It’s Time to Start Planning for November #NaNoWriMo

Hi, SEers! It’s Mae with you today, and I’m here to chat about the writing hoopla fast approaching. National Novel Writing Month kicks off in November, and if you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know I’m a fan. I’ve participated several times, “won” twice, and racked up excellent story content in the process.

If you’re new to the world of writing, NaNoWriMo occurs every November. Writers at various skill levels set out to write a novel in thirty days. Accomplish that and you “win”—earning the right to crow about your accomplishment. As a plus, there are usually writing-related goodies to be had at a sizable discount on the NaNoWriMo website

Most of all, you get to experience the support of an amazing community and can say you’ve lived through the thrill and craziness of tackling NaNo.

If you’re considering giving it a whirl, you’ve got options:

Start a new project from scratch and write 50K between 11/1 and 11/30
Add 50K to an existing WIP between 11/1 and 11/30
Write a collection of short stories with the word count totaling 50K

Last year, I only managed to add 35K to my WIP, but because I was doing a WIP, the content was useable, and I ended up finishing the manuscript in early December. As a result, I’m a fan of using NaNoWriMo to work on WIPs, but traditionalists will start a new project from scratch.

If you’re doing the latter, now is the time to develop character backgrounds, flesh out your setting, and start sketching scenes. I’m not saying pantsers can’t pull off a NaNo win, but you’ll likely do a lot better by laying the groundwork before you start writing. NaNoWriMo changed this dyed-in-the-wool pantser into a plantser (half plotter/half pantser) and I’ve happily stuck in that niche. 

young woman holding pen and thinking, open notebook and laptop with mouse on table
Image courtesy of Pixabay

Who doesn’t like to dream up a story and make notes? You’ve got the entire month of October to huddle with your muse and start jotting ideas. There’s even a NaNoWriMo Prep Book with worksheets available for download to guide you through the planning process. If you’re not already a member of the NaNoWriMo website, you’ll need to create an account. Once you do, be sure to poke around. The site is loaded with resources from community forums to tools, and provides plenty of encouragement to keep you motivated and writing.

Even if you don’t sign up officially and declare your project for November, there’s nothing that says you can’t use the month to tackle writing at your own speed for those same thirty days. An abundance of creative energy pings around during November, plus there is plenty of support across social media platforms. Visit a few and fuel up your muse. 

The excitement is building. Now is the time to start planning!

Let’s chat NaNoWriMo. What are your thoughts about the month of writing craziness? Are you going to participate? If not, are you planning on using November for a self-paced word count goal of your own choosing?

Tell me what you think. Ready, set, go!

Bio box for author, Mae Clair

96 thoughts on “It’s Time to Start Planning for November #NaNoWriMo

    • Hello, and thanks for reading! Between the short stories and their links to other projects, it sounds like you have a plan to get a two-way benefit from NaNo. Whatever you choose to tackle in November, I don’t think you can go wrong. Just jumping onboard with the fun madness of November writing is a thrill! Wishing you much success during the month and for finishing strong!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pingback: Are You Ready? #NaNoWriMo | Story Empire

  2. This will be my first year doing NaNoWriMo after a 3 year break form writing!

    I’m tossing up whether to add 50k words to my WIP or use the opportunity to learn how to write a first draft without fussing over the wording etc. and starting again!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Good point about writing several short stories toward the 50K, Mae. I didn’t sign up. The deadline to sign up for the community support was Saturday. I’ll work on my WIP and hope to get it done by the end of the year. Best wishes to your projects. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

      • Thank you, Mae. I’ve been working on my cancer memoir since 2016. I have 50,000 words of notes, emails, and journal. I’ll extract them down to 10k to 12k. I do it as part of the family legacy but I’ll upload it onto Amazon.

        Cheering you on yours. The end of the year is good time as the finishing line. Hope to hear your announcement of your next book. 😍 📚

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: It’s Time to Start Planning for November #NaNoWriMo – A.R.T

  5. Pingback: It’s Time to Start Planning for November #NaNoWriMo – Sparta

  6. My full-time day job has forever prevented me from outright participating, but I did get some words in when I attempted a “micro” version last year 😉 It’s a very good time to work on WIPs because, like you said, the creative energy is infectious.

    Thank you for this and good luck this year!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Marie, I can so relate to how a full time job interferes. I have the same problem. I usually have a few days extra vacation time to use come November and take a day or two off for a jump start.

      Micro versions are great. I’m glad you had success with that last year. I love the creative energy pinging around in November. Wishing you luck this year, too! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I did it once before with a new project that I had put zero planning into. I just showed up at the computer on the first day and wrote. I completed it but it sure was a mess. Might add 50k to a WIP this year! I’m excited. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  8. I’m excited for Nano, Mae. I’ll be trying to finish a WIP first draft that’s about 28k in. The best thing about it for me, is it gives me a valid reason to ignore housework, showers, cooking, and my husband. I get to sigh and tell him…. “I’d love to do (that thing), but I have this heavy duty writing commitment that I entered this month.” Hehe. Little does he know I’m enjoying every minute of it. 🙂 Have a great November!

    Liked by 3 people

  9. My schedule has been so busy that procrastination has become my first name. I may just start my first NaNoWriMo challenge this year (albeit a bit modified).I have a WIP that needs to be finished, but I’m realistic. I think I’m going to shoot for 30K (1000 words a day) and see what happens. The challenge starts now, though, because I have to finish editing the book I’m trying to release, create the blog posts for its promotion, and get it promoted before November gets here. Time to light a fire under my fingers. Lol! Great post, Mae! Thanks for the motivation. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • I can so relate the promo issue, Yvette. I’m in the process of writing promo posts for an October release. I just finished edits a few weeks ago. Like you I’m trying to get everything done before November and NaNoWriMo. I think 30K is a great goal and I’ll be cheering you on. BTW, if you’d like promo for your new release, my blog is open. Just let me know!

      Liked by 2 people

  10. I have come away with two stories from NaNo. One I’m working on now. Not sure about this year, unless I edit 50k instead. Thanks to a post a couple of years from you I did my first challenge. Good luck this November!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Woohoo! I love hearing that one of my posts prompted you to take the plunge, Denise. Whether you decide to engage again or edit your 50K instead, I wish you well. November is an awesome time to focus on writing whether you choose to do an official NaNoWriMo or not. Cheering you on!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. NaNoWriMo is an activity that makes the earth turn just a little faster in its orbit. All the passion and creativity of creating a 50,000 novel and everybody writing madly to get out those words! I owe a lot to NaNo and have nothing but fondness for the enterprise. Good luck to you, Mae, and to us all!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I love your comment about making the earth turn a little faster in its orbit, Flossie. It’s such a great observation, and I already feel that energy building.
      I’m so glad you’re a fan of NaNoWriMo. Thanks for the well wishes, and I’m extending you the same!


    • Thanks for the well wishes, Sue.
      And I understand all the pressures of the world weighing in, especially when combined with writing projects. I hope whatever you’re working on at the moment (and will be come November) you make amazing progress!

      Liked by 1 person

    • The retreat you’re going to, Teri, sounds fantastic. The setting alone sounds like it should be inspiring.
      Fingers crossed you get the groundwork in place, and may end up joining in. Either way, I wish you happy writing—and a happy retreat!

      Liked by 2 people

  12. I added up my usual writing routine, and in a good month, if everything goes well, I only come up with 30,000 words because I edit as I go. I think I’d burn out if I tried to crank out 50,000 words, but I know it works for other writers. Best of luck to anyone who gives it a go! And glad you had a great vacation.

    Liked by 3 people

    • The “edit as you go” is definitely a problem, Judi. It’s also how I write eleven months out of the year, but for some reason I’ve learned to adapt to NaNo. I have no idea why it works but I’m able to turn my internal editor off for November. Strange, I know.

      And, hey, I would LOVE to manage 30K in a month, so I’d say you have a good thing going regardless.
      Thanks about vacation, too. It was awesome!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I did NaNo in 2019 and ended up with winning, but what I wrote wasn’t usable. I did manage to salvage some of my WIP for future use. I’m not sure I will do NaNo, but I will be using the time this year to jumpstart my writing again. I find November a difficult month to write. I have so much going on. But it did make me be more disciplined. Good luck, Mae, and all who choose to participate.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I had the same experience with 2019 effort, Michele. I came away a winner, but with a mess of a book that has yet to be resuscitated. Last year was much better. Fingers crossed I can do it again.

      November is a rough time with Thanksgiving tucked in there. Who’s thinking about writing when family and turkey are calling? 🙂
      I wish they would have made it September or October (even a month in the winter), but I’ve gotten used to squeezing it in. My wedding anniversary also falls in November, so it always feels like a really short month.

      Thanks for the well wishes, and I hope you’re able to jumpstart your writing as planned!

      Liked by 2 people

  14. Great post, Mae. You’ve got me wondering “What If?” and I must confess, I’m interested. It would be a first for me. My WIP waits for resuscitation. Life set it on the shelf, but it’s been speaking to me for weeks now. There are twists I need to mull and a conclusion more satisfying. Thank you for this — maybe I’ll be joining you. 😊

    Liked by 3 people

    • That’s awesome, Gwen! John is thinking of joining in as well.
      Life had me shelve my WIP as well, but like yours, it’s been calling to me. I think the experience I had last year (adding 35K during the month then the rest in early December) has me energized for a repeat. I’ll be cheering you on if you decide to participate!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. I greatly admire you for doing this, Mae. I did it one year and came in at 30K words. But that was more than I had when I started, so I called it a win. 🙂 I won’t be participating this year. I’m in editing and rewriting mode. 🙂 I’m cheering you and the others on from the sidelines!

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks for the cheers, Jan. I hope I have as successful a NaNoWriMo as I did last year. I didn’t reach 50K but the 35K I did write were quality words that enabled me to finish my WIP. That’s my goal again this year.
      Wishing you lots of energy for editing and rewriting. November is certainly a good time to be involved in anything of a word-smitthery nature!

      Liked by 1 person

  16. The one year I planned on doing it, life events preempted my participation. Now, my daily word count means I basically “win” NaNo every month anyway, so I’m not sure it’s fair for me to do it. The community sounds like fun, though.

    Liked by 4 people

  17. I’ve done NaNo a couple of times and have two published books that started because of it. However, it took me longer to finish and edit them than the others I’ve written. I’m an “edit as you go” person, so the 50K challenge doesn’t work for me. However, I might use that month to work on my WIP without the 50K goal.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I think it’s a great idea to use the month for your own writing goal, Joan. Although I’m officially tossing my writing hat into the NaNoWriMo ring, my intention is mainly to add quality words to my WIP. I like the idea of using November for that because the writing community is so geared up with creative energy. It’s kind of contagious. Fingers crossed for both of us!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Priscilla, I did the exact same thing last year. I did 50K in 2019 and it was garbage. Last year I did 35K of quality work. That’s going to be my focus. If I hit 50K, that’s a bonus, but my real aim is to add to my WIP.
      So glad to hear you intend to participate. Whatever you decide on for your project, I wish you well!

      Liked by 2 people

  18. I didn’t do Nano last year, but I participated in the two or three years before that. I’ve ‘won’ once.
    I have a WIP I really need to get on with, so maybe I’ll join in again this year. I’ve got involved with other writing projects and have rather neglected my novel.

    Liked by 3 people

    • I soooo know that feeling about other writing projects and allowing your novel to languish. I’ve done the exact same thing this year, and plan to use November and NaNo to work on my neglected WIP. Hoping you join in as well. It’s a great time to become refocused on older work!

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Yes! Although I’m not big on the interactive communities because of my time restrictions, I love NaNoWriMo. Four of my published books were written during NaNo, so I’m a huge supporter. Great post! I hope you had a wonderful vacation. 🙂

    Liked by 6 people

    • Hi, Jill. Four published books from NaNo is awesome! That’s quite an accomplishment.
      I don’t use the forums either for the same reason you mentioned (time restrictions) but I like that they’re available. I think a lot of writers enjoy them.
      Oh, and vacation was awesome. Thanks! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Mae, you make it all sound tempting, exciting and possible! 😀 Thank you for sharing your extensive knowledge and experience and I’m glad it’s worked so well for you. I had no idea it also involved WIP and short stories, which is a great! Good luck this year and enjoy the month!

    Liked by 6 people

    • Hi, Annika. Yes, it’s now become 50K in a month regardless of your project. Last year was the first time I used NaNoWriMo for a WIP, and although I didn’t “win” it enabled me to finish my book in early December. I’m thrilled it’s no longer simply writing a novel from scratch, but that there are options.
      Thanks for the well wishes! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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