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NaNoWriMo alternatives to keep you writing in the off-season 

by Dec 8, 2023Evergreen, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), On Writing: Craft and Commiseration0 comments

Keeping the NaNoWriMo Spirit Going Year Round

NaNoWriMo is over for another year but there is still plenty of writing still to do. To that end, here’s a list of resources that might serve you in the off-season. Of course, what you need from a post NaNoWriMo year round alternative will depend on what you liked about the event…

If you liked the goal setting element of NaNoWriMo…

NaNoWriMo Goal Trackers

I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that lots of people don’t realize that the main NaNoWriMo site allows for year-round goal setting. No matter what month it is, you can always create a project or word count goal and still have the advantage of all the fancy badges, graphs and word tracking tools you get during the main events so that’s always an option. (You can also set multiple goals for the same project which is great for tracking your progress through multiple drafts… or in my case the same draft. Again.)

Get Your Words Out 

GYWO is a writing challenge (with optional community) centered around setting a writing goal for the year (either by word count or number of hours). With monthly check-ins, tons of resources and articles, and a lively community, their goals span a variety of levels to make your year as chill or challenging as fits your needs. 

If you liked the timed write-ins…  

Keep It Going!

If your favorite part of NaNoWriMo are the meet-ups and write-ins, one of the best places to start is your local NaNoWriMo region. Put out some feelers and see if there’s anyone else in your area who’d be willing to set up a standing write-in time so you can keep the momentum going throughout the year. If online is more your thing (sometimes I enjoy being social but I’m also a huge fan of not leaving my house), you might have more takers with a regular Zoom call or Discord sprints. 

Shut Up and Write!

If your local region isn’t active or you don’t get any takers when you ask around, there’s an organization called Shut Up and Write that serves as a hub to find local and online NaNo-style write-ins year round. While there are a variety of online events open to everyone on the schedule, anyone can also sign up to host in-person writing sprints that they’ll list in their international database.

If you liked the forums…

Forums are kind of a dying breed these days so it’s challenging to find a good one that’s still active. While GYWO has thriving Dreamhost and Discord communities and Shut Up and Write does face to face meet-ups, if it’s specifically forums you’re looking for, I’d point you towards SavvyAuthors or Absolute Write. While not as active as non-forum communities, both are friendly communities centered around writing of all kinds that anyone can join and SavvyAuthors also has a host of other features like pitch events, online classes and a yearly exclusive conference and, best of all, a robust beta readers program. 

If you’re coming around to Discord, in addition to anything your regional group might offer, the NaNo Coffeehouse is a year round group that also has a forum element integrated into their discord server. They run events and sprints year round and you can find them here.

Post-NaNoWriMo Resources 

Beta readers

Now that you’ve finished your novel, you’re probably thinking about the next steps. When you’re finished editing, you’ll need beta readers and while the best sources usually come from your personal circle of writing peers, another option is SavvyAuthors’ crit match program. Unlike a lot of the big sites like Critique Circle or Scribophile where the system is point based to favor quantity over quality, the SavvyAuthors program resets every few months to pair you directly with a writing buddy that fits your needs. 

Classes and Workshops

Sometimes the process of editing makes you realize just how much you don’t know so you realize you need to learn a little more about craft before you continue. Fortunately, there are tons of small writing workshops and classes that are super inexpensive (like under $35 in most cases) where you can get the one-on-one attention of your instructor and feedback from your fellow students. The list of what classes are currently available changes all the time and they can often be hard to find, but I compiled a list of places to check here


Get Stuff Done: Productivity and Goal Tracking for Writers

Presented by Hillary DePiano

4 Week Class
February 5-March 1, 2024

Speaking of classes, I am teaching a 4 week workshop in February called Get Stuff Done: Productivity and Goal Tracking for Writers. For a mere $30, we’ll be taking a hands on look at your goals for the next year and finding ways to tweak your methods to get more done with less time! (Note that the class is offered through Romance Writers Online but the content is for writers of any genre or type, not limited to romance writers.)


Hit the Books

Whether you want to learn more about writing craft, editing and revision, or just storytelling in general, I compiled a list of my favorite writing books here

Bonus: 4TheWords

Lastly, while it’s not free*, I highly recommend the writing game 4TheWords for keeping the writing motivation going year round. It’s a fantasy, RPG style game where you battle monsters with your writing and features plenty of stats and even goal trackers to help you keep an eye on your writing progress. I’ve been playing for over 5 years and it’s become an essential part of my writing routine. If you want to try it out, my referral code (AOZSY71632) gives you a 30 day free trial and 22 extra crystals. DM me once you’ve got the hang of the site and I’ll send you some extra items too to welcome you to the site (I can only do this if you use my referral code, though. The gift system only works for people you referred, sadly.). You can also extend your time on the site even more using the code wrimo23 (expires January 1st, 2024).

*Well, there’s a community pool where you can join and have your subscription sponsored by other users effectively making it free for you, but they only distribute that a few times a year and it literally just happened this week so it probably won’t happen again for a while. Though at least it IS an option to use it free!

Hmm, that’s all I can think of at the moment. Need something specific that isn’t addressed here? Let me know in the comments and I’ll see if I can think of something. 

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About the Author

Hillary DePiano is a playwright, fiction and non-fiction writer who loves writing of all kinds except for writing bios like this.

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