Tag Archives: NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth


The writing group I belong to is going to run a mini NaNo this year. I was trying to come up with a few tips for people who have never done it before. These would also apply to anyone doing full NaNo or just writing in general.

Are you thinking about participating, but are a little scared of the thought? It is a lot to commit to in such a short period of time.  With a mini version that task is less daunting. You set your goal. Take the time to think about what you believe you can commit to time-wise, make a rough guess at what you normally can do in that time, and stretch yourself a bit. Maybe add 5-10% to your estimated word count. If you think you can do 20,000, stretch it to 22,000. This is supposed to be a challenge after all. Here are a few tips to get you going.

Try to prepare in advance. Even if you’re a pantser like me, try to come up with some sort of outline so you aren’t staring into space trying to figure out where to start. That’s my biggest challenge. Keep in mind you don’t have to write just one story. It can be a collection of short stories or poems. Maybe write a chunk of your novel. Do whatever you feel moved to do and if you can come up with a general idea of the flow before you start, you have a much better chance at meeting your goal.

Don’t stop writing to do edits. The goal is NOT to end up with a ready-to-publish piece of work at the end of the month. The goal is to get the words on the paper. Don’t re-read what you’ve written. Don’t run spell check every 5 minutes. Just write. I realize it’s difficult for some people not to edit as they go, but that just slows you down.

Two phrases come to mind. (1) Bum in chair: you need to commit to write every day if possible. If you miss your daily word count, then you have to write twice as much the next day, and the daily count goes up every day you don’t write. (2) Puke on the Page:  you must get the words on paper (or computer screen). If you don’t then you won’t accomplish what you set out to do. They don’t have to be good, they just have to exist.

Remember, once December arrives you can edit to your hearts content. Flesh out your characters. Set your scenes. Do whatever you need to polish your work (or complete it if you started a novel). November is the time for getting the words out. You have 11 more months to make it shine.

Leave a comment

Filed under Nanci Pattenden, Writing


I think I must have lost my mind last week. On Friday, something came over me and I signed up for NaNoWriMo. It stands for NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth – http://nanowrimo.org/. The month is November and this little writing group has been around since 1999. The idea is to write 50,000 words between Nov 1st and 30th. You’ve got from one minute past midnight the early morning of the 1st right up to 11:59 pm on the 30th. That averages to just under 1700 words every day; 1,666.67 specifically. Every day you don’t write just ups the total for the remaining days. And it’s completely free by the way, but they do accept donations.


 The end result doesn’t have to be a ready-to-publish novel. I doubt it is for anyone. For me, it will be the “puke on the page” method. I may not even bother with chapters. I think the best way for me to get anywhere near 50k words will be just to write and write and write. It will be hard not to edit as I go. Nothing will be organized, at least not very organized. I do have my story in mind, and I think I may have a brief outline somewhere.

 So far I have six buddies, three of which are newbies like me. One I personally know, and one doesn’t live that far away. The other four buddies are outside Canada – Johannesburg, East Yorkshire, Pennsylvania and Colorado.

 I’m looking forward to doing this, I think. Maybe I’m just dreaming and I’ll wake up soon.


Leave a comment

Filed under Historical Fiction, Mystery, Nanci Pattenden, Writing