Make sure your writing space is set up before you start

Yesterday I started a new writing adventure. It wasn’t just a new novel, it was a completely new path.  I started NaNoWriMo – a kind of crazy name for a kind of crazy activity.

For the month of November, I have committed to writing a 50,000 word novel. You see it’s National Novel Writing Month and that’s where the NaNoWriMo comes from.

When I first heard people talking about it, I thought they were talking about some kind of horned beast (rhino). Little did I know that I was about to embark on something that’s both exciting and terrifying at the same time.

I know I can write 50,000 words in a month…I did it on my May Gibbs adventure, but that was when I had no other work or family commitments…in fact I was totally focussed on getting the novel written.

A great view from your 'writing' window always helps

And I never told anyone my goals or what I expected to achieve in that time. But with NaNoWriMo, it’s out there…everyone knows that I am going to try and write 50,000 words this month and if I fail…I guess they will know that too.

So, this is what I’ve decided. None of that matters – this is my goal and it’s up to me. Whatever I achieve in the month of November will be the best I can do.


I’m cheating a bit because I haven’t actually completed Nano so I don’t know how it’s going to turn out. All I know is that I’m going to enjoy the adventure and that I’ve done a number of things to help my chances of succeeding. So here are my tips:

  1. Join a group called NaNoWriMo warriors http://www.facebook.com/home.php?sk=group_111157412281395&id=114178398645963 There you will find like minded people; writers facing the same challenge; people who want you to succeed – and they’ll have lots of links on how to plan your novel and how you can make this work.
  2. Planning ahead works for me

    Plan in advance – I have. My novel is set in The Great Sandy Desert so I’ve spent hours researching; finding out exactly who or what lives in the desert and what kind of threats they can pose to my characters. I don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in the novel yet, because some of that will depend on what my characters do and where they decide to take my story.

  3. Interview your main characters and find out who they are so that these people are in your head when you start writing; so you know how they will think or react; what will motivate or inspire them.
  4. Set up a spread sheet to record your daily words.
  5. Don’t stress – if I achieve my 50,000 words I’ll be ecstatic, but if I don’t, it won’t be the end of the world – I will still be part way towards writing a novel – and as far as I’m concerned, ANY writing is an achievement.
  6. Don’t get hung up on how other people are working or if they have written more words than you. Every writer is different and works in different ways – some have more time on weekends, some don’t.
  7. Make sure your workspace is comfortable and permanent – so you don’t have to keep clearing room every time you sit down to write.

Have fun…embrace the experience. You wouldn’t climb Mt Everest unless you had a passion for mountains.

Enjoy your writing adventures. I know I’m going to enjoy NaNoWriMo…and I’ll keep you posted about my progress.

If you’ve done NaNoWriMo, I’d love to hear how it worked for you. Or if you’ve had or are embarking on another sort of writing adventure, feel free to leave your comments and tips.

Happy writing:)


P.S. My word count for day one (yesterday) was 5,030 words. I hope I can keep the  pace up. Wish me luck:)



  1. Hello!
    Just posting to say I too am doing NaNo. This is my second year, last year was my first. I did win last year but have not finished that story yet. Your tips are helpful though I admit that I don’t plan ahead other than to figure out what I want to write about. I will have to try to keep a written track of how much I write each day, then I won’t get so worried.
    Also, I’m curious as to where you live since it’s Nov 2 for you but today is Nov 1st for me XD (it’s 5pm as of this posting).
    Good luck on your writing!

  2. Thanks, Lucky.

    Congratulations on your win last year and good luck with your 2010 NaNo. I’m in Australia so it’s 8.52am here.

    Everyone writes differently and some people work well without a plan, but I find it works best for me.

    Hope you have a great NaNo writing day:)


  3. Hi Vicki,

    So great to see you have joined the Warriors. 1700 words is excellent. Sometimes I think I need to pace myself. Off to a flying start on day 1, but now I’m sagging a bit:)

    Good luck with NaNo. Look forward to chatting online.


  4. You know how I feel about 50,000 words. Impossible for me. Amazed that so many people can line up to write that many in a month. I’ll still with my PiBoIdMo challenge, thankyou! 🙂

    PS Thanks for sharing your tips on my blog today.

  5. Hi Kat,

    We writers are all different and you know how much I admire your skills and talents. I have really been enjoying your Performing for Children blog posts and was glad I could participate.

    Good luck with your PiBoldMo challenge.


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