How To Win NaNoWriMo: MY GAME PLAN (may include satire, be warned)

by - October 09, 2019

THAT TIME OF YEAR IS UPON US. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, the time of year when writers lose their minds and hundreds of thousands of words are written in a single month across the globe. It's an amazing event, and one I always look forward to.

This will be my fifth time participating in the November event (I've done a number of Camps but I'm not counting those), and my third time going for the full 50k (the first two times, I was a kid so I used the kids' program and got a smaller goal. 25k the first year, 30k the second year.) I'm actually going to attempt a double NaNo, 100k, which is probably insane and I'll probably die.

I don't want to die, and I don't want you to die either, if you're attempting NaNo, so...Here is a list from a veteran of WAYS TO SURVIVE NaNO!!!!!!!!!!


This is a mistake that a lot of us fall into. We want to write, so we decide to throw everything else we're doing to the wind. Nothing matters besides typing, clacking, slamming out those 50,000 words. Everything is amazing. 

That's not how it works.

Things like keeping up with the laundry, doing the dishes after every meal, and going out to get dinner every week are the sort of thing you can allow to slide off the priority list. Taking a blogging hiatus? Do it if you think it'll help! (More on that later.) But throwing off all relationships, priorities, and everything else is a BAD idea. You still have a life, even if you're a writer on a deadline. This reminder goes to me, too. So we all need to remember that.


There's this thing called #10k1Day (also comes in the slightly less daunting flavor of #5k1day), where you set apart one day to write as much as you possibly can, with a goal of getting 5,000 or 10,000 words in one go. These can be really helpful for upping your word count quickly.

My plan is to pick a couple of days when I won't have to work or go to church, get all my schoolwork done on the day before, and write as much as is physically possible for me. I'm thinking one of those days, I might even attempt a 20k1day, which is probably the last thing I'll ever do, but we'll see.

It's always a good idea to schedule these in advance, as soon as you've got a schedule that you know for a fact will exist. One tip I'd extend is: try to stagger them out a bit. Do a couple of big ones at the BEGINNING of November, when you're still excited about this project and the writing is exciting and doesn't feel like drudgery. However, it's not a bad idea to schedule a couple of big writing days toward the end of the month, so you get that big writing push to finish strong.


I'm a blogger as well as an author. I know a lot of y'all are, too. So obviously figuring out how to fit blogging into this crazy writing month can be a bit of a struggle.

I'd say there are three options when it comes to blogging over NaNoWriMo, which are:
>Take a hiatus and don't post at all. (Definitely the easiest way to do it, and not a bad idea at all.)
>Schedule out your posts in advance so they're written and still posting, but you don't have to make time to write them. (Probably what I'm going to do this year.)
>Or, pull a Christine and put out insane update posts every week that could probably add 25k to your total word count by the end of the month. (This is definitely a cool way to keep your readers in the loop, but honestly I'm not sure how Christine is still alive.)

My plan is to do a combination of the last two options this year. I'm going to write some "regularly scheduled" posts, but only two of them, and the other two November posts will be writing updates shrieking about my novel and my progress. There will likely be a handful of snippets! There will be aesthetics! It'll be a nice break!

Whatever method you choose, the most important thing about blogging in November is this: make a plan, and stick to it.


This isn't the time for exploration writing. This isn't the time to pick a vague back of your mind idea and go with that. You need something that burns you with passion, a project where the characters and premise intrigue you and keep you up at night, a story you love and having a burning need to tell the world about.

My project for NaNoWriMo this year is....*deep breath* *screams* PENTEGREENS BOOK 4!!!!! (title under wraps because #Spoilers). I've been slaving away at this series for years now, and I'm finally, finally, FINALLY going to be writing the last book. That's surreal, you guys. It's not even possible. How am I finally wrapping up this epic? How am I supposed to put the last book of the story of my heart out on the page? I don't know, but I see no better time to do it than this November.

So choose a story that pricks you with fascination, one that you love and know you can keep loving even when it gets tedious and you don't know how to keep on. Pick a story that reminds you of why you write.


On Goodreads, there's a group called Year-Long NaNo where the members can keep each other updated on their word counts, goals, and other such things. This is a really great idea and it definitely helps to have someone to yell at you if you're getting behind on your goal.

My best friend Nicki Chapelway and I, for the months of September and October, have been trying to duel to write the third books in our series. We're holding each other accountable for getting them written, but we're also forcing ourselves to write faster, write more, and stay on track. I also have one of my lovely alpha readers, Lila Kims, reading my book in sections, and ensuring that I keep ahead of where she's reading and have new sections to send her is also helping me write fast so I can finish my goal.

Whether it's a group, a single accountability partner, or daily updates on your Instagram stories, find a way to get people to encourage you in your journey. You CAN write on your own, but where's the fun in that? Get your friends to help you out--and help them, too! 


My plan for the month of November is to ban myself entirely from Pinterest. I spend far too much time over there, and I need to be focused. If I'm not spending time on Pinterest, I'll have more writing time.

However, I also plan to use October to make a healthy serving of aesthetics for my book, my characters, and my storyworld, and then save those to my computer so that if I need inspiration, I can scroll through and remember why I love this series. I've also made all my playlists in advance, and I'm going to spend October padding them out and making them longer so that I don't have to spend all my time looking for new music when I get bored.

Aesthetics are helpful tools, but they're also time wasters. Plan accordingly and give yourself the tools you need to succeed, without giving yourself the chance to get sucked into the infinite black hole of Pinterest or Spotify.


This is so important. Sometimes, we can't win. Things pop up in life that we weren't planning on. The story is a lot harder than we thought it was going to be. The story ends 45k in and we don't know what to do after that. Your school piles up. Work suddenly puts you on overtime. You get sick.

If you CAN keep writing, do. Don't just give up. But if you CAN'T write anymore, if you CANNOT do it, do not let your goals make you a miserable human. You're still a beautiful, worthy writer, and the words you've gotten out are still valuable and precious. It's okay if you can't win. I've had to quit a number of Camps, and I barely thought I was going to finish my goal in November 2018. 

Your worth is not tied to hitting 50k. Have fun, do your best, but don't despair if you don't win NaNo. Hitting 50k is not the only way to win. You still wrote words. And I know that feels empty at first, but as someone who's had to quit four separate times, I understand. And I'm telling you right now: It's okay. It's tough. But it's gonna be okay. 

Your words still matter. And you wrote them. 

And there you have it: Faith's Guide to Surviving and Thriving in NaNoWriMo! I hope this was helpful and you'll have something to take away from it xD 

Are you doing NaNo this year? What's your best survival tip, if you've done it before? Chat with me in the comments! I want to hear allll about your November plans!

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  1. This post is INCREDIBLE and I'm definitely bookmarking it to fall back on! It's also got me even more excited for NaNo than I already was!!!

    1. AHHHHH I am so ridiculously glad to hear that!!!!!!

  2. These are all really helpful hacks and tips! I'm still not sure if I will be participating. I have a lot of art related commitments at the moment, and I don't know if I'll be able to overcome the backlog in time.

    1. Thanks! And that's totally understandable. It happens sometimes--I already know I'm not going to be able to draw at ALL in November.

  3. Admit it: Christine is a magical being, blessed with fairy dust and the time stone.

    These are some great tips and hacks! I think I may even try the "Quit Pinterest" hack this time. At least for writing. Might have to use it to find recipes and stuff at night. I didn't pin much for my story anyway, so I don't think I would even need it.

    I'm actually planning to do a 12-hour write-a-thon and I do have a post coming out next week to see if anyone wants to join in. Don't know if anyone will, but it would definitely fit into one of the "big goal days" if anyone needs something specific.

    1. *nods* I will happily concede because that's the only explanation xD

      Yeah, that's probably smart xD I think it'll help me a lot.

      OOH that would be amazing! It'll depend on what day of the week it is for me, of course, but...ya know. I'd love something like that!

  4. Dude you sound like a NaNo pro with your wise do's and don'ts!!! I am really excited for NaNo this year.

  5. *hides face and giggles uncontrollably at your mention of me* I am not alive. I died long ago. It is my ghost who does all these insane things. The end.

    OKAY BUT THIS POST. Suuuuch good advice! YES to accountability partners and writing a project you genuinely love. Literally the only way I survive.

    AND OH MY GOODNESS YOU'RE WRITING THE FINAL PENTEGREENS BOOK. *SCREECHES* GO, FAITH! THIS IS GONNA BE AMAZING! I also love that even the TITLE is spoilers. Man, this book is going to kill us all and I CAN'T WAIT!

    1. XD It's official, everyone!!!!! Honestly I'm not surprised at all.

      Thank you!!!!!! I'm hopeful that those will be the things that get me through this year because OY. I might die. possibly.

      AGHHHHH YASSSSS I am so glad you're excited!!!!! And humbled, too *hides face* You're so sweet! Thank youuuuu

  6. Ah I see you have a long list of actually good tips. See my tips would have been something along the lines of: Scream, scream some more, scream a lot, are you screaming yet?

    You had better keep me accountable XD XD XD

    I honestly don't know what I am going to do for my blogging schedule but I'm banking on the fact that if I can survive finishing SoS in October I can do pretty much anything and NaNo will be a breeze XD I know, I know, I am a fool and I will die a fool, but shhh let me have my peace of mind XD


    1. Well, there will be much screaming xD Just wait til I blow up your phone from text message overload

      Oh I shall *cracks knuckles*

      Dude, if you can finish SoS in October, you can absolutely survive NaNo xD I have full and complete faith in you and you're not a fool at all.

      AHHHHH YESSS *screaming* *loudly*

  7. Seriously, though, YOU GOT THIS!!! 100K is tough, but amazingly fun and seriously, you're gonna have an EPIC NaNo!

    1. Thank you!!!!! I think I'm actually going to be able to do it *screams* Let's see if I can! And I hope you have a great NaNo too!!!!!!

  8. Five years, wow! I've been doing it three years and though I won easily enough every year, I've decided to not do it this year. I'm just not feeling like adding another thing to my plate right now ;p


  9. These are great tips! I especially like the first one, I've always felt bad because I was too busy to do NaNo stricly because of all the other things in my life, but I think this year I might give it a go - we'll see if I can pick the right plot bunny project! Good luck in your November scrambling!

    1. Ack that's so awesome!!!!! I hope you can do it. It's genuinely a ton of fun even if it can be a lot to handle xD And it's so great for building up good writing habits. Thanks! You too!!!!

  10. EEEK NANO!! This'll be my first year doing it an I'm so excited. Thank you for the tips!

    And please survive. <333

    1. AHHHHHH that's so awesome!!!!! I can't wait to hear about your progress :D

      Thanks xD You too! <3

  11. Tips!! I've attempted it for the last two years, but I am actually going to do it this year (*gulps* I hope)

    PENTEGREENS 4!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. Yay Clare!!!!! That's so awesome and I wish you the best of luck.


  12. These are fantastic tips! Best of luck with Nano, I'm rooting for you!
    (no one knows how Christine is still alive. XD)

  13. This is honestly just an incredible guide that should be read by everyone before every NaNo! Especially that last tip: sometimes we get so caught up in the worrd count, that we forget about the words, and that every word we wrote is valuable and important and a stepping stone towards the incredible goal of actually penning a novel. Sitting down to do that and getting anything written is an accomplishment. It's nice to be reminded of that. :)

    And 20k in one day??? THAT'S INSANE, but absolutely rooting for you to make that goal!!! I can't wait to see how this NaNo goes for you!

    Also, I wanted to let you know that I tagged you for something. Feel totally free to ignore it if you don't want to do it, or don't have time, whatever, but I thought I'd just let you know. :)


    1. Oh my word Alexa :') thank you so much!!! I'm glad it's helpful to you! And it's a reminder that I need far more often than I'd care to admit, so I'm always happy to share. <3

      It is insane! It's probably too insane, honestly, but I'm going to try. Thank you so much!!!!! I'll be posting updates for sure ;)

      Awww thank you so much!!!!! <3 No clue when I'll get to that but it looks like a fun one ;)

  14. LOVE THIS POST and MUST take all these tips to heart <333 These last months of the year are SO INSANE for me, what with... well, everything, so I hope I can stay alive in November. Plus I'm doing something different... I've never written a contemporary... and since it's basically #ownvoices (BECAUSE NOBODY WRITES ABOUT TEENS LIKE ME), yeah, that's what "burns me with passion" this year. :D Let's hope I actually manage it. Heheh.

  15. Yesss this is a great post!! NaNo is honestly so insane and we need all the help we can get. xD (HOW. HOW IS IT SO SOON.)

    I'm scared and excited for NaNo, which I think is pretty much everyone's feelings toward it? Buuut this year I'm hoping I can be more organized and disciplined and, huh, maybe ACTUALLY make my daily word count goal instead of barely scraping by until the twenty-fifth and then writing like a maniac to make it to the end. xD

    Good luck with NaNo! Let's try not to lose our minds! (lol what am I thinking)


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