1 Nov 2015

5 NaNoWriMo Tips

This morning, after waking up, I was greeted by the sound of a heavy downpour. Rain. Oh, what a beautiful sound. As the water hit the roof of the house and hit the ground, wetting earth that so badly needs it, leaving patterns on the window I gazed out of, I thought: not a bad start to November. (don't be getting me wrong. I love sunny weather, very much, but even I know the loveliness of rain after days of drought) I hope this month is rainy all the way through. This country could use it.
And yes, oh yes, it is November. Which means, Christmas is just that much closer. Which means, Summer is just that much closer. Which means, it's NaNoWriMo. Which, obviously, means it's time to write.
I've never started and followed through to the end with NaNoWriMo, but I'm especially determined this year. It's a wonderful project for any writer, so if you weren't planning on it, I encourage you to give it a shot. Haven't heard of it? Well, read up on it. Maybe you'll find that it's just the sort of thing you'd like to do. And if you decide to join me as well as many other writers, it will be an opportunity to practice perseverance. Not only that, but your writing skills will improve by doing this. We all know the old saying, practice makes perfect. Yeah, well, some claim that they can't see perfection even after all their practice. I've been one to scorn those words as well. But I promise, or rather I know, that this other saying is true: practice makes better. Definitely.

It can be tough trying to complete an entire novel in thirty days. So I've written down a few tips that have helped me before and will hopefully help you.


I was reading lots of articles on NaNoWriMo, and so many of them suggested that you don't edit as you go.

How? That's what I thought at first. 50,000 words in 30 days. How am I going to make it? With everything else in my life that's going on?
I've always been a perfectionist, and sometimes it kills me not to go over the chapter I've just written and fix everything. But don't do that. Use that time to write another chapter, and just keep writing. You can fix it all in December, or even January. All the typos and misspellings, paragraphs that don't make sense, missing explanations, whatever. Ignore that squiggly red underlining. (ugh, that red underlining) For now, just write. Reserve your inner editor. Finish your novel before or on the 30th, bring your plot to life, and then, only later, worry about the professionalism that will be required if you want to publish your book. Which, I myself, would really like to do someday. 


Don't just give up when you're inspiration-less. There are ways to be inspired, of course there are.
Often I'll find myself staring at the keyboard, my mind blank as to what I should write next, or how I should write it. Yes, it's what we call a bad case of that condition that writers hate, Writer's Block. 
What do we do to rejuvenate our inspiration? Go outside. Breathe in the fresh air, observe everything around you and just think for awhile. Or, go read a book. One of your favourites, maybe. Reading inspires.
You could also try closing your eyes and teleporting your mind to the world you've created with words. Ponder everything there is to ponder, and then open your eyes to write down whatever idea struck you while you were there.


It's nice to know you're not alone. And NaNoWriMo is sort of like a unison of writers across the world. So, connect with others. Ask them to read some of your work, maybe, ask for CC (constructive criticism) and ask them if they have any ideas they'd like to share with you. Ask for tips that they use themselves, share your own tips. Read their work as well, offer them encouragement.  


What makes a good book? What does everyone look for in a good book?

Realism. Imagination. Escapism.

I think, honestly, what people want most of all, is something real. Real characters, real feelings, real problems, real overcoming and real victories. They want writers to put into words what they've felt but never been able to describe. They want that connection that can only come about through letters printed in ink on a page. I suggest you use aspects of your life, conversations you've had before, experiences you've experienced. Use them as basis for sections and paragraphs in your book. Others want to identify with what you've written, and it's easier for them to do that when you use real life scenarios. Keep it real.

While being realistic is necessary to a certain extent, imaginative ideas should be woven through the story as well. You want to make people think. You want to make them dream, you want to make them wonder. Be creative with your imagination.

Another thing I've found out about humans and books is that we read to escape. To another world. To just climb out of our messy life for half an hour with a cup of tea and a good book. We want to get lost. We want new universes and unheard of places. If you write with captivation, maybe you'll produce something they'll read with captivation. Concentrate on making it worth escaping to.


Hold out. Your fingers will probably get tired (whether you type or write with a pen)- your mind will definitely get worn out. But push yourself. Perhaps only then you'll discover what you're capable of.
If you're serious about writing, about being an author, don't give up too quickly. If NaNoWriMo is more of a light thing to you, just something fun to participate in, I guess you don't need to take it so seriously.
As for me? I want to publish a book someday. Even if it's just one book. I really do. And I'm on my way. Slow progress is still progress.

What about you? Is writing something you can see yourself always doing?


  1. Thank you for these! I did Camp Nano in April which I know isn't nearly as terrifying as November NaNo so I really needed some tips.


    p.s- what's your Nano user? We should become writing buddies :D Mine's @alittlebitofnoor

    1. One quick question, Noor, because I am considering taking part in Camp NaNo in 2016:
      What do you mean that it is less terrifying? I thought it was the same goal of 50k words?
      ~ Sanjana

  2. That rain sounds absolutely delightful! If only it could rain here...
    These tips are great. I'm sure they'll come in handy :)

  3. While I really enjoy writing, writing a whole book in one month - just thinking about it makes my head hurt! Number five is kind of my motto, Keep on a keepin' on! :D

  4. It's been raining here too, and it's one of the nicest sounds, I think.
    These are great writing tips - NaNo or not. I've never done the challenge, but I do admire those who take it on! All the best with your writing this month, and I'm looking forward to reading that book someday! :)

  5. This is super helpful and should help with my NaNoWriMo quest! :)

  6. *scrolling*


    i was forced to read this post because i'm scared. so thank you for loving on the people who needed it and for inspiring me not to die. ♥♥ wonderful job love.

  7. I am not going to do naonrino but my freind is an I am totally going to send her these tips!

  8. Best wishes on NaNoWriMo this year! x I really wanted to do it this year, but I want to work on some personal writing/journaling before I jump into something that requires that much commitment. I genuinely love writing, but I feel I need a little more preparation with my own work before writing a complete novel. Good luck to everyone who is participating! And your tips will definitely come in handy with writers' clubs I am joining this year!
    ~ Sanjana

  9. Tane, I just love your blog, it's so, so lovely! So glad I found it! :) Secondly, waking up to the downpour of rain is one my favourite things ever. And lastly, NaNoWriMo is such an amazing idea and concept, just because of exams and a trip I have coming up soon I know I won't be able to do it this year - but I really look forward to seeing more about yours! :)


  10. Hmmm, so many great tips! Thanks a bunch, Tane!! You've definitely piqued my interest in NaNoWriMo.


  11. Congrats on starting NaNo!! I wish that I had the time to do this...I'm writing a novel right now, I just don't have time for that level of commitment. I love these tips though, I need to bookmark this!


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