It’s NaNoWriMo Time – Sam Carrington’s Top Tips

It’s NaNoWriMo time!


This will be my seventh year joining in the madness to write 50,000 words in one month. Yes, all those words in just 30 days!

I’ve had mixed success with my attempts. I’ve only ‘won’ once – but for me, it really is the case of taking part being more important than winning.

The idea is to write a novel from scratch. Admittedly, I’ve mostly used NaNo to boost the word count of a novel I’m already working on. That’s because often the timing means I’m nearing a deadline date and need to be handing the finished novel over to my editor really soon!

But whether you’re going in with a blank sheet or adding to an existing project, there are hints and tips that will help you achieve your goal. Everyone is different and we all have things that work better for us despite the advice given. But here are some of my tips that might be helpful:

  1. Plan ahead

To enable you to hit the 50k target, it pays to have done some groundwork prior to the beginning of November. If you’ve got a plan, the easier it will be to power through.

  1. Tell everyone you’re taking part in NaNoWriMo

If people are aware of your participation you might not get disturbed for the entire month! (Yes, I know it’s unlikely – but at least they’ll understand why you don’t want to spend a long time with them!) Support from family and friends can be invaluable and help keep you motivated.

  1. Buddy up

One of the joys of taking part in NaNoWriMo is that a lot of writers do it, so it’s not hard to find people to buddy up with. I think it serves two purposes for me: one, it’s lovely to have support, and two, it helps spur me on as I can see how well they are doing, and I hate to be left behind! It’s not a competition, but I find it pushes me to do better.

  1. Get your writing snacks ready

Keep fuelled up! It can be easy to forget to eat when you’re in the zone. Have some healthy snacks prepared and ready on your desk – but don’t forget to eat actual meals too!

  1. Join in with wordsprints

I find these so helpful. Set a timer and write without stopping for that period of time. I often go to Twitter, find the NaNoWriMo hashtag and see who else is about to begin a wordsprint. It’s amazing how many words you can write this way.

  1. Silence your inner editor

This is the hardest part for me as I am an edit-as-you-go writer! However, if you really want to achieve 50k you don’t have time to stop and tweak. November is for writing as much as you can, you can edit in December.

  1. Access the motivational posts and videos on the NaNoWriMo site

Under the Writers Resources tab you can find pep talks. These can help motivate you and keep you on track.

  1. Write in short bursts

Sitting at your desk for hours on end might ensure an excellent word count, but it won’t do you any good! Remember to take regular breaks.

  1. If you miss a day, don’t panic

You haven’t messed up your chance of hitting the 50k target if you’ve been unable to write for a day. Life gets in the way sometimes, it’s inevitable. Keep a positive mindset and keep going!

  1. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t reach 50k

Whatever your final word count, remember it’s a great start. Just think if you hadn’t participated, you probably wouldn’t have achieved half of what you did.

Top tip of all though – ENJOY THE RIDE!

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