What do you want to write for NaNoWriMo?

Do you want to participate in NaNoWriMo, but either don’t know which idea you want to use or you don’t know what to write about at all?

You aren’t alone. I didn’t figure out which story idea I wanted to go with until very late last week. If you’re feeling the pressure with NaNoWriMo a little over a week away, I hope that this post helps you come up with some ideas you can use and feel more confident.

Some people start the month of October, known to many as NaNo prep month, with a ton of ideas or one main idea. Others begin it with none at all.

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NaNo Advice- Word Sprints/Wars are Your NaNo BFF



Whether you are looking to catch up, right on target, or trying to get a bit of a buffer built up, Word Sprints and Word Wars can be your BFF during NaNoWriMo.



Word Sprints are timed bursts of writing usually 10/15/20 minute intervals, where you try to write as much and as fast as you can.

Like a free-write, you have to try to fill up the entire time with writing, giving you a good couple hundred words (at least at the end of the sprint)– Sweet! Add that on to the word count! @NaNoWordSprints on twitter, organizes word sprints pretty much all day, every day during NaNoWriMo, so following them along on Twitter helps too. They give some fun and interesting prompts and write along with you during the sprints. It’s a fun and interactive way to do something that you could do alone if you wanted to.

Word Wars are when you do a word sprint with a friend or group of people to see who (or what group) can write the most in the allotted amount of time.

These develop a friendly sort of competition between writers to see who can write more, but it is also really motivational. My friend Tracy and I had virtual write-ins last year where we had word wars. She always beat me, but I watched my word count grow, and that’s felt amazing. After a couple of them, I had met (and sometimes surpassed) my daily goal of 1667 words.

You know that annoying mid-month slump?

Word wars (and some plot ninjas) have helped me out of that by getting me talking to other writers and forcing me to write through my writer’s block/exhaustion/etc. They help to focus and keep on writing that novel of yours.

I like to go into word sprints/wars with the following:

  1. A glance over the last scene/chapter I have written— just so I can keep on with the flow of the story. I don’t spend more than 5-10 minutes doing so, or I am tempted to edit.
  2.  As I glance it over, I like to develop somewhat of an idea of where I would like to go next. What can I do to push my plot ahead or get my characters further from or closer to their goal?
  3. When I have an idea, I set the timer on my phone (if I am doing word sprints by myself) and just go!

The most important thing to remember during words sprints is to have fun!

And write, get absorbed in your story! Don’t stop writing until the timer goes off! Then look at all of the wonderful words you wrote during that time and do a happy dance.

happygoat(that is one very happy little sheep)

Have you participated in Word Wars or Sprints before?

Did they help motivate you? What was your experience?


For more fun NaNoToons, go to http://nanotoons.net/

NaNo Advice- Getting a Late Start

tumblr_ltyu5lfvrs1r5twioo1_1280One of my fabulous blog readers posted a great question today!

First off— they just got an awesome idea for their book! *Cheers and applause*– that’s awesome, you’re still one step ahead of me! 😉

They mentioned that they will be away for the first two days of November, and will have to start on a deficit!

I started a couple of days late the first year that I tried NaNoWriMo, which made it pretty difficult for me to catch up (especially because I had no idea how intensive it would really be). But this isn’t impossible to remedy, especially if you want to participate in this creative month of insanity. We kind of have to expect that there will be a couple days out of the month where it will be hard to write (and therefore we need to catch up).

I have a couple of ideas for my friend.

1. Make an outline:

If I knew that I would have to start a day or two late, I would probably create a detailed outline for my first couple of chapters (even if I was a pantser) so that when I went to actually write, I could follow the outline and it would flow. Hopefully I would be able to catch up within a couple of days by following the outline and then go from there.

2. Keep a notebook with you

Or a document open on your laptop (if you are in a place where you can use it). You never know when you will get 15 minutes or a half- hour to write! It could be in the car, on the train, during lunch, or even if you get a quiet minute here or there. This is a great time to jot down ideas that come up that will help you catch up with your writing later on, but it can also let you get a paragraph or two, or even a scene written when you have time.

3. Write an extra couple of hundred words a day

When you do get the chance to finally sit down and write your awesome novel! This can seem daunting, but if you do a couple of word sprints I love @NaNoWordSprints on Twitter— or do word wars with a friend, it can be easier to get those extra couple hundred words out. Before you know it, you will be caught up!

Hopefully these will help you to catch up in no time!

Have you ever had to start NaNoWriMo late due to a prior commitment?

How did you catch up? Or what would you do to catch up?