Nanowrimo Checklist

Have you:

  • Written your novel plan?
  • Thought about your first 1667 words tomorrow?
  • Connected with similarly crazy folk on the Nano site to be your writing buddies?
  • Bought enough food for the month?
  • Tidied the house within an inch of its life?
  • Completed the washing and ironing and have enough clothes to last until the end of November?
  • Talked to the dog about the fact that he/she can only use the garden for 30 days?
  • Sent your kids to your in-laws?
  • Set your alarm to get up an hour earlier each day?
  • Told your boss not to expect too much this month?
  • Made a giant casserole that will last you 30 days during November?
  • Cancelled any commitments you had?
  • Told your friends you’ll see them in December?
  • Stocked up on beautiful new notebooks?
  • Written down the emergency number of another author – just in case?
  • Downloaded Scrivener or another writing tool for your computer?
  • Disconnected from Facebook, Twitter and any other distracting sites?
  • Turned off the Internet?
  • Put motivational messages around your computer or house?
  • Stocked up on coffee, biscuits and writing snacks?
  • Bought a bumper pack of pens?
  • Tidied your desk or writing space?
  • Phoned the local coffee house to ensure they have enough coffee over the next 30 days?

If you’ve answered yes to all or some of the above, you’re ready or as ready as you’ll ever be.

Let the madness begin!

Preparing for Nanowrimo (Part 2)

Right le100841098t’s get straight to the point – the Nanowrimo site is a fabulous resource during the month of November. There are genre specific forums on which you can ask questions, seek advice and connect with others writing similar material. There are also the regional forums in which you can liaise with others in your area also undertaking Nano and celebrate your successes on reaching targets or alternatively get a kick up the backside if you’re not cutting it. In addition, you will receive updates and motivational messages from Nano HQ. It’s all there right at your fingertips. And there in lies the problem, it’s right there at your fingertips – rather than your fingertips being on the keyboard typing your manuscript. I think you know what I’m saying.

Then add Twitter into the equation, checking your Facebook page and the time you need to review your emails and suddenly great swathes of time are eaten up and you’re wondering why you’re behind on word count when surely you’ve been writing all day.  In fact, no you’ve not been writing all day, you’ve been reading about writing all day.

It is a lot of fun being part of this marvellous Nanowrimo community and I found it to be a hugely supportive and encouraging place. But, it is also a massive distraction from writing and if you’re like me, it doesn’t take much to distract you from the task of writing. Did you just say – biscuit? Oops there I go again…

So, have a think about when you’ll visit the Forums and get involved with Twitter. Will you be someone who only connects once you’re written the 1667 words per day? Will you discipline yourself to visit only first thing in the morning or last thing at night. Yes, I thought that too, but then it creeps up on you. Perhaps I’ll just go on to update my word count, perhaps I’ll just check out how my writing buddies are doing and before you know it, you’re back in.

My plan this year is to head to my local library to write.  They currently have no Wifi available and so once you’re there, you really are committed to writing. The only downside is that there’s no coffee or muffins either – darn it!

I understand that there are a variety of Internet and website blocking software packages that you can install which switch off the Internet on your computer for a certain period of time. I’ve not ever used these. I’ve always been a bit paranoid that I might not ever be able to switch it back on again, but that probably says more about me than anything else.

So as with most things, it’s all about balance. Do use the Nanowrimo site to encourage and support you, particularly as there are likely to be days when you really need that support – usually for me around day 12 once the novelty has worn off. But do remember that you can switch it off too or at least limit your use and participation.

If you want to get more actively involved, head to one of the regional write-ins and actual meet some writers in the same situation as you. That way you can have a coffee, eat cake, discuss your characters and plot issues but most importantly you’ll also write while you’re there!

Preparing for Nanowrimo (Part 1)

145183630They say there’s a book in all of us.  Nanowrimo gives us an opportunity
to prove that. However, if you’ve decided to give it a go, this year,
there are some things to consider.

Having undertaken Nanowrimo for the past two years, the first year
successfully and the second not, there are some things that I have
learnt along the way that I thought I’d share with you. And of course
if you’ve done Nano yourself I’d love to hear from you. It would be
great if you’d share what worked for you and what didn’t. Plus of course
I’d love to engage with you generally on this Blog. Come on, don’t be shy. Say hello and tell me a  bit about yourself.

Anyway back to the original subject – firstly, remember that committing
to writing 1667 words every day for 30 days is manageable. However, you
might want to think about what other things you’ll  need to sacrifice in
order to achieve it, particularly if you are working full-time, running
a family, have a life etc. It’s a pretty easy equation to work out. In
order to say yes to Nano, you may well have to say no to dinner out with
a friend one evening.  In order to say yes to a walk on a sunny
November afternoon, you may well have to say no to Nano.  See simples!

You might also wish to consider what’s the best time of day for you to
write. Perhaps getting up an hour earlier each day during the dark
mornings of November works for you (it sounds crazy to me but hey
everyone’s different). Or perhaps you’re a night hawk and choose to stay
up at night once the rest of the household is in bed.  Give some
consideration to when you believe is a good time for you to write. If
you can get into a routine, this will help. After all most writers will
tell you, the best way to become a prolific writer is to write every
day. If you read Stephen King’s book ‘On Writing’, he states:

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others:
read a lot  and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that
I’m aware of, no  shortcut.”

Undertaking Nanowrimo at least gets you half way there – well for 30 days anyway.

So that’s it for today. To summarise, I think undertaking Nanowrimo is
like starting lots of new projects in life. Are you committed fully to
it or is it something you hope to slot into your life? Have a think
about what’s going on for you in November and consider what sacrifices
you might need to make whether that be not doing some of the things you
usually do or sacrificing an hour in bed each morning to ensure you get
up and write.

If you’re in, I wish you well and hope to see you here again.

Nanowrimo – only 1 week to go

158582760As you may already know I am currently writing my first novel and have been for some time now.  It all started when I signed up to do the Nanowrimo challenge back in 2011 which basically stands for National Novel Writing Month.  It’s an opportunity to write 50,000 words of your novel during the month of November and so this is where I started “My once upon a time” journey.  It was a lot of fun and I met with other writers undertaking the challenge at weekly write-ins to ensure that we all focussed on that all important word count or as the Leader of the Group would say, “Bums on chairs, fingers on the keys.” It’s a snappy phrase to remember.

Anyway, it’s quite an addictive process once you get hooked and so I’ve signed up again this year and as this Blog covers many of the things I’m interested in, I shall be blogging about my experiences.  The same posts will also appear on my specialist writing blog which you can find at

If you’re doing Nanowrimo this year, it would be great to hear your comments and connect with you.