How to have a successful NaNoWriMo experience

NaNoWriMo, the annual National Novel Writing Month challenge, starts Nov 1st. Are you ready? We have advice for how to have a successful NaNoWriMo experience - not only how to win or survive NaNoWriMo, but how to have a positive experience. Perfect for writers who are new to NaNoWriMo, or to those who have tried NaNo and aren't sure if it's for them. Click through to read it!

NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) is coming, and starting November 1st, scores of writers will start writing in an attempt to "win" NaNo and write a minimum of 50,000 words (a novel).

It's called a challenge for a reason. Writing 50k in one month is hard. It requires dedication, time, and writers who are new to writing might struggle with basic novel-writing concepts that can make the challenge much easier if you're familiar with them (and nearly impossible if you're not).

But today we're not here to tell you how to "win" NaNoWriMo. Today, we want to talk about how to have a positive, successful NaNoWriMo experience - whether or not you write 50k.

1. Set YOUR goal.

Goals are great, but only if they are tailor-made for you. Perhaps writing 50k in a month is a reasonable, achievable goal for you. If it's not, that is 100% okay. Don't waste time feeling guilty, instead put your energy into finding a goal that works best for you.

Could you aim to write 100 words a day? Or 2,000 words a week? Or maybe you're in revisions. Could you revise two pages a day? 

Think deliberately about you want to accomplish, what works best for how you work, and what is doable. You'll be more likely to reach your goal, and you'll avoid feeling crummy for not hitting the arbitrary 50k.

Curly McGee (G. Myrthil)

NaNoWriMo is a little too much for me, but I had a great Camp NaNoWriMo experience last year. (Camp NaNoWriMo is usually in April and July, and instead of writing 50K words in a month, you set our own word count goal.) I was able to complete my goal of 25K new words in a month. What helped me was the accountability and being part of a larger group all working toward our goals together, all while cheering each other on. It also helped me to be able to set a daily word count goal I felt confident I could hit.

Which is a great way to dive into tip #2:

2. Get engaged.

NaNoWriMo isn't an exclusive club. You can benefit from the community no matter what you want to accomplish during November. During NaNoWriMo, Twitter BUZZES with writers looking for accountability (writing buddies), commiseration, and friendly chatter. You can also add buddies on your NaNoWriMo profile. It's a great time to connect with other writers and make new friends. Use the *amazing* energy to achieve your goals.

3. Just WRITE.

Write daily, or on every weekday. Write in the evenings, or the mornings. Use the month to WRITE, and you might learn something about yourself. Ignore everything except for what you want to accomplish, and then ... start writing.

Jas Ketch, Siren of the Seychelles (Kris F. Oliver)

Not to steal a catchphrase but… Just. Do. It. You will surprise yourself with how many words you can get down on a page if you just make yourself write every day. Don’t get hung up on “winning”. Don’t compare yourself to others. Just do want you wanted to do in the first place…and WRITE.

Now we'd love to hear from you: Will you be doing NaNoWriMo this month? If you're new, tell us about what you'll be working on! If you're a veteran, what's one piece of advice you'd give to first time NaNo participants?