What’s NaNoWriMo? + Tips To Stay on Track

Big news.

national novel writing month

I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month! I’ve wanted to write a book since I started reading from the classic literature section at age 12. Writing is what led me to start this blog, and while I love my how-to posts and tips and tricks, I want to stretch my creativity to a new project.


Don’t worry, I’ll still be blogging on my normal schedule. (Monday’s and Thursday’s, HOLLA!) However, I’ll be doing a lot more writing. 1,667 words is the goal for each day to be exact!

national novel writing month

So, what is National Novel Writing Month? (Or NaNoWriMo for short and fun.)

National Novel Writing Month is dedicated to the month of November, and this is when aspiring novelists all over the world come together and commit to one whole month of working on their novel each day.

If you’re someone who likes a good kick in the butt, this is for you. I often find that I can stick to something if it’s for a short period of time. If I know I need to do 30 sit-ups every day for 30 days, I can do that a lot better than just trying to say “I should do more sit-ups.” See what I mean?

For NaNoWriMo, each person gets to work on their own piece. It could be a YA novel, a memoir, an encyclopedia on cats, or a collection of poetry. It’s whatever your heart desires!

A novel as long as The Great Gatsby is 50,000 words, so that’s why the goal of 1,667 words a day stands. (That’s about 4 pages double spaced….wow.) However, feel free to set your own goal. Maybe you’re looking to write something a little smaller like a little self-help pamphlet or a children’s book. Adjust your daily goal accordingly!

  national novel writing month

Are there rules?

Not rules per se, but there’s a typical way about things. We’ve already covered the “1,667 words a day” thing, but what else? Well, one “rule” if you want to be particular is, NO EDITING. And this is hard. (From what I’ve heard.) The way I’m trained, I edit after every draft. “Write hot, edit cold” is what has been drilled into me from my early days of creative writing to my upper level college courses in copywriting. But for NaNoWriMo, just write hot! You won’t be able to meet your goal if you self-edit. Save that for December!

Do I have to show people what I’m writing?

Nope! Totally up to you! I’ll be sharing a couple excerpts and teasers over on my Tumblr blog. However, I don’t have an exact timeline for the completion of this novel (or really any real, tangible direction if we’re being honest), so I won’t be airing it out for everyone to see at this point in time. I’m part of a writing club and I will be taking my pieces there to be critiqued every couple weeks or so. I also am participating in write-ins with my writing club where we meet together in a coffee house and just sit and work on our novels.

If you’d like to see if there’s a writing group in your area, I highly suggest doing a search on Meetup.com (not sponsored, just have had a great expereince) or checking your university’s Registered Student Organizations (club) databases to see if there’s something that would be good for you to join.

national novel writing month

How do I stay on track for National Novel Writing Month?

Hold yourself accountable

Put a sticky note on your mirror, your laptop, or your fridge reminding yourself that you need to write! I’ve got it plugged into my Erin Condren agenda at least a million times, because I know I check that every day.

Do it with a friend

Like I said, I’m part of a writing group that meets every other week, so I have plenty of people who are in the same boat as I am. We can get together, talk about our writing, get critiques from each other, and just keep each other motivated. Maybe reach out to other bloggers, friends that you know enjoy writing, or again, search for a writing group near you.

Find a spot you love to write in

I have a couple. For me, I feel most creative and comfortable in either a library or a quiet coffeeshop. I have my favorites around where I live and they are all within a 10 minute drive of my place, so I don’t feel like I have to go totally out of my way to go there and write for a bit. And since I always have my laptop and charger on me, I can always head there after class and just get an hour or two of writing in. Find your spot!

Read from your favorite author for good motivation

Recently, I decided to watercolor one of my favorite quotes from Sylvia Plath, a writer I really admire for her bravery and beautiful words. I have it hanging in my apartment now, and when I read it, I’m reminded of how wonderful it is to create beautiful works that can inspire others. I also love to read, and always have books in my bookshelf from some of my other favorite authors like Sarah Dessen and Maggie Stiefvater.

Track your progress on the website

Go to nanowrimo.org to track your progress, connect with other writers, and maybe even win a prize! It’s free to make an account and the site is super easy to navigate.

Will you be participating in National Novel Writing Month? I’d love to hear your goals!



  • I think its great that your participating this year! I’ve always wanted to write some sort of book but never have any ideas! haha

  • I’m impressed- I tried writing a ‘book’ in ninth grade using this and totally gave up after a week of only writing three pages! This takes a ton of commitment and mental strength (lol) but I believe in you!
    xo, Hannah

  • I love this so much, you go girl!! PS- love that journal. Keep at it! <3

  • This is so cool! I wish I knew about it earlier. Next year I am totally joining in! I have been on and off writing my novel for too many years now haha

    Rachel | The Confused Millennial

  • I’ve never heard of this before, but sounds amazing!

  • This sounds awesome to do and be apart of! Definitely an awesome thing if you like writing!

  • I’ve always heard a lot about this thing but never looked into the specifics. It is so awesome! I also love that you’re in a writing club. I’ve always loved to write but I haven’t written anything creative (I guess blog posts are creative but I mean like, short stories) since I was in elementary school. I wrote a story in Microsoft Word on this clunky, old laptop (that didn’t even have an internet connection) that I know ended up being over 20 pages single spaced. That was a lot of writing for an elementary schooler! But then the hard drive was wiped and I lost EVERYTHING. I cannot even remember what the story was about and it makes me so sad! I’d do anything to go back and read that story lol. This was totally off topic but your post made me think about it!

    Kayla | kaylablogs.com

  • You go girl! Can’t wait to hear about your experience at the end of the month and good luck!


  • I’ve always wanted to write a book too but coming up with a topic is the hardest bit! I looked at your Tumblr and read your latest excerpt, seems like you’re off to a great start. Good luck hun! x

  • You rock it girl!!! Cant wait to hear about your experience!!

  • I admire you so much for this. Good luck with your writing!

    Greta | http://www.gretahollar.com

  • I’m so excited for you to participate! Like you, I’ve always wanted to write a book, but I quickly learned that fiction was NOT for me. I’m now slowly, but surely working on a cookbook and I agree – it’s so fun to just let your creative juices flow!

  • Thank you for explaining how NaNoWriMo works! I’ve been wondering for ever! I won;t be doing it this year, but maybe in the years to come! I have always loved the idea of having my name on a book that I wrote!

    Caitlyn | http://www.collegewithcaitlyn.com

  • Elana L. Gross

    I’m thinking of writing a book too. That’s such an impressive number of words per day. Also your planner is soooo organized!

  • I’ve always wanted to write a novel! Maybe i’ll participate now!

  • I know a few ladies who have participated in this, and they’ve said it’s quite hard! But, these tips would certainly help them out 🙂

  • Ah, if I didn’t already have a billion things on my plate at the moment, I would definitely join! XO