How I Know I’m Gonna Win NaNoWriMo!

Nanowrimo progress chart

I set myself up with nine strategies to get me to the end of November with a NaNoWriMo win. (A “win” is writing a 50,000 word novel in a month.) These strategies are working so well I’m going to use as many as I can on my next writing project.

  1. I wrote down and broadcast my NaNo goal. That way I risk public shame if I don’t write 50,000 words.:-)
  2. I set up a storyboard with character photos, setting photos, language reminders (my 19th Century family still throws around some Irish words), and a timeline. I won’t be wasting precious typing time trying to remember if Catherine has peach skin or olive skin, if Bo has red hair or black curls.

    novel writing storyboard
    The storyboard for my NaNo project.
  3. I married a super guy who supports my efforts.<3
  4. I have a detailed outline so I know where I’m going with each scene. I’m decidedly not a pantser. Kudos to those who are. I stare at the ceiling a lot and write in circles when I try to be a pantser.
  5. I uploaded a book cover image to the Nano website. The website says an author who uploads a book cover increases his or her chances of winning. I was a little skeptical at first, but I have to admit it does get you that much more excited about your project.
  6. Likewise, I added a couple of online writing “buddies” because Nano says that’ll increase my chances of winning.
  7. Back here IRL, I made a list of rewards to entice myself to keep going:

    NaNoWriMo milestone rewards
    I bought myself fresh flowers at 10k. Other notable rewards: order pizza for dinner at 30k, a trip to Barnes n Noble at 45k. I have budget-friendly rewards, too, like a long soak in a hot bath and a guilt-free weekend nap.
  8. I set up a whiteboard with progress graphics. The feature image of this post was my whiteboard on day one. I thought this was a cheesy idea at first, but Dan Ariely in Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind says you need to find a way to track creative projects in order to keep the excitement going. Someone who sells cars can easily see progress, two cars Tuesday, another car Wednesday. But in the middle of a first draft of a novel, it’s hard to grasp how far you’ve come without a visual aid. Aiely suggests things like writing about a project in a daily diary. I chose the standard thermometer. This is my whiteboard for day 20:

    Tracking Nanowrimo novel writing progress
    Bless Dear Husband. He hasn’t complained even though the whiteboard is sitting in the middle of the living room!
  9. And finally, I have higher word count days on weekdays so I can rest a bit on the weekends. Then the writing doesn’t seem so endless.

To others who are NaNo-ing, too, keep it up, we’re almost there!

23 thoughts on “How I Know I’m Gonna Win NaNoWriMo!

  1. 50 000 words in a month is hard work, Priscilla. I am very admiring of those who undertake this exercise. November is a busy month for me work and school wise as we wind down for a long Christmas summer holiday in December in South Africa. My boys also both write exams at this time of year. I don’t know if I could manage 50 000 words even in December. It requires great dedication.

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  2. This looks awesome, Priscilla, and so much fun. I love the idea of your rewards, and I’m going to try that for my next book.

    I’m assuming you won. Your whiteboard is fantastic. Lots of great ideas here.

    If you do it again next year, I’m KickboxingWriter, and would be happy to be your writing buddy. Thanks for visiting my blog.


  3. I love this! I am not a writer but I am always curious about how different people approach things. I made my reading goals publicly on my blog this week so that I would be accountable and I know that small rewards work for me. Looks like you did great!


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