Ready, Set, Survive National Novel Writing Month

Are you doing NaNoWriMo?  Have you decided to write 50k words in a month? Have you figured out how you’re going to survive? What about the family, kids, dinner, laundry?

For me, the hardest part of doing NaNoWriMo is juggling all the other things in my life while trying to get 1700 words in a day. November is notorious for being uber-busy.  There’s the day job with all the various projects coming due no matter what. There’s family: dinner still needs to be cooked, laundry done, etc. There’s Thanksgiving stuck right in the middle of it with food to be cooked and more family. And then, December and Christmas loom right behind it.

I wish NaNoWriMo would happen in January when I have nothing going on, but maybe that is the point: establish a writing schedule and deal with life to get the book done.

So how is a girl to survive? I’ve combed the web for ideas on how to keep “life” at bay while you’re trying to meet your 50k goal.

Home stuff

Menu planning. No matter how many words I’m going to write, the family still has to eat. Fast food is great for those occasional days, but planning ahead can help. There is our friend, the slow cooker.  Load up on recipes that you can throw in the crockpot in the morning.  Tip: If you line the pot with foil, clean up is a snap!  Spend a weekend cooking and put it in the freezer. Double recipes and freeze in foil pans. Just thaw and cook.

As far as the other tasks, divide and conquer. Everyone gets a job. But most importantly, if it doesn’t get done, don’t worry about it.  There are only so many hours in a day and all your extra ones will be spent writing.  Challenge yourself to see how big dust bunnies can really get.

Here are a few websites to give you some ideas on meal planning for the month and the crockpot. There are tons more to discover as well. Once a month cooking:  Another good one is  Organized Home. It explains how to plan a month’s worth of meals and fix in a weekend. For slow cooker ideas, here’s a site with a recipe for each day:

Writing Stuff

I have found out that if I push myself, I can write about 10k per week.  I get up an hour earlier, and write. I write after dinner from 7-10pm. At 10pm, I turn off the computer and read or watch TV for an hour. Sleep and do it again, six days per week.

Track how much you write. I use Scrivener for writing. I set my daily goal and it lets me know when I’ve met it. If you are using a word processor, jot down the work count when you start, then when you stop. Record it on the calendar.

Broadcast how you are doing. Post on Facebook or twitter how many words you do each day. Having to tell someone how much I’ve done pushes me to keep doing it.

Have a plan. I’m not a pantser. I am a type A plotter. I have outlines for drafts, outlines for revisions. For some this can get in the way of creativity. If this type of planning shrivels up your creative muse, just do the high level plan: beginning, middle and end.  The rest will fill in. All that matters is that the words get written. Go with what works for you. NaNo is not a time to try a new method.

Give yourself permission to write crap. I got this one from Anna Destefano, a fabulous writer/teacher. I have an analytical brain. Turning that off and just writing is hard. The inner editor needs to rewrite. Don’t edit, just write. You can fix it later, but only if you write it. Here are some websites I found useful while writing this blog:,,

Have Fun

NaNoWriMo is a huge challenge. It gives you a chance to build some good writing habits and get a jumpstart on a new story.  The support you get from the writing community is great, but if you don’t get to 50k in a month, don’t beat yourself up.  You have a good start on a new story and that’s the most important thing.

Decide how you will celebrate your success. Reward yourself for a job well done no matter how you many words you write. Just like running a 5k, it’s not about finishing first; it’s finishing.  Most people talk about writing a novel and never put down the first word. You’ve put down 50K. This is a huge achievement that deserves a reward.

So are you doing NaNoWriMo? What plans have you made for getting it done? Any one want to meet in January for Revise Your Novel month?


8 thoughts on “Ready, Set, Survive National Novel Writing Month

  1. Completely agree on all these ideas. I’m definitely not a panster either. Menu planning alone has saved my marriage each November I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo. I still think the first place to start is a clean desk though. 🙂

  2. I love this! I’m going to try and use these ideas as I finish up book two in my Nelson’s Tea series. I’m not joining NaNo this year but I’m going to try and work just as hard this month.

    Good luck to all the NaNo participants!!! ❤

  3. Pingback: Teatime Romance Blog’s 2012 Year in Review | Teatime Romance

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