NaNoWriMo Writing Tips

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Have you heard of National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo? Participants from all over the world pledge to write a 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days during the month of November.

Every year I attempt this feat, but fizzle out about halfway through the month. However, this year I plan on actually completing this task. I am a mother of a toddler and I work outside of the home full-time so it won’t be easy, but with a plan, I can make it work. 

If you are like me and want to participate in NaNoWriMo (or just want to get into the habit of writing more), check out my tips for writing during the month of November. I’ll check back in at the end of the month to share my progress. 

1. Have an Accountability Partner

My first year participating in NanoWriMo was my senior year of high school. A very good friend of mine told me about it and we both agreed to cheer each other on. Even though I didn’t complete the 50,000 words, I was more likely to write because I knew someone else was in the same boat as me. Even all these years later, I will be writing alongside another good friend this November.

2. Make a Plan to Write

We’ve all heard the expression “don’t break promises to yourself” and this is the same principle. You won’t get any writing done if you don’t sit down to actually write. Start with a rough outline of what you’d like to write then try to write every day. Even if it’s just five minutes in the school pick-up line or on your lunch break, try to make writing a habit. 

3. Ask for Help

When we take on a challenge such as this, other things we usually do may fall by the wayside. That’s OK. Sometimes the dishes won’t get done and dinner might be a frozen pizza. Call on family, friends, or others if you can to help pick up the slack. Most of the time, the people who love you will support your endeavor in any way that they can. 

4. Don’t Reach for Perfection… Reach for Consistency

The first draft of anything is never award winning. The point of NanoWriMo isn’t to write a perfect draft in 30 days. It’s simply to write for those 30 days. If you skip a day or write a crappy sentence, that’s OK. It’s part of the process. If I got wrapped up in making every piece perfect from the start, I would never get any writing done. Get the words out, then worry about the rest. 

5. Have Fun With It

While the act of writing isn’t always easy or fun, participating in writing challenges should never take away the joy of the writing process. If I spend the next month miserable and stressed, I’m doing it wrong. Try not to take the word count too seriously. So what if I don’t make it to the end? At least I will write more than I usually do. 

So there you have it! That’s how I am going to make it through writing 50,000 words in 30 days. Let us know if you are participating too! What are your tips and tricks?

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Kelsey Arender is a Lexington native who fell in love with her work in libraries in 2012. Prior to her recent career change, you could find her at the public library's children department. Now, she happily works in a middle school library. On the weekends, Kelsey and her husband, William, enjoy watching reruns of their favorite TV shows, attending church, and reading with their one-year-old daughter. Kelsey's favorite things include endless mugs of coffee, cozy sweaters, rainy days, and laughing with friends. She may be an introvert but if you start a conversation about personality types, toddlers, or hygge, you'll make a fast friend. You can find her hanging on Instagram at @we_all_get_sleepy.

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