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How to Guarantee #NaNoWriMo Success

October 24, 2017


Note From Rochelle


Dear Readers,


Will you finish your dream project by the end of the year or will you still be wondering how to find the time? Do you have someone in your corner, reminding you how much the world needs your message? If you need tools, encouragement, and accountability, consider joining my fall group coaching program. I’ve set aside time on Monday, October 30th and Tuesday, October 31st to talk with you about it, so schedule your time at my consultation page.


And don’t forget to check out the Write-A-Thon Group Coaching page to learn more.


Today’s tip will help you succeed at NaNoWriMo!





How to Guarantee #NaNoWriMo Success

by Rochelle Melander


Guarantee? Really?



Take the following three steps to guarantee you will finish National Novel Writing Month a winner!



Schedule time

This might seem like a no-brainer. Obviously, anyone who’s planning to do NaNoWriMo will set aside enough time to write 50,000 words in a month. But how much time is enough time? According to the planning fallacy, even if we know how long it usually takes us to complete a task, we will underestimate the time it will take to complete future tasks. The fix? Schedule the time you think you will need to complete your novel and then add more.


Understand your characters

Are you a plotter or pantser? Plotters plan out the scenes in their novels, pantsers fly by the seat of their pants. The saying comes from aviation. One can fly a plane two ways: using one’s instruments or using one’s instincts. Most writers feel most comfortable with one or the other method. That’s fine. But if you’re going to succeed at NaNoWriMo, you need to know this:

The who. Name and define your characters. In addition to knowing the details about who they are and what they look like, you must decide:

+What each character believes about themselves and the world.

+What each character wants and what is keeping them from getting it.


These two decisions will provide action and dialogue when you have no plot.


According to Lisa Cron,


“Story is about an internal struggle, not an external one. It’s about what the protagonist has to learn, to overcome, to deal with internally in order to solve the problem that the external plot poses. … This is why you have to know everything there is to know about the protagonist’s specific internal problem before you create the plot, and why this knowledge will then, with astonishing speed, begin to generate the plot itself.” (Story Genius by Lisa Cron)


Note to nonfiction writers:

I haven’t forgotten you. Some of you will create a thorough outline before the month starts while other will simply have a list of topics to write about. Both of these plans will work. To guarantee your success, consider why your book will matter to your readers. What purpose will your book serve in their lives? How will your book transform them? Knowing this information will help you show up to your desk every single day and write!


Get accountable

Who cares if you complete your NaNoWriMo words each day? What will happen if you fall behind? For most of us, the answer is no one and nothing. And when nothing is at stake, it’s easy to put off the task until tomorrow, or next month, or never.


If you want to succeed, you need to be accountable to someone. According to psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, author of the book Better Than Perfect: 7 Steps to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love, letting other people know we’re doing something big like NaNoWriMo motivates us to actually do it. Why? Because we want to look good for our friends—so we tend to do the tasks we publicly commit to.


So how can you use information to rock NaNoWriMo?

+Register with NaNoWriMo, find writing buddies, and post your daily numbers.

+Post the NaNoWriMo badge on your social media profiles, state your commitment to write a book in a month, and keep your friends updated on your progress.

+Find an accountability partner or group to meet with regularly throughout the month.


If you need help strategizing how you can succeed at NaNoWriMo, I’m opening up my schedule on Thursday afternoon for one-on-one introductory calls.


And don’t forget, I have a writing group starting just in time for National Novel Writing Month!



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