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How I'll Win NaNoWriMo

Every year, writers around the globe do something completely terrifying: they try to write a novel in 30 days. This year, I’m joining them!  

For those not familiar with NaNoWriMo, here’s how it works:  

  • 30 days  
  • A 50,000-word count target  
  • 1667 words to write a day  

The aim is to walk away with 50,000 words of novel that you didn’t have before. If you hit  50,000 words, you're a winner! How does waking up on December 1st with 50,000 words under your belt sound? To me, it sounds like exactly what I need...  


I’m around 7,000 words into a novel that I started working on in July. I work full time, have a social life (believe it or not!), and I still have to find the time to cook, eat, and generally be a functioning human being. All of this is not conducive to finding writing time!  


So how am I going to magically have the time to write every day in November? My suspicion is that the time was there all along – and that NaNoWriMo is just going to help me commit to it.  


For me, there are three components to a successful NaNoWriMo:  

  • Accountability 
  • Incentive
  • Schedule

Accountability is what I’m doing here. By writing this post, I’m saying that if I don’t get 50k words down in November, you’re all allowed to tell me off. Jericho members will be given complimentary rotten produce to throw at me. Hopefully, though, this will make sure that I do hit the target! Publicly committing to a goal makes you much more likely to achieve it - it shows you’re taking your goal seriously and, in this case, a little peer pressure won’t hurt!  


However, I know that’s not quite incentive enough. So, I’ll be making sure that I have rewards for hitting my goals. From the very simple ‘you’re not allowed to shower until you’ve written X number of words’ to not letting myself listen to Christmas music (which I already kind of want to put on) until I’ve hit 50k, having rewards to look forward to will keep my brain on track.  


But neither of these work without the most important ingredient: schedule. Saying ‘I’m going to write today’ is seldom as effective as saying ‘I’m going to write for an hour at 6pm today’ - unless you schedule the time in, something else is always going to take priority.  


I’ve made it slightly easier for myself by booking annual leave for the first week of November. My plan is to get ahead on my word count in the first week so that it’s not the end of the world if some days I just don’t have the time to write. Once I’m back at work, I’m hoping to write from 8am-9am, something that might feel horrendous when my alarm goes off but is something I’ll have to commit to if I want a finished draft – which I really really do! 


Doing NaNoWriMo this year? Considering it? Why not sign up for our free, OPEN TO ALL, event on Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo? On October 25th, join Elizabeth Haynes, Rachel Herron, and our very own Sarah Juckes as they reveal just how to reach the mighty 50,000-word target...  


Join our community group for NaNoWriMo 2021 here. Writing alongside other people is sure to keep your motivation up!  


How are you going to stay accountable, be incentivised, and create a schedule? Will you use these tips to complete NaNoWriMo, or just to keep your writing on track? Let me know in the comments!  

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