NaNoWriMo Planning is More than Outlining

As a *ahem* veteran winner of NaNoWriMo, I think I have a little advice for some of you who are tackling NaNoWriMo for the first time. I learned some things last year, and I figured maybe what I learned could help some of you.

Let’s talk about planning. Planning isn’t key to winning NaNoWriMo, but it does make things easier. The more you plan in October, the easier it’s going to be in November. An outline is a nice thing to have, if you are into that type of thing. If you aren’t one to outline, there is still some planning you can do to make your life better. Let me explain.

Let’s talk about the magic number: 1,667. You have to average 1,667 words per day in order to write 50,000 words in November. It’s that simple. If you don’t hit 1,667 one day, you are going to have to make it up another day. If you skip a day, that means you are going to have to write 3,334 the next day.

Take a look at the calendar. See any problem areas? How about Thanksgiving? Do you really think you are going to be able to write that day? If not, you might want to adjust your daily word count goals. If you take the word count of 50,000, divide by 29 days (without Thanksgiving), you get 1,724 words.

How about November 4th? If you are like me and into the election, chances are I’m not going to be doing very much writing that night. So, 50,000/28 = 1,785. That’s how many words I need to write per day. How about weekends? Anyhow, you get the idea.

My point is you need to think about your own personal calendar and come up with a realistic per day word count based on your reality. If you know this number going in, you have less of a chance of finding yourself behind in you writing and a much greater chance to succeed.

Me, I probably need to average 2,000 words per day.

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10 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Planning is More than Outlining

  1. After reading a few similar posts to this I was going to enter the NaNoWriMo, but I’ve just started writing something already ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Oh well, maybe next year ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy writing!

  2. That’s the problem with November. We don’t have the election or Thanksgiving, but there are 9 trillion birthdays this month and of course Christmas is on the horizon. I’m not doing NaNoWriMo but I’m going to have to up the pace with my redraft, and I’m wondering whether to do the blog posting month thing. Waaaaaaaaah, 2000 words a day! That’s 8 sides of A4 handwritten, isn’t it? It sounds daunting now, but I remember when I was age 14 at school, writing that in a few hours for a homework essay and not finding it too hard. Then again, at 14 you don’t know you’re born – someone else was doing everything, housework, cooking etc etc I was thinking to myself yesterday – I need a housekeeper and cook at the very least!!

  3. Just found out about NaBloPoMo – much less daunting undertaking – write a daily blog post for the month of November. You do that anyway – I used to but found it too much. Maybe I’ll reinstate it, just for November to show solidarity with you NaNoWriMo folk!

    Milo should give me plenty to write about – although whether anyone will want to read it is another matter!

  4. While I’ve never officially participated in NaNoWriMo, I’m usually writing anyway. You offer some good advice about the word count. And Helen is correct, it seems this year will be more difficult than others.

    And congrats on being a winner!

  5. “Itโ€™s that simple” – I LOVE this, Paul, it sounds so simple when you’re saying (well, writing) it… ๐Ÿ™‚ I really wish it were…
    But you’re offering great advice for any writing enterprise. Such is the discipline if one wants to succeed.

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