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The Write Now! Coach Guide to Succeeding at National Novel Writing Month 

November 3, 2020



Note From Rochelle



Dear Writers,


It’s on! National Novel Writing Month began Sunday, right along with the end of Daylight Savings Time (for most of us). You can now purchase Halloween candy at a discount. (Yay!) What’s holding you back from writing your blockbuster novel, radical self help book, or poem a day?


If you’re struggling for any reason—Hello! I’m distracted by the news!—today’s tip might help you write forward.






The Write Now! Coach Guide

to Succeeding

at National Novel Writing Month

By Rochelle Melander


Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month? Whether you are trying to write a book in a month or just crank out consistent content, you need to figure out how to get stuff done when life is distracting. A month ago, I wrote a post to support writers in defeating distraction.


But that might not be enough.


Today’s post is designed to help you navigate and win at National Novel Writing Month.


Schedule Your Writing

If you’re struggling to squeeze in your 1667-word dash between tasks, consider scheduling your writing sessions for the rest of the month. Grab your calendar and create a daily date with the computer.


Show Up

I rarely feel like doing the things I need to do—writing, exercising or even cooking dinner. Next time you get to your writing time feeling no energy for writing—do it anyway. Like inspiration, our energy for writing often appears after we begin and not before.


It might help to know that other writers have showed up during the most difficult times of their lives. Author Carol Shields wrote her last book while ill with stage four breast cancer. Barbara Kingsolver wrote her first book late at night while pregnant with her first child. The people who win NaNoWriMo are good at showing up whether they are tired, sick, or angry.


Brainstorm through Blocks

No matter how much you plan, you will have days when you have no idea what to write. Don’t worry. At the beginning the writing session, set a timer for 5-10 minutes and answer the question, “What happens next.” List everything that could happen in your novel, from the mundane (dinner party) to the ridiculous (vampires). If you’re writing nonfiction, brainstorm topics to write about or stories to tell. When you’re done, you’ll have a road map for the day. Use your NaNo document so that your ideas add to your word count.


Lower Your Standards

Many writers quit because the words on paper don’t sound as good as they did in their vision. William Stafford told his writing students, “Lower your standards and keep going.” Don’t expect to write beautifully right out of the gate. This month, commit to writing a really terrible first draft.


Go wild

Psychologists have found that being in nature resets our ability to pay attention. If you’re having trouble writing, get outside. Take a walk in the park. Dig in your garden. Watch the birds or the squirrels.



Track and celebrate successes. Every single day, go to the NaNoWriMo website and enter your word count. Doing this small task will increase your confidence and motivate you to write the next day.


Really? Yes! Teresa Amabile from The Harvard Business School studied the journals of employees at seven companies and noticed that workers who tracked their small achievements were more confident and motivated.


Once you’ve recorded your word count, write a sentence about your success in your journal. Pat yourself on the back or give yourself a high five. Share your win with writing friends.


You can do it!


rochelle melanderWrite Now! Coach Rochelle Melander is a certified professional coach, experienced publishing strategist, and the author of eleven books, including Level Up: Quests to Master Mindset, Overcome Procrastination and Increase Productivity. She helps people write and publish books that transform lives. She’s the founder of Dream Keepers, a writing workshop that supports children and teens in finding their voice and sharing their stories. Sign up for her Write Now! Tips Ezine at Or contact her for a consultation (

NOTE: Yes! That link to my book is an affiliate link. I will make a tiny commission  when you buy a book from this site on






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