Pub(lishing) Crawl Tips for NaNoWriMo 2013

2013-Participant-Vertical-BannerIt’s that time again! NaNoWriMo time! You all know how much I adore National Novel Writing Month. Heck, I set up a forum/bootcamp specifically for NaNoWriMo camaraderie, so when I talk about NaNo, you all KNOW I’m Super Serious.

To get you all ready and excited, I wanted to share tips and info on what NaNoWriMo is and how to reach the end.


When you sing, you begin with do-re-mi… Wait, wrong song. When you WRITE, you begin with Na-No-Wri-Mo… 😉


  • If you can, daily routines are very helpful for powering through NaNoWriMo. Notify your family, friends, and coworkers now. Tell them you need uninterrupted time during your lunch break/after dinner/before school/etc. It helps if you inform people of your NaNo goals so they don’t get grumpy when you ignore them. 😉
  • Having a solid idea of what you’re going to write when you sit down November 1 helps keep your word count high and writing focused. If you outline, then you’re already golden for this. But, if you’re a panster, then using this headlight method–planning just as far ahead as the “headlights” reach–can be amazingly helpful. I recently did an entire series about my approach to planning a book. Check it out here.
  • For some people, a playlist can really 1) help get you in the mood to write, 2) help you imagine the scene you’re about to write, and 3) continue to stay “in” the scene as you type away. Plus, it can be great for blocking out outside distractions. Here are some Pub(lishing) Crawl posts about music:
  • If you can, find a good location in which to write. This is an intentionally vague suggestion because MY good location isn’t going to be the same as YOUR good location. Be it a coffee shop, your bed, or your best friend’s couch, if you can try to find time working at the best place for your creativity, you’ll really see your word count skyrocket.
  • Find the writing tools that work best for you. Here are some posts about various tools of the trade from Pub(lishing) Crawl:
  • Avoid distraction (and probably the internet) when you draft! If you know what your distraction-weaknesses are (for me it’s Twitter and Pinterest), then do whatever you can to make those distractions impossible to get to. I usually unplug my router.
  • Take care of your body. Eat well, sleep well, and DON’T DRINK ENERGY DRINKS. Not only will they make you pee uncontrollably (I am not even making this up), but they just aren’t good for your creative mind. You want to reach the end of November alive, right?


  • The stats tab on your dashboard is going to be your best friend. It has a useful graph to show your daily progress related to the recommended 1,667 daily word count. Seriously, it’s SO satisfying to log into your account, update your progress, and watch the bar graph climb.
  • If you need a little nudge or want a brief break from the keyboard, head to the Pinterest board that I set up last year  for NaNoWriMo. I’ll be pinning more motivational quotes and the occasional motivating hot guy this year!
  • A lot of people will meet up with other NaNo-ers in their region. You can hang out at coffee shops or libraries or whatever, but it’s great knowing all these other people are in the exact same boat as you. For some people, it really gets the creative mojo going.
  • If you can’t meet with people in person (or don’t want to), then writing sprints online are a great tool! You can join in a #BAMFWordBattle, start your own #BAMFWordBattle, drop by this forum, or just reach out to other NaNo-ers on twitter. Then, set a timer for some specific interval (I usually do 30 min) and write-write-write as fast as you can! Meet back after your time is up to see who “won”.


And there you have it, my dears. Please share your own tips and advice if you’ve got any!! Now, let’s get ready to NANO IT UP!!


10 Responses to Pub(lishing) Crawl Tips for NaNoWriMo 2013

  1. Julie Eshbaugh Oct 28 2013 at 9:18 am #

    This is a magnificent collection of tips! Thanks for collecting all these resources, Susan! 🙂

    • Susan Dennard Oct 28 2013 at 3:37 pm #

      You’re so welcome, Julie!! Some of those resources came from you, so I should really be thanking YOU! <3

  2. Stephanie Scott Oct 28 2013 at 12:26 pm #

    If I have some downtime this week, I might put up a Pinterest board for some inspiration. I tend to start and then abandon those though, so not sure if it will actually help me. My story idea generated from a photo (of a place I later visited) so seems like a good idea!

    To stay focused I need to realize I won’t be able to keep up with as much social media. I have a few other writerly stuff going on in November I’ll have to manage my time for. I think goal setting and managing time is really key.

    • Susan Dennard Oct 28 2013 at 3:38 pm #

      Ah, social media–it’s totally my worst distraction and time-suck. I’m gonna REALLY have to hunker down, switch of my router, and get focused if I want to accomplish anything this November. 😛

      But yay for Pinterest!!

  3. Tim Oct 28 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    First time i’ll be doing it this year!

    As a matter of interest, do you have any advice on editing a novel that, because of the amount of changes that are needed, is more of a large rewrite?

  4. Chelsea Oct 28 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    Susan, this is AWESOME!! Thanks so much for this list!!

  5. Alexa Y. Nov 6 2013 at 3:39 am #

    I LOVE YOU SUSAN. You’re such an inspiring person and author, and I’m excited to embark on this NaNoWriMo adventure with you all over again this year. (Can you believe I first started chatting with you last year BECAUSE of NaNo? It’s pretty darn amazing!). I may have gotten a late start, but I’m determined to write another 50K this year! Thanks for all the helpful advice and links 🙂

Leave a Reply to Tim Click here to cancel reply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.