Monday, 3 November 2014

NaNo Talk: And So It Begins...

November is known around the world as National Novel Writing Month, a time of the year when hundreds and thousands of people try to get 50,000 words down on paper in just thirty days. There’s something quite compelling about it and once you’ve taken part once it has a habit of drawing you back in, year after year.

This year while I’m taking part I’m also sharing some of my thoughts on the various stages of the month.

Hopefully by this point you’ve taken advantage of the weekend NaNo start and already pounded out a good few thousand words. If you’re anything like me you had a late night on the 31st of October, a late night that had nothing to do with Halloween. You see, I always view Halloween as NaNoween or NaNo Eve; a time for last minute planning and watching scary movies to help me stay awake until midnight hits and I can start writing.

Quick confession: Last year we watched (as has become traditional in our house) The Nightmare Before Christmas followed by Coraline, which spooked me so badly (because Mr Click went to bed right afterwards and left me sitting up alone) that I had to watch the Tinkerbelle movie to unscare myself. True story.

To hit the 50,000 mark in thirty days you need to be aiming to write 1,667 words per day each day of the month. I like to try and get at least that before I head to bed on the morning of the 1st. Sometimes I try and get my fully first two or three days quota in, or more on the first day. Getting ahead will give you a nice buffer for those days later in the month when you just can’t get any writing done.

There is a good list that I found a couple of years back and have hung onto ever since which has you writing an awful lot on the first day (over 3,000 words) so that each day you can aim to write fewer and fewer words. I like this method because in theory you can push yourself to write more at the beginning and then it reduces the pressure each day.

I know some people who aim for one of those word counts each day and once they’ve achieved it they cross it off. That way they might write 2,000+ on the first day but only one word on the second, then 300 on the third and so on. I quite like that idea though I’ve never tried it myself.

Now is also the time of the month to get yourself into good writing habits. If you’ve been really sensible you started setting aside writing time each day in October, if you didn’t it’s not too late. It might mean setting the alarm half an hour earlier in the morning, not playing on the computer in your lunch break, staying up a little later than usual, whatever works for you. It’s amazing where those extra minutes can squeeze in from.

This is the time of the month to figure out exactly what works for you because once you find something that works you can stick with it and hopefully see it through to the end of the month where your winners certificate is waiting for you. And don’t worry if you’ve not started yet, it’s only Day 3, stop reading right now and go write some words. You’re only 5,001 words behind, you can make that up next weekend easily!


  1. I've been seeing a lot about the nano and I don't usually participate. But this year I'm doing the blog ahead challenge where we try to write 30 blog posts to pre schedule.

    1. Hope you're getting on well with the Blog Ahead Challenge. I heard a couple of people talking about that and it seems like a really good idea. I like to be a week ahead of myself with my posts but it doesn't always work out that way!


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