriMo. Dive in to understand what you should do after completing the NaNoWriMo challenge! 

        After NaNoWriMo, what next? 

        Once you complete NaNoWriMo, the next step is to revise and enhance your novel. You can add relevant content and remove unwanted content. You can also self-edit your novel and remove redundancies, complex language, spelling, and grammatical errors. Getting feedback about your novel from another NaNoWriMo writer, or editor can also be hugely beneficial. 

        If you want a comprehensive, thorough edit, you can also approach any reputed editing and proofreading company. PaperTrue is a trusted editing and proofreading company that provides novel editing and self-publishing services. We’d love to help you perfect your first draft and help you become a self-published author! 

        Here are some other resources to enhance your writing: 

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        Priya Linkedin

        Priya has a talent for academic research and enjoys simplifying complex topics. When she's not helping students improve their writing, she can be seen reading poetry, playing the harmonium, or learning classical dance.

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