How To Beat NaNoWriMo

7:00 AM


I bet you clicked on this thinking you'd get help for surviving NaNoWriMo 2015.

You thought wrong.



It comes around once a year. The dreaded and/or beloved (usually both) NaNoWriMo. You probably heard about it at some time in your writerly life and thought, "those people are insane."

And then you joined anyway because why not.


As a writer, I love NaNo. I live for NaNo. It takes forever and then all of a sudden October rolls around and you realize that next month is the month. NaNo month. A month of typing and wrist injuries and chocolate and coffee and too many words and a story you'll hate halfway through and countless word wars with people just as sleepy as you are and celebrating and crying. You're writing 50k in a month. You have to be a special kind of person to look at that and volunteer, not to mention spend the rest of the year waiting for November to come back. 

I've done NaNo three years in a row and won two of them, so I'm pretty experienced with the way this insanity works. So whether you're a first-time NaNo-er or you failed last year or you've done it before but you're still rightly nervous because you know what you're getting into, I'm here to give you a quick pep-talk on how to get out of the wild ride that is NaNoWriMo alive and sane. 

Actually, no I'm not. That's not going to happen. 

1. CRY. 
There will be tears by the time NaNo is over. It's inevitable. Brace yourself for it, stock up on tissues and chocolate, and don't be shocked when it happens. Excited now? Don't worry. That'll all pass soon. 


2. LOVE THAT STORY 
Because trust me, you're going to want to hate it somewhere around Day 16 when your plot is in a thousand broken pieces around your shoes. 

You will need chocolate for this also.

3. DON'T BOTHER PLANNING
Just type. Any plan you have will inevitably go the wrong way, so you might as well just wing it and have more fun. (I say this as an extreme panster so everything I plan tends to screw up anyway, but whatever.) 


4. CRY WITH YOUR FRIENDS 
They'll be feeling the same pain, trust me. Stick with your buddies through this difficult time and most of you will probably emerge from your Word documents at the end of the month. 

5. MAKE TIME
Yes, 50k is a lot to write in one month. 

That time isn't going to come out of nowhere. Wake up early. Stay up late. Write during any breaks you might have. Make it happen. I'm not a fan of waiting for inspiration to strike in any kind of writing anytime, but this especially applies now. Sit down and write daily. Make it a thing. 


6. DON'T. EDIT. 
Hello, fellow perfectionists. 

DON'T DO THE THING. 

7. GO INSANE 
It's going to happen by Day 20 anyway, so you might as well let it happen when it happens. Write away. Don't worry about that sanity of yours, or what people will say when they find you talking to yourself -- excuse me, your characters. 


8. GET RID OF THAT SOCIAL LIFE 
This is my final point and hahaha, it doesn't even matter, because NaNo itself will take care of this little problem. You'll be stumbling out of your room at the end of November, blinking at the sunlight and saying hi to the people who knew you before because they hardly remember your face. 


To sum it up: NaNo is awesome. 

And there are no survivors. 

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? 

36 comments

  1. YEP. TOTALLY. Actually, I did Camp NaNo and it wasn't super terrifying, mainly because I wasn't even censoring anything that came out of my fingers. Even random notes to self was counted, so that definitely helped XD And writing is always a love/hate relationship with the story, isn't it?

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    1. I loveeee Camp NaNo too, even though it has a more casual feel. NaNo is the greatest. xD

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  2. I'm trying to decide whether I'm going to participate, actually. In fact, part of my deciding involves deciding whether it's too late to decide.
    I do have a few story ideas, vague though they may be, up on my magnet board waiting for me to start working on (read: stop obsessing over my current WIP) that I've been considering doing for NaNo. I've never done it before and I really want to take a shot at it, I'm just not sure I want to take any lengthy breaks from working on my current story, since I've actually been making some headway lately. I'll probably decide on October 31st. xD

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    1. Aww, I would say that you should totally go for it but that's me. :P This is the first year I *haven't* waited until the last second to choose which novel I'm going to write; usually I dive right into something random.

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  3. I've never done NaNo because I'm... very distracted. And bad at making time. And I cry really easily under lots of stress. That being said, I've definitely considered trying it (which just goes to show how much I ignore self-preservation), but the fact that I'm a slow writer usually wins out. If I write anything in under a month, IT IS AWFUL. I applaud you and everyone who does this because you are basically superheroes.

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    1. Hahaha it's really a lot to do in one month xD

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  4. Ahh NaNoWriMo is in 11 DAYS! How is this happening? This is my 3rd NaNoWriMo as well (though the first year I kind of stopped after 7,000 words), but this is my first year trying for 50k. Let the craziness begin. Alea is ready(ish).

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    1. Yessss we've got this! :D (My first year didn't last long either.)

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  5. I'm laughing, because this is a horrible way to get people who are trying for 50k excited for NaNo, but all us people who've already done it know that it's entirely true.
    I love this post. xD

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    1. I was going to write something helpful and motivational, and then I realized that hey, everyone's going that so I might as well do what I'm best at and be honest. xD

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  6. The fact that I am sad that I cant participate this year, I really am crazy.

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  7. This is my first year participating in NaNoWriMo, and any other 'NaNo' things. I did both camps earlier in the year. So fun and stressful and it actually forced me to be productive. But, needless to say, I'm so excited about it. However... HOW DO YOU ACCOMPLISH SCHOOL AND WRITING LIKE HOW. Goodbye, social life and reading time.

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    1. I DON'T EVEN KNOW. o.o I haven't gotten much writing done lately so we'll see how I manage NaNo. xD

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  8. I wish I could do NaNo this year, and partake in the tragic awesomeness, BUT I'M THE BUSIEST IN NOVEMBER. *flails* And I'm too practical and am not going to do NaNo. And that third gif. My battle cry.

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    1. Aw, NaNo is so much fun. But I understand being busy.

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  9. I've been considering doing NaNoWriMo for the first time this year, because most of what I read about it was that it was super cool and helpful and awesome and all these brilliant things to help your writing and your writing skills and THEN THERE WAS THIS POST.

    I hope you can sleep at night knowing that you have THOROUGHLY TERRIFIED one new little NaNo person.

    But regardless, this post was hilarious.

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    1. Hahaha, I guess I could have been helpful, but I'm a brutally honest person. :P BUT YOU CAN DO THIS HAVE COURAGE.

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  10. I don't think I'll be participating in Nano officially, but I do have a couple of projects that I want to get to work on, and November sounds like as good a time as any to start. Even though I don't plan on writing a whole novel in a month, a love the motivation to just sit down and write that Nano brings. Plus, it's fun to hear about everyone else's projects. Good luck!

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    1. Good luck to you, too! NaNo is motivating even if you're not doing it, I think, because the writerly energy that month runs so high.

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  11. Oh dear God, I am a first time NaNo-er and you just...MADE ME WANT TO DO IT EVEN MORE.
    I already have an idea, and though I'm the ultra pantster, I feel like I know what I'm doing. Apparently your logic explains I don't, and you're probably right xD
    Question: do you have a profile on the NaNo site? If so, here's mine: http://nanowrimo.org/participants/theacousticoctober13 (secretly my way of asking you to add me as a buddy because writing with people, like you said, is good ha ha)
    I learned about NaNo too late last year, but my Creative Writing club has got me motivated. I'm ready! (grabs laptop and zero experience).
    Let's do this!
    Loved this blog post. It's probably 100% accurate.

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  12. I've already got two plot bunnies I need to address. If I can focus on one - just one - and get it to eighty thousand three hundred words, then the goal will have been met, but I'm not making a separate story.

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    1. Actually, never mind. I'm going for it. And apparently my dad is annoyed by saying 'NanoWriMo' out loud, so bonus.

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    2. I'm sooooo excited! I've got scary stuff, and funny stuff, and summer vacation, and possibly a scary shape demon, and an entire posse of ghosts on horseback, and then a much scarier ghost in the river, and siblings and cool cars and little children and a couple of kind of teens and scary guys with sharpened branches and rock salt and it's going to be so fuuuuuun!

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  13. SO YES THIS POST IS WEIRDLY ENOUGH ONE OF THE MOST HELPFUL THINGS I'VE READ (out of like three things so maybe that doesn't mean much but oh well) *throws confetti* WE'RE GONNA DIE IN THIS THING AND IT'S GONNA BE AWESOME

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    1. YOU CAN DO THIS HAVE ALL THE CHOCOLATE AND CONFIDENCE.

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  14. I'm participating in NaNo this year. I'm so pumped! I planned and now I'm ready for the month. I have a whole system thought out to get it done officially while still making time for when I go out of town in November and Thanksgiving and a friend has become my official word war buddy and we've been training all month! I've got it in the bag this year! ^ ^

    storitorigrace.blogspot.com

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    1. Huzzah! Word wars will be extremely helpful.

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  15. I think I have step 7 down already. This is my 5th NaNo. If that doesn't qualify my for insanity then I don't know what does. And yes, step 1. All the tears of exhaustion, frustration, and just sheer despair. It gets a bit watery in my house during November. I never have enough plans in place for November, but that sheer panic of not being ready is half the fun, I swear!

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    1. Wow, so you've done this even longer than I have. xD

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  16. I'm taking part this year… I can't decide if this is a good idea or not!

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hey. hey. talk to me. i'm a fan of comments and flailing with you. go for it.