National Novel Writing Month

writing novel in 30 days

Did you kow that tomorrow is the start of National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo for short? So what is NaNoWriMo? It is an novel writing challenge that anyone can join. The challenge: “to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.” To sign up and join the fun and the insanity just go to

NaNoWriMo Success

If you decide to join, this article will give you some tools, resources, and other guidance to help you achieve success with writing your novel in 30 days. The NaNoWriMo challenge is no simple task. At the very least you’ll need heaps of discipline and a lot of hard work. At the most you may also want to do some planning. You say, “Well it’s only 1666 words per day. I can do that!” And you can, but it’s not going to be easy. But follow along and hopefully you’ll have some fun!

Tools You’ll Need to Write a Novel in 30 Days

  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Computer
  • Brain
  • Caffeine (optional)

Optional Tools and Books for Writing a Novel in 30 Days

Free Novel Writing Resources

  • The Snowflake Method – excellent free online guide to planning and writing a novel.
  • Dark Room – free text editor for writing without distractions. Download different colors.
  • Google Docs – free online word processing application that is simple and easy to use. I use it all the time!
  • AbiWord – another free online word processing application.
  • Zoho Writer – and yet another free online word processing application. (Not that you need distractions but they have some other cool stuff too.)
  • YWriter – this is a free software program you can download that helps you organize writing a novel

Planning Methods for Writing a Novel by November 30th

Seat of Your Pants
Start with a nugget of an idea and just start writing. Many people write this way. Some even find success in this method. This keeps things interesting for the author. On the other hand writers often find frustration with this method because of the need to go back and rewrite large passages when the story line needs to change halfway through the book. Planning doesn’t eliminate this problem completely, but it certainly happens less when you do some planning.

Character Dictates the Story
Let your story begin with an interesting character. You’ll want a character who is ready for some kind of change in his/her life. Flesh out everything about your character and let your character tell the story to you. Here are some things you can “discover” about your character as you bring them to life:

  • Physical characteristics
  • Desires
  • Fears
  • Weaknesses & Strengths
  • What is the force that is acting upon your character that will back them into a corner and that will make change inevitable?

Plot Planning
Plan out your story according to Who, What, Where, When, How, and Why. Map out each of these questions starting with What the story is about. You should plan for several major disasters. Then move on to flesh out each of the other areas such as the main characters. Outline your chapters with a sentence or two about what will happen. Then start writing the story. For a great guide on this type of planning and writing check out the SnowFlake Method which is a free guide to writing a novel.

Other Success Considerations

Make sure that you set yourself up for success by establishing good support systems and habits:

  • Get enough sleep each night or you won’t have the juice you need to write!
  • Eat Well. Get the fuel you need so you can get it all done.
  • Frequent Breaks. Don’t try to do it all at once. Studies show that you are much more productive when you take breaks.
  • Support Buddy. Establish a buddy you can go to for support. Create a reward for their support at the end of the month!
  • Motivation. Know why you are writing this novel. Write it out and tape it in front of your writing area.
  • Variety. Keep it interesting and find inspiration by writing in different places especially when motivation is lagging.
  • Reward. Establish a reward for your hard work upon completion of your novel.

Join Me at NaNoWriMo!

You can visit my profile and add me as a buddy here.

Please Share!

Please share with us your progress on your NaNoWriMo novel in the comments! Check back often to keep us updated and find some encouragement from fellow writers!? All comments big and small are very welcomed!

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  1. 1
    November 1st, 2007 at 7:39 am

    Yay NaNoWriMo! 574 words!

  2. 2
    November 1st, 2007 at 9:27 am

    Good Luck on this year’s Nanowrimo. I am also participating on Nanowrimo this year. See you at the finish.


  3. 4
    November 1st, 2007 at 9:23 pm

    This is my first year on NaNoWriMo and I’ve got 1912 words so far. I think my biggest fear is that I will run out of ideas. I tend to use fewer words instead of more. I’m going to have to learn to expand my ideas. Anyway..I’ll be looking you up. My screen name on there is JollyMinstrel and I’d be happy to have you as a writing buddy. Good Luck!

  4. 6
    Rick K&J
    November 10th, 2007 at 4:10 pm

    This is excellent information, I’m glad I came across this blog!

    I have a couple subjects that I’d like to write about – I’m not too concerned with doing so within a time frame – but I would definitely be interested in learning some of the tips detailed in the resources you provided.

  5. 8
    December 8th, 2007 at 10:17 pm

    this really helps… i need to find the IDEA….

  6. 9
    May 8th, 2008 at 2:52 pm

    I found to help me a lot. It’s more for screenwriting, but it can help organize thoughts by creating character profiles, and notes and things like that.

  7. 10
    Lynn Jordan--AuthorsToolsBlog
    October 6th, 2008 at 1:37 am

    This year’s NaNo should be great too. It’s the 10th anniversary. I hope to see you on the NaNoWriMo site.

  8. 11
    Writing Tips
    October 16th, 2008 at 4:31 am

    Indeed an interesting and educating post. Hope that this post can encourage more writers to create better pieces. Nice job!

  9. 12
    Wenbin Liu
    May 27th, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Dear friend,
    My name is Wenbin Liu. I was born in Beijing, China on February 6,1959. I have written a novel in Chinese.Now I want to translate my novel into English and publish it in America.

  10. 13
    August 22nd, 2010 at 8:38 pm

    Wenbin Liu – Fantastic! Use the same discipline you used to write your book now to get your book published. Research each step and then choose the best path. Check out this book on publishing: The Well-Fed Self-Publisher: How to Turn One Book into a Full-Time Living. It covers self-publishing as well as traditional publishing.

  11. 14
    September 1st, 2012 at 6:24 pm

    I’m going to try to accomplish the NaNoWriMo challenge this year. It’ll be hard to keep my perfectionist tendencies from standing in my way, but I’m excited.

  12. 15
    September 10th, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    @Trina -Wooo! Go for it! Hope it works out super for you!! Let us know!


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