10 Good Reasons To Do NaNoWriMo – TUESDAY WRITING TIP

That's me on the first camel. Camel riding is such a blast:) Amazing animals.

I confess that I’m a NaNoWriMo convert. I know that NaNoWriMo has been going for a while now and I used to wonder what all the fuss was about.

This year I took the plunge and decided to participate for the first time, and I haven’t regretted a minute of it. So I thought I’d share with you the TEN THINGS that NaNoWriMo has done for me.

Deadlines motivate – Last week I (blog url) mentioned about how easy it is to get distracted from your writing. NaNoWriMo has helped me to make my writing a priority again. It gave me a deadline to meet. It is a definite thing – not like the usual “I’m writing this book hoping that it will be published some years in the future.” When you don’t have a definite deadline to write to (ie your book has been scheduled for publication 12 months from now…I wish LOL) it can be good to have your own definite deadline to work to.

Forces you to make time for your writing – The group I am in, NaNoWriMo Warriors holds Word Wars at the same time every day. This is where you write for an hour and there are writers all around the world doing the same thing and at the end of the allotted time, you compare your word counts. It’s really fun and it doesn’t matter who wins – the idea is just to get you writing. And it gets you into a routine of writing at the same time every day – of setting aside time to write in your busy schedule.

Gets you to commit to a great idea that may have been lurking inside your head for a long time. I’ve had an idea for my story for about six years. I had a couple of false starts, but nothing I was happy with. NaNoWriMo made me commit to developing this idea further – and even though my first draft is pretty rough, it’s all there – out of my head and on paper.

Reminds you of who your competition really is. Sometimes it feels as if every second person you meet, even the celebrities (who I don’t actually get to meet) is writing a book and you are competing against all of them to get your book out there. It’s easy to become despondent. NaNoWriMo reminds you that the only person you are competing against is yourself – that your story is unique and that nobody else can tell it like you can.

Helps banish your internal editor. Most people have probably done free writing at some stage – you know where you get to write for 10 or 15 minutes and you have to keep writing without stopping and you come up with some really random thoughts – but some of them are amazing. That’s what NaNoWriMo did for me. It freed my thinking – gave me permission to just keep writing and worry about the rest later.

Puts routine into your writing. I found with NaNoWriMo it was best to try and stick with a regular goal. If you write 1700 words a day, you will have 51,000 words by the end of a month – pretty amazing, hey? Now if you are preening and polishing every word as you go, it’s going to be pretty hard to get the word counts you need. But if you don’t edit along the way, 50,000 words is more easily achievable than you might think and you’ll be amazed at how much your story moves forward if you don’t keep going back to change it.

As I’m writing, things pop into my head all the time about how the story needs fixing or developing in the next draft, but I just make notes in the margin and go back to it at the end.

Brings you out of your lonely garret. You get to network with other writers through forums and chats on the NaNoWriMo site and by joining other groups like the Facebook group, NaNoWriMo Warriors.

A worldwide experience. You get to connect with people from all over the world and find out about international publishing trends. It’s really cool to be waking up and starting your work just as someone in some other part of the world is going to bed. It’s like having the writing baton passed to you.

You have support. When you’re home alone looking at the blank screen of your computer, and the words won’t come, it’s easy to just walk away and say, “I’ll try again tomorrow.”

But if you join a worldwide NaNoWriMo group you’ll find someone online almost 24/7 with words of encouragement and brainstorming ideas to help you get over the rough patches. I worked for years as an advertising copywriter for an agency and I have to say there’s nothing like having another creative mind to bounce ideas off to spark your own inspiration.

Acknowledges that your writing is important. Whether you get to 50,000 words or not, just being involved in NaNoWriMo is a great achievement.

Just participating in Nano has forced you to make a commitment to your writing. And that has to be a good thing, doesn’t it?

Next week on Tuesday Writing Tips, I’ll be giving my 10 best tips to carry on after NaNoWriMo – to use the skills, inspiration and contacts you’ve acquired to keep the words flowing in the future.

I’d really love to hear about your NaNoWriMo experience in the comments section of this post, and how it has helped you with your writing.


Today’s post is dedicated to the NaNoWriMo writers around the world.

I am pleased to report that I am on target to reach my 50,000 words by the end of the month. I kind of knew it was achievable already seeing as I’d written 56,000 words for my month long May Gibbs Fellowship.

I hope you are all on target, and if you’re not, it really doesn’t matter. To me, NaNoWriMo is all about the journey, and if you achieve your word goal then that’s just an added bonus.

For me, NaNoWriMo is valuable on so many levels. For a start, it has brought some discipline back to my writing. How easy is it to “not write today” because you’re too busy? How easy is to be distracted by kids, work, school, elephants playing on the front lawn, a fly crawling up the window? Anything, really.

Some days at my house over the past couple of weeks have been so chaotic that I wonder where I’ll find time to brush my teeth, let alone write the 1700 words required each day.

Then a beep in my inbox reminds me I have mail – a notification from a moderator that the next Word War is about to start (Don’t panic; that’s “Word” not “World”)

Word Wars are something you can do with your own writer friends. Set a time, and write as much as you can for an hour. You can write a lot more than you think in that time. The thing about a Word War is that you commit to write at the same time every day; you commit to write with other writers; you commit to write full stop.

To start with, you might sit there looking at a blank screen, but I find that the pressure of a time constraint spurs me on. If the words don’t come, drag them out kicking and screaming. Later, you can decide they’re worth keeping. To me, writing is what matters – getting your manuscript to the publishable stage is editing – it’s something that holds you back. I never try ti get it right first time, I just try for words on paper – and the more words I get, the more that seem to come.

Every day I participate in at least one Word War and I average around 1500 words. Imagine doing this for a month and seeing how many words you have by the end. For me, this has been not just about bringing back discipline, but also about cutting my writing into manageable pieces. I don’t have to allow myself seven hours a day to write – so much can be achieved in a single hour – or even half that time.

Okay, I confess. There have been many times over the last couple of weeks when the words have not flowed smoothly. When in spite of a detailed plotline, I have thought “where to from here?”  I’ve had to do more research to take the story to the next step – and that has been loads of fun too. Last week I discovered how to saddle a camel, how to light fires without matches, how to cook and eat termites – and even what they taste like (woody carrots – apparently)

So if there are two things I’m learning from NaNoWriMo it’s to cut your writing time into portions that are manageable for you, and to be disciplined in your writing – even ten minutes a day is better than nothing.

And if you can’t write, sit down and do it anyway. Drag those words kicking and screaming onto the page. Don’t let them defeat you.

I hope your NaNoWriMo novels are going well and even if they’re not, try and work through the dark days and keep going.

If you have any tips or stories about your NaNoWriMo experience, I’d love to share them with my blog readers. Feel free to tell us your NaNo tips and troubles in the comments section of this blog.

Happy writing:)


P.S. The pics in this post, will give you a hint of what my NaNo novel is about.


If you’re doing NaNoWriMo like me, you are probably feeling the pressure of having to produce words on demand. Tomorrow’s post at DeeScribe Writing is all about not letting those words defeat you. Fight back!

Drag them kicking and screaming onto the page and worry about shaping them later. That’s what I’ll be talking about tomorrow at https://deescribewriting.wordpress.com

Hope you can join me then and I’d love to hear about your NaNoWriMo adventure.

Happy writing:)



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:)