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NaNoWriMo Success: How to Write a Novel in 30 Days

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.org.

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. […] you’re in the throws of it, here’s another resource loaded with links to help you write a novel. (The site’s not pretty, but the posts are very worthwhile.) Wet blanket alert: Not everyone […]

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