How to OWN NaNoWriMo (like a boss, obviously) – 2016 EDITION

This is an updated version of this post.

Today, it’s September. You may be reading this post in October, or November, or in 2017, but today, it’s September. Today, it’s 35 days till NaNoWriMo begins again. (According to Siri, anyway.) And when it comes, you better own it: like a boss, or not at all.

So here you go: how to own NaNoWriMo, like the boss you totally are.


Ever heard of NaNo Prep? This is the planning that leads up to November. When you start your Prep depends on you and your novel:

Reasons to begin Prep in September:

  • If your novel is complex and requires lots of research, you may find it more suitable to begin in September.
  • If you have a tight schedule, starting Prep in September will grant you more time than if you start a month later.

Reasons to begin Prep in October:

  • You can’t update your novel info on the NaNo site until October.
  • Your ideas will be fresher in your mind by November, which is especially helpful if you have a short attention span as a writer.

But how the heck does one actually Prep successfully? Try this post I made a few weeks ago, How I Plan My Novels & Why it Works.

(For YWP users) Aim high

If you’re between the ages of 9 and 13, you may be participating in NaNoWriMo’s YWP program. But even if you aren’t in that age range, the YWP is a great place for first-timers or those with tight schedules who are unable to write the entire 50,000 words required of the regular NaNo; as a YWP user, you can choose your word count.

Sounds fantastic, doesn’t it?

Well, if you think the YWP is for you, don’t forget to aim high with your WC. Put your goal 5,000+ words higher than you think you can do, and you never know, you may surprise yourself! (During Prep last year I was going to write a 30,000-word novella. I wrote the full 50,000. Never underestimate yourself, kiddos.)

Put your earbuds in …

2016-playlist-screenshotA lot of writers tend to have difficulty focusing on their work due to noise and activity happening around them. (I think that line applies to most everyone, actually.) I have three younger siblings and two dogs who don’t know the difference between a squirrel and a thief: I know all about this problem.

I think you already know where I’m going with this.

If I actually want to get things done, I always listen to music while I’m writing. I’m listening to music right now. It’s an easy way to better focus on your writing.

A lot of the time, it helps to create playlists of songs with specific moods for writing certain scenes. (Ex: a playlist for sad music, angry music, love songs, etc.) And, if music with lyrics only distracts you further, download a collection of instrumental songs. I find the best tend to be soundtracks for movies like The Hobbit or Tron, and artists like Lindsey Stirling.

Don’t isolate yourself for a month

Isolating yourself can be fine: I did it some last year, and I don’t think I would have reached my WC if I hadn’t. But pushing yourself away from your family and friends every day for your writing is too much. Remember to talk to people every once in a while, instead of chatting with your characters.

Slay Doubt

slay-doubt(What’s with the word “doubt” anyway? Why’s the “B” even there?)

Remember Doubt? For most writers, he’s become an old friend. He’s the one that whispers negativity into your ear, and what he says depends on the person. For you, he may be saying, “You’re not good enough,” or “This sucks, just stop now.”

Gee, thanks.

Sometimes it helps to give your doubt a name; I call mine David. Now that your doubt is an object, it’s easier to scare him off your turf.

Schedules conflict; it’s what they do. You won’t meet your daily WC every single day, and that’s okay. No big. The only person who’s expecting you to be perfect is you. Don’t forget that, okay?

With this kind of positivity, there’s no room for Doubt to settle down and get comfy. How’s that for slaying doubt?

Be boss

To be boss means to be “excellent” or “outstanding.” Everyone should be boss in everything they do, and yes, that includes NaNo. In 35 days, you’re going to become the most boss writer this world has ever known. And you’re going to rock.

See you soon, Wrimos, and good luck with your Prep!

2 thoughts on “How to OWN NaNoWriMo (like a boss, obviously) – 2016 EDITION

    1. I know, I can’t believe it! I’m doing some serious procrastinating on my NaNo Prep, but maybe I’ll catch up in October. 😉

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