#ROW80 Writing Advice, NaNo Edition

I don’t usually do this given that I kind of started ROW80 as a protest against NaNoWriMo, but I know we always have a bunch of folks who participate in both, and we will inevitably acquire some new folks after NaNo ends.  I’m even NaNoing myself this year (though on my own terms, not shooting for 50k in a month).  So I started rounding up NaNo Survival Advice.

Larry Brooks has a post a day from last year’s NaNo to help motivate you through.

And here’s a whole archive of past NaNo pep talks by famous authors.

Jenny Hansen on NaNo http://jennyhansenauthor.wordpress.com/2012/10/28/6-nanowrimo-tips-row80-and-a-new-twitter-handle/

Wisdom of James Scott Bell on the issue: http://killzoneauthors.blogspot.com/2012/10/how-to-write-novel-in-month.html#.UH7DG8WHL7P

I am a particular fan of

5. Make it your goal to begin each day with a “furious 500.”

8. Write a 200 word nightcap.

These last two are something I think we ROWers could easily adapt to our own goals.  Maybe we’re starting the day with a furious 50 (because, DUDE, caffeine!) and ending with 100 word nightcap–but that’s still an extra 1050 words a week on top of what we’re already working on.

This is just my informal roundup of stuff that’s flown by on my twitter stream.  Feel free to chime in and add your advice in the comments!  And even if you’re not NaNoing in the style they expect, remember that there’s nothing wrong with checking out the NaNo events in your area and taking part in the fevered frenzy to boost your own productivity at whatever level you can manage!

Happy writing!





  1. I decided to do NaNo on my own terms, too (Jenny Hansen pushed me over the edge). I’m shooting for 20K and will be happy with fewer if I feel that me WIP draft is finished. I know that means I won’t “win” NaNoWriMo, but I’ll be satisfied with completing my own personal goal. The furious frenzy in the morning and the nightcap ideas are great. Thanks for sharing these ideas.

  2. Kait –

    I have a very different approach, and, in August, using it, I completed 50K in ten days (mostly because I had a huge amount of homeschooling paperwork to submit to a contentious school superintendent on September 1, and that was a deadline I could not miss…).

    My approach is very simple, but also very difficult for most people in today’s world.

    I play.

    I revel in the weaving of the story. I delight in the things that happen that I never saw coming.

    When I get stuck, I don’t try to force myself. I don’t like my writing when I do that, so I avoid it as a general policy.

    I go do something else. I spend time with my family, go outside, go somewhere, write something else, play a game, do some hometending, watch TV….or I take a hot shower, where so man of my ideas are born.

    I don’t use “have to” word counts, and I don’t give myself rewards. The writing, when it’s flowing, fills me up, and, when it isn’t filling me up, I do something that will refill the well, allow time for pondering and relaxing.

    Because my children are home during the day, I tend to write in short bursts that add a few hundred words at a time (thanks to Natalie Goldberg’s writing practice, I am pretty fast, and I do very little editing as I write). As breaks between hometending tasks or in the times when the kids don’t need me, I can often get to the 1,667 just with those quick sessions.

    I often write for longer sessions when (if!) the house settles at night.

    That’s it. I made an agreement with myself when I did my first NaNo in 2009. I did not want it to upset the flow of our lives, or to rob Jim or the children of my attention. It was trickier then, with an 8 and 5 year old. In the last year or so, though, the children have become quite independent, and they like having a Mom who writes. It gets a bit easier to find the time without disrupting our flow every time I do it!

    I am a huge proponent, too, of doing challenges on my own terms, and for my own purposes.

    May we all have a joyful NaNo, whether we write 50 words, or 50,000 – or even more! =D

  3. This year is the first time I’m attempting NaNo, so I really appreciate any and all advice. I love the Furious 500 and all the chocolate references. 😉 Most of all, I love knowing I’m going into this with all the ROW80 support. I feel I’m one step ahead already!

  4. Great links, Kait! I’m not a NaNo person, not even a rebel, although I admire all our ROWers who take it on.

    All the advice is wonderful for writing in general. I particularly like the furious 500 and nightcap of 200. 700 words is all I might do in a day, but that would be more than acceptable.

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