Do Not Underestimate NaNoWriMo – 5 Life-Saving Tips For Writers


  • One: My driver’s licence test. Turns out you actually have to know how to drive. Let’s just say I did it more than once.
  • Two: Any diet I have ever been on.
  • Three: NaNoWriMo. Seriously, this one kicked my butt all the way to Christmas and back.

Last year around this time I wrote a very optimistic post about this annual occurrence. (Participants in National Novel Writing Month begin writing on 1 November. The goal is to write a 50 000-word novel by 11:59:59 PM on November 30.) You can read my post here: 5 Things To Do Before NaNoWriMo Starts

What you will notice is that my suggestions were valid, but perhaps not as concrete as they could have been. I faded in week two, granted at the end, but fade I did. Anyone who has done NaNo before will warn you about the notorious week two. Anyhow, this year my preparation will be better. As I mentioned I cannot write without direction and research shows your chances of finishing increase with planning.

Before the first of November, I plan to have done the following:

  1. Identify my antagonist and my protagonist. Write bios for each.
  2. Identify the protagonist’s friend and love interest. Write bios for each. This will help with sub-plot development.
  3. For 50 000 words, I need around 40 scenes. I will plot as many as I can.
  4. Make my writing appointments for November. Put it in my calendar. Make it official.
  5. Finish as much writing work as I can before the month starts. If you are planning to enter any of the short story competitions that are due in November make sure they have been submitted before the first. November is a busy month for writing.

Write your heart out, but do not underestimate this project. Ignore all the planning if it is working, but go back when you are stuck. Good luck and start planning now.

If you want to learn how to write a book, join our Writers Write course in Johannesburg or sign up for our online course.

Mia Botha by Mia Botha

If you enjoyed this post, you will love:

  1. NaNoWriMo Calendar – Organise and Conquer!
  2. 30 NaNoWriMo Tips
  3. Don’t Get Stuck! Use Our NaNoWriMo Brainstormer Worksheet Instead

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