It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here


I’ve known about NaNoWriMo since 2006. My best friend and at-the-time roommate told me about it. At the time, I was very unsure about the whole writing thing. I had half a dozen notebooks I’d filled with story ideas, poetry, fragments of scenes, even lines I thought sounded cool. But writing a novel? I was just nineteen! I didn’t know how to write. So, I didn’t write a single word that first year.

November 2007 rolled around. I swore I’d write.

I didn’t.


What stopped me? November is a tricky month for students because it’s right before finals. At the same time, I had no conception of how much/how little work writing 50,000 words is.

Winter 2012 rolled around and I enrolled in Brandon Sanderson’s Writing Fiction class. I was scared. I almost dropped out. Thanks to the cajoling of the aforementioned best friend and The Plotless’s own Tricia, I stuck it out. And wrote 50,000 words over the course of the semester.

NaNoWriMo is upon us again, and I thought I would do it. I mean, I know I can write 50,000. I have a lot more confidence and a bit more skill than before. Plus, I’m not in school anymore.

But hey, I might as well admit it here. I’m not sure writing 50,000 words is what my fledgling writing career needs right now. So, I’ve had to step back and think how to make NaNoWriMo work for me.

So, here are my goals. I’m committing them to you. (Hold me accountable!)

(1) Write 25,000 words of a new manuscript and

(2) Revise 25,000 words of an old one.

For those of you tackling this year’s WriMo, here are some tips that helped me get my first 50,000 out (sometimes, when I talk about that particular accomplishment, it sounds like I had a child. I understand writing 50,000 words of a rough draft is not equal to having a child. My apologies).

  • Don’t be afraid to experiment. No one is going to read what you write unless you want them to.
  • Don’t be afraid to write something bad.
  • Turn off your inner editor.
  • Anticipate and plan for days where you won’t get your writing done.
  • Hold yourself accountable.
  • Visualize success: and please, you’re a writer. Make your daydreams awesome.
  • Turn off your inner editor.
  • Stop believing in writer’s block. Your new reality is “butt in chair, fingers on keyboard.”
  • If you’re not having fun while writing, make it fun. Skip to scenes you’re looking forward to, write out of order, throw in an extra kissing scene, make a character say something embarrassing. You get the idea.
  • Turn off your inner editor (so important, I said it three times!).


What are your goals? What are your tips? Give me some good ones, since I’ve never revised a whole novel before!

2 thoughts on “It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here

  1. katlingee says:

    Hurray, NaNoWriMo! Well, I finished last year (my very first time) and my goals for this year are to write an additional 50,000 words onto that same novel (sad that it’s been a year since I’ve worked on it). Also, I would add that using their website for inspiration, word trackers, and encouragement also helps.

    My other tip is to remind yourself that you can keep working on that novel as long as you like, so time and experience is on your side. It’s a little less daunting when I think about it like that.

  2. Megan says:

    Everyone, this is Katherine! (See, now I’ve introduced you by name to the blog!) Good tips, btw.

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