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How to Succeed at #NaNoWriMo

November 1, 2022



Note From Rochelle


Dear Writers,


overcome procrastinationI need your help!

I am teaching a life-changing class on overcoming procrastination: Overcoming Procrastination and Fear to Write.

But we have just a few people signed up to attend. Please take a moment to grab the link and share it with a friend via email or with your social media following:

Here’s what you need to know about the class. If you procrastinate, it’s not because you’re lazy. It’s not genetic. It’s not a personal fault.

It’s probably due to something you experienced in childhood—and now you feel anxious when it comes to doing stuff like writing. So you avoid it. EFT will help you manage those emotions and get stuff done. Think about signing up to learn more. The class will be recorded.


Today’s tip will help you succeed at #NaNo!


Happy writing,

Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach


How to Succeed at #NaNoWriMo

(or any writing project)

By Rochelle Melander


Now that #NaNo has started, it’s time to get ready for the month of writing dangerously! Here are a few tips to help you prepare for the month:


Say no

Cancel everything you absolutely do not have to do. Do not add any extra events—no dinner parties, book group meetings, coffee dates, or shopping excursions. NaNoWriMo is your extra thing this month.



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.


Pro Tip: You may not be able to write every day. That’s okay. But do try to LOOK at your book every day. Take five, ten or fifteen minutes to write a note about a character, imagine what happens next, or describe your setting. It’ll keep your head in the game and make it easier to write when you do have time.


Plan for emergencies

No doubt you are already worrying about the “what ifs” in your head. What if I get sick? What if I run out of steam? What if I have to pull an extra shift at work? Instead of wondering, make a plan. What will you do if something happens mid-month to interrupt your writing time? Some writers load up on extra words during the first week so that they can take a few days off for Thanksgiving. Others put in marathon days on weekends so that they can be available for work or family emergencies during the week. Do what works for you.


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 do it. Why? Because we want to look good for our friends—so we tend to do the tasks we publicly commit to.


What’s your secret tip to succeeding at NaNo? Leave a comment below!



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