NaNoWriMo is an abbreviation of National Novel Writing Month is a non-profit writing event held every November where participants attempt to write a novel of at least 50,000 words in exactly 30 days. There’s also a more informal version of the event every April and July called Camp NaNoWriMo which expands the challenge to scripts, non-fiction, memoirs and other projects while offering variable word count goals. There was also a sister event called Script Frenzy (nicknamed Screnzy) which was retired in 2012 where participants could write scripts, screenplays, comics and more.
A participant since 2002 and an ML for both Screnzy and NaNoWriMo since 2010, this is my guide to the world of NaNo.
Wrimos, to be on pace, you should be hitting 20,000 words TODAY. If you’re not there yet, do not fret! There’s still plenty of time to hit 50,000 and beyond, you just gotta stick with it! We’re due at the halfway point by Wednesday and then it’s all downhill to the 50k finish line! But it’s probably getting harder, isn’t it? If you’re starting to struggle, you’re not alone. Week Two of NaNoWriMo is infamous because it’s the time when most people give up. Why? Well, there’s a lot of...read more
I know that some of you out there are as obsessive as me when it comes to trying to figure out how far along you are in National Novel Writing Month so I decided to share my personal calculator. It’s simple but powerful. This calculator will work in Open Office, Microsoft Excel or Google Drive, depending on what you use. But it works best in Google Drive since that is what I set it up in (there are also some handy little charts in the Google version the other versions won’t get). It is very simple to use. All you do is type in...read more
Mere hours stand between us and the beginning of National Novel Writing Month. Whether you’re about to attempt your first novel or your fifty first, it’s going to be a wild ride of fun and productivity. As soon as the clock ticks over to November 1st, it’s time to start writing like the Flash on 20 Red Bulls. There are a lot of ways to write, from the slow tweaking of the difficult work email to the herky jerky stop and go of writing that research heavy non-fiction piece. But there’s nothing that thrills me like a...read more
You can always tell when I’m catching up on my inbox when I do a lot of mailbag posts in a row. Relatedly, here’s another one: We met last year during NaNoWriMo (October 2016) in preparation for our arduous month ahead. Thanks for all the great info. I wrote 50K words that month and almost completed my suspense novel. I have perhaps 20 pages to write for the action sequence/chapter needed to resolve the story, but I find myself w/o motivation to complete it. I have several people willing to review it once finished, including a...read more
Despite the fact that life with a new baby is chaos and we’ve got the multipliers of a preschooler and having just moved to monkey wrench the whole dealie, I feel like I’m doing much better than I did after my first daughter was born. Not just from a mental health and personal juggling standpoint, which is leagues better than it was last time mostly because of this, but also with work. Even though I have much less time now than I did when my first daughter was born, it really feels like I’m getting a lot more writing and...read more
Maybe you’ve heard of Camp NaNoWriMo (the smaller, spunky sister event to the big November writing extravaganza) and were underwhelmed by the idea. Or maybe you’ve been meaning to try it out for years but something always seems to come up. Either way, with a host of really cool new features letting you customize your Camp NaNoWriMo experience like never before, now is absolutely the time to give the challenge a second (or first) try! What is Camp NaNoWriMo? A sister event to the big National Novel Writing Month held every...read more
Regular readers know I do a monthly debrief of how my writing is going and have found it incredibly helpful in auditing my writing work and keeping me on track. I also make a silly little graphic for each month to serve as a title image for easy sharing on social media and beyond. This year, I made all of my monthly graphics using the free site PhotoFunia. While you’re welcome to head over there and customize your own, I’m also including the full set that I made here to save you time. You’re welcome to use them on your own...read more
Manage multiple writing projects & keep your word count on track with this writers yearly goal system
By popular request, I’m reposting this updated for 2017. It’s exactly the same as last year, only the dates are updated in the spreadsheet (I didn’t update the screenshots, so sue me). I do have a slightly different system I’m personally using this year that I’ll share when I get a chance but the basic format is the same so go ahead and start with this and you’ll be able to move your data over easily to the new sheet if you want to. I’m aware that there is no February 29, 2017 but I leave the leap day...read more
It’s a brand new year which means it’s the traditional time of setting new goals and resolutions for the year ahead. For us writers, that can mean setting deadlines or striving for new writing habits in the coming year. I think taking a few minutes to write down concrete goals is a great way to keep you focused on what’s important to you as you move into the next few months. “But, Hillary, statistics show that New Year’s Resolutions don’t work!” you protest. “People just abandon them after a few...read more
I know I’ve said this before but I can’t express to you how glad I am that I changed my writing year so that it ends in November. I made this change on a whim back in 2014 and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made for both my writing goals and general mental health. It also took a ton of pressure off the already crazy end of the year. I mention this because the calendar doesn’t own you either. Companies can set their own fiscal years, there’s no reason you can’t do the same for whatever your goals are....read more