Surviving and Thriving: Part 1 NaNoWriMoTips


In my post on my planning process for novels I shared how I got ready for National Novel Writing Month. I went through all the steps, and now, each day, I sit at my keyboard and turn over the next in my set of 40 scene cards. If I were on target, I should have had at least 5001 words by the end of today. That number means 10% done, folks! And I am almost 20% done! Yay!

So I did my prep. What about now? What are my “secrets” to surviving, dare I say thriving in, NaNoWriMo, the “month of literary abandon”, again this year?

Though there are hundreds of NaNo tips on the web and at the NaNoWriMo site, for some reason, NaNo participants can’t seem to get enough feedback about what to try in order to finish the month with a nascent book in hand.

So, here I am to take a whack at it for you, too. What DO I do in November so I am likely to produce a short novel at the end of it?

Tips to Surviving and Thriving during National Novel Writing Month
1) I have to be committed to the project. I always let blog readers choose the novel I write, but they choose from book descriptions I’m going to write anyway. If I don’t love it, it won’t happen.

2) I track my progress. I use a spreadsheet to track daily targets and weekly targets (when I started, how long I wrote, how many writing episodes, word count, etc.). At the NaNo site I upload my words each day and they have neat graphics to help monitor progress, too.

3) I plan meals all the time, but even more so for NaNo. I plan simpler meals that take little attention. As I said to one the WOSisters recently, the slow cooker is the real “Mother’s Little Helper.”

4) Though not an eater while writing, I keep candies close by to suck on if I need a rush. And coffee. Always a mug nearby. Oh, and chocolate.

5) I don’t do Pinterest or other social media other than Facebook and Twitter during November. They can wait a month.

6) I cut back on blogging. I have three blogs where I post each week. Here’s how I’ve managed in the past:

a) solicit guest posters before November and schedule them in so they go live on the day without anything needed from me.

b) write ahead and schedule my posts to go live on the day.

c) post popular old articles, identifying it as such.

d) go on hiatus in November, not posting at all, but with a note as to why I won’t be there.

7) I cut back on Twitter. Normally, I tweet 8-10 items 3 times a day for each of my 3 accounts. I’ll do the math for you. I tweet between 72-90 items a day total. And I am a generous re-tweeter. During NaNo, I cut back to tweeting once a day with 5-8 tweets per account (15-24 total tweets). It takes me 15 minutes to do that. I don’t retweet as much, either.

8) I cut back on Facebook, checking in before I start in the morning, after I am done writing for the day, and once for a 25-minute Pomodoro® mid-day when I tweet.

Next week, I’ll share the remaining seven tips that keep me on track with National Novel Writing Month. It is do-able. Every year about 13% of those who start do finish. Will you be one? Hope to see you there!

Author: Sharon Arthur Moore

Sharon Arthur Moore is an intrepid cook, who has lived in every region of the country except the Pacific Northwest and loved every single one of them.

2 thoughts on “Surviving and Thriving: Part 1 NaNoWriMoTips”

  1. I wish I were in that mode this month instead of finishing the research on another book, but I don’t want to get in the habit of abandoning one project for another. I fear i’d never finish anything.

    1. I do know what you mean, Faithann (I hope I got your name right). Research is so demanding that hours melt away. One thing to consider next year is to set aside some time every day for NaNo writing, not expecting yourself to complete the 50K challenge. If you only finished 25K that month, you would have jumpstarted a novel. That’s winning, too!

      However, I am one of the weird ones who has to work on multiple projects simultaneously. It’s a blessing in that I never have writer’s block. If one piece won’t play nice, I just go on to another! LOL

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