Wednesday, October 25, 2017

NaNo Need-to-Knows: How to Maximize Your Chances to Win

Hey everyone! FINALLY, I have the vlog post uploaded and my internet connection back, so I'm going to have two vlog posts this week for the NaNo Need-to-Knows series. I'll work the blog posts I had wanted to write in over this week and the next as well, because there's a ton of information I want to share before and during NaNoWriMo.

Anyhow, here's the video, with the script following below.

Ladies and gentlemen, we’re almost on the eve of NaNoWriMo and we have no idea about who of us will succeed and who will fail at making it to 50,000 words. But I’m specially posting this on a Monday so you’ll have a bit more than a week to follow advice if you’re so inclined. Because this week is the week you prepare.

But you’ve planned your story as far as you’re going to plan it. What more can you possibly need to do?

For right now, forget your story. This week, you need to prepare yourself for NaNoWriMo, emotionally and physically.

Here are my best suggestions and the things I’m doing right now to get ready.

1) Set your strategy.

To win NaNo, you have to write 50,000 words in a month, or an average of 1,667 per day. But if you look at your calendar, you might realize that you actually have fewer days than 30 available. So how are you going to make up for that?

Make the decision now so you don’t worry about it later.

2) Clear your schedule as far as possible. 

In a perfect world, you’d be able to make everything else in November go away, but alas, we’re in the real world with its millions of distractions and drains on your time. So what you want to do here is decrease those distractions as far as possible. If you have something due in the first week of November (like say next week’s vlog post), get it done now so you don’t have to worry about it.

If you need to set a date for something and it’s possible to do so, set that date in December.

Also, let go of your TV schedule. Make sure to record the things that are important to you, so you can watch it later, but don’t put yourself in the dilemma of “But XYZ is on…”

3) Tell your friends and family. 

This way, you can say, “Can’t, I’m writing my novel in a month, remember?” Which makes it easier to stand firm if someone wants you to go out. (Obviously, don’t turn into a hermit, but if you have a day’s writing quota and winning is important to you, going out might have to wait until you do have time available.)

4) Decide on your priorities and block out an available time slot dedicated to writing every day. And make sure nothing else gets booked in that time. 

It’ll be helpful if you knew how fast you write, but if you need to write 2,000 words a day and you take 2 hrs in order to do so, you need to make sure that you have an average of two non-negotiable writing hours a day. Note here: average. So if you really can only do an hour on week days, make sure you have a bigger chunk of time available on weekends.

Doing this ahead of time helps in two ways. First, having a dedicated writing time helps your brain switch over to creation mode faster than trying to steal time at random. Second, you can’t win NaNo if you don’t give yourself enough time. So scheduling writing time ahead can help you ensure that you theoretically gave yourself enough time to write your daily quota of words.

5) Sort Out Your Social Networking. 

If it’s important that you post regularly to wherever, schedule as much as possible ahead. If not, go on hiatus.

Yeah I can hear the horrified gasps already. But that hour that just whizzes by every day as you scroll down your Facebook feed? You could have spent it writing. You need to spend it writing.

So pull the plug for a month. (I promise you, it’s actually really nice.) Just let everyone know that it’s what you’re doing so they don’t distract you with worried calls and emails because you “vanished.”

Those are my big tips to gear up for NaNoWriMo. Do you think I missed anything? Let me know in the comments.


  1. Well done Misha -good video delivery and useful NaNo info ... glad the troubles are behind you - cheers Hilary

    1. Thanks so much! It's a relief that I'm back online, but man now I'm so far behind it's not even funny.

  2. It is definitely something you need to mentally prepare for and your tips will help anyone taking part. Although dedicated time is important, I would add that if it works for you, use any spare random time you get during the day (making notes on your phone while waiting in line at the post office, for example). BTW, I noticed on the way down here that you hit 1000 followers. Congrats, that's huge! Will you do anything to celebrate? :)

    1. Thanks!

      I completely agree with you. Five minutes stolen here and there can add up to a lot of writing. ^_^

      As for hitting 1000, I won't celebrate now because I first hit 1000 followers years ago. The blogger purged all my Wordpress followers. :-/

      So the next big number I'll be celebrating is 1,500. :-)

  3. Social media is definitely time-consuming; I like Twitter in particular because of the funny Tweets that people like Conan O'Brien and Steve Martin write, but like you said, it can be very easy to lose track of time when on Twitter. It's always been hard for me to balance everything because ever since I was 22, I've always had at least 2-3 jobs. Someone once advised me to just get done what needs to get done that day and then set aside the other stuff that has later deadlines to be done after. That made it easier than trying to get everything done at once.

    1. I agree with you on just doing what needs to be done/what you can do in a day. Systematically crossing things off your to-do list actually gets you so much further than trying to juggle a million things at once and not finishing anything.

  4. I always lose track of time on social media. I need to start setting an alarm for the amount of time I want to be there and get off!

    1. That's not a bad idea.

      Sometimes, what I do during NaNo is to sprint, which means setting an alarm for 5, 10, 15, or 30 minutes and exclusively concentrating on that time. And then I set my alarm for 5 or 10 minutes to rest after each sprint.

      Usually that's where I sneak my social networking in, if I really need a fix. ;-)

  5. Blocking out time every night was the only way I was going to win. I did manage to hit the word count plus every day, enough that I slacked some on Thanksgiving and still won two days early.

    1. Yeah I always try to write a bit more than my daily target, so I save up for when something happens, or for weekends, if I feel I need them. :-)

  6. Best wishes on success to you all. I so admire those who take this challenge on.

  7. My first NaNo was in 2013 I have not won a November yet, but a few camps where they let me set my own. 25000 words in 30 days but still trying for 50000.


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