The Ultimate List of NaNoWriMo Tips

Whether you're a NaNoWriMo veteran or maybe you just stumbled onto the NaNoWriMo community 15 minutes ago and decided you're participating this year, here are some tips anyone can use to write 50,000 words this November.

So when you've written only 54 words during the whole day (true story), you can come back here and grab some quick tips to get back on track!

By the way, this list isn't comprehensive so feel free to share additional links in the comments, and I'll add them to the list.

And if you're looking for some encouragement and/or friendly competition, be sure to add me as a buddy over on the NaNoWriMo site! I'm y_vargas32.

Then tag me on Twitter (@ThisIsWriterMom) so we can do some sprints!

To NaNo or Not to NaNo? (And What to Know About NaNo)

12 Thoughts About NaNoWriMo by Joe Bunting at The Write Practice

4 Reasons You Should Do NaNoWriMo…And 4 Reasons You Shouldn’t by Ali Luke at Aliventures

25 Things You Should Know About NaNoWriMo by Chuck Wendig at Terrible Minds

NaNoWriMo—Should You Join in the Silliness? 9 Reasons to Consider It by Anne R. Allen at Anne R. Allen’s Blog

“As Anne LaMotte wrote in her classic book for writers, Bird by Bird, ‘the only way [most writers] can get anything done at all is to write really, really, really shitty first drafts.’

NaNoWriMo forces you to get that dung onto the page.”

12 Reasons to Ignore the Naysayers: Do NaNoWriMo by Carolyn Kellogg at Jacket Copy

“And is a large pool of hopeful writers really a terrible thing? Are there not thousands more marathon runners than medalists, more home chefs than pros who might ever run a restaurant kitchen? What's wrong with an enthusiastic amateur class of writers? Who says they're not readers, anyway? I've yet to see anything more substantial than a dinner party anecdote.

Here's a quick rundown of Miller's argument, and where it goes wrong."

To NaNo, Or Not to Nano… by Chelsea M. Cameron at YA Indie

“So, is NaNo for you? I honestly think everyone should at least try to do it once. It forces you to stop worrying about what you're writing and just write. After NaNo, I don't have an issue with cranking out a draft in a few weeks. It helped me focus on the important things. The words.”

NaNoWriMo: I’m Only Going to Say This Once, Okay? By Catherine Ryan Howard at Catherine, Caffeinated

“Every year around this time, something else starts too: NaNoWriMo Snobbery. Professional writers, who the other eleven months of the year seem like the nicest, most generous and friendliest people, suddenly start tipping their noses in the air and saying or even writing things about how NaNoWriMo and the people who partake in it are belittling their profession, ridiculing their craft and making a mockery of the 1,670 words they write every single day of the year in order to make a living.

Now, usually I just grit my teeth and try to ignore it, but this year I’m finding it impossible—and we’re not even T-minus 1 week to go yet.”

Why I Still Participate in NaNoWriMo (After 8 Years and a Book Contract) at Writers in the Storm

Preparing For NaNoWriMo

38 Tips for Kicking NaNoWriMo in the Butt This Year at Reedsy

11 Ways to Prepare For NaNoWriMo by Gary McLaren at Publish Your Own Ebooks

5 Reasons Not to Participate in NaNoWriMo by Janice Hardy at Fiction University (NaNoWriMo isn't for everyone, and that's okay!)

How to win Nanowrimo – 8 tips for smashing success! at CreativIndie

NaNoWriMo—The Pitfalls and How to Deftly Avoid Them by Lisa Cron at Writer Unboxed

“Somewhere deep down inside, though, most of us know the score. I mean, if all we had to do was unleash all our pent-up creativity and write 50,000 words, wouldn’t we all be successful novelists by now? The trouble is that when a seduction is in full swing, that little warning voice in our head never carries much weight.”

5 Tips to Help Indie Authors Prepare For NaNoWriMo by Natalie Wright at How to Successfully Self-Publish

“You will be thoroughly engrossed in your story for an entire month. You will eat it, breathe it, and sleep it. It will be both exhausting and exhilarating. You are giving yourself the gift of a full month of literary abandon and intense focus on your story. That’s an amazing gift. Plan now for the help you’ll need to support your literary marathon.”

Ready Or Not, Here It Comes: NaNoWriMo by Sophie Novak at The Write Practice

“Rather than going through the facts and stats, con­di­tions, and how it works (all of which you can find on the offi­cial web­site), let’s look through the required psy­cho­log­i­cal and intel­lec­tual effort as a prepa­ra­tion for those who are con­sid­er­ing giv­ing NaNoWriMo a go.”

The Siren Call of NaNoWriMo by Raewyn Hewitt at Dreaming of Other Realms

“…there are some great things to be gained by participating in NaNoWriMo, so can it work when you have limited time?”

Tips for Surviving the Agony and Ecstasy of NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo: Quick Preparation Tips and Resources by Suzannah Windsor Freeman at Write It Sideways

This post has a little of everything, from productivity tips and how NaNo works to how to plan your novel and awesome resources.

Next, is a great series by Janice Hardy, starting at the overall planning stage. She also gives you tips for planning the beginning, middle, and end of your novel.

NaNoWriMo Prep: Planning Your Novel by Janice Hardy at The Other Side of the Story

NaNoWriMo Prep: Planning Your Novel’s Beginning by Janice Hardy at The Other Side of the Story

NaNoWriMo Prep: Planning Your Novel’s Middle by Janice Hardy at The Other Side of the Story

NaNoWriMo Prep: Planning Your Novel’s End by Janice Hardy at The Other Side of the Story

Cool Tools

MyWriteClub (If you make an account, or are already a member, I'm YeseniaVargas on there if you'd like a friend.)

NaNoWriMo Word Meter at Language is a Virus

“Here is a cool NaNoWriMo word meter you can use to keep track of your daily NaNoWriMo word count. You can set the color of the progress bar. Just plug in how many words you've written so far, how many total you plan to write (NaNoWriMo 50,000 default), choose a color for your progress bar and hit calculate. Then just copy/paste the code where you want the NaNoWriMo word meter to appear!”

On writing: word count spreadsheets by J.H. Dierking

NaNoWriMo: Planning a Novel with Evernote Templates (This includes templates for character, beats, 3-act structure, world-building, and more)

Twitter Hashtags

Don't forget to tag me! >>> @ThisIsWriterMom









Reaching the 50,000 Word Finish Line

Writing Faster: Breaking the 10,000-Word-Day Barrier and Composing a Rough Draft in 2 Weeks by Lindsay Buroker

5 Ways To Get Your First Draft Material Out Of Your Head And Onto The Page at The Creative Penn

How to Write a Novel in a Month by James Scott Bell

NaNoWriMo Triage Center: Helping You Get To 50K at Writers Helping Writers

5 NaNoWriMo Hacks to Keep Words Flowing at Writers Helping Writers

How To Do NaNoWriMo When You Don’t Have the Time by Alison Wells at Alison Wells: Head Above Water

“You’ve got to write, you do it whenever you can. But this Nano thing. I mean 50,000 words in one month, you’re lucky if you do a thousand in a week, let alone in a day.”

A Good Way to Catch Up by Yesenia Vargas at WriterMom

I go more into depth on SpaceJock’s method of catching up (above). Basically, for every hour of the day, from the time you wake up until the time you go to bed, you are responsible for writing 500 words an hour. After writing 500 words for that hour, you can do whatever you want until the next hour begins.

4 Tips For Writing a Quick First Draft by Rachelle Gardner at Books & Such

Four crucial tips for reaching the 50K finish line. All tips can probably be boiled down to these tips.

When Life Sucks & Plans Go Haywire: How to Catch Up & Win NaNoWriMo by Yesenia Vargas at WriterMom

“When life happens and things don’t go as planned, you just have to adapt and make it a learning experience. Here are some tips that are working for me.”

How (Not) To Be a NaNoWriMo Champ by Ava Jae at Writability

“I present to you the infallible keys to becoming a NaNoWriMo champ.” For fun.

A Corollary to NaNoWriMo, or, Why I'm Prouder of 600 Words than 10,000 by Beth Revis





Bonus Tip: Have a Go-To Meal

In order to ensure your family's survival during November (and your own), I find it helpful to have an easy but delicious go-to meal for when you need to get back to the keyboard as fast as possible!

One of my favorite go-to meals, especially this time of year, is some good ol' chili! Here's how I make it:

  • Just brown 1 pound of ground beef or ground turkey
  • Add your favorite spices. I use ground garlic, salt, and pepper. Add to taste.
  • Throw in 2-3 cans each of canned tomatoes and canned kidney beans, depending on the size of your family and whether you want to save some for the next day.
  • Don't forget the chili mix! I just used the kind that comes in the ready-to-go packet or you can use regular old chili powder. Add to your liking.
  • Optional: Add in a can of corn or some sliced or diced jalapeños for an extra kick :)
  • Bring to a boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  • Serve and add some toppings (we like cheese & sour cream)) and grab some saltines or tortilla chips!

Life After NaNoWriMo

Why Writers Should Let Their Manuscripts Cool by Ava Jae at Writability

“As many writers know (and some would rather pretend they didn’t know), the cooling off period is more important than it sounds—it’s the time that allows us to take a couple steps back away from our freshly drafted WIPs, so that we can then in turn edit more objectively. It’s the pause between writing and editing—the breather, so to speak, and without it, it is very difficult to edit effectively.”

One-Pass Manuscript Revision: From First Draft to Last in One Cycle by Holly Lisle

“The first draft of your novel is finished. Now, according to the recommendations of any number of writing books, pundits, and writers who go through this themselves, you’re in for five or ten or more rounds of revision, in which you’ll polish your work until it is a gleaming, perfect pearl … and in which process you’ll dither for months or years.

You can do that if you want. But you don’t have to. It isn’t the way I work. I find a lot of truth in the adage, ‘If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, how are you ever going to find time to fix it later?’ ”

What other awesome NaNoWriMo resources have you come across?

Chime in below, and I'll add them to this list. Are you particpating in NaNoWriMo this year? Leave your username, and I'll send you a buddy request!

Oh, and don't forget: sharing is caring!