Friday, September 25, 2015

Winning Nanowrimo: Gathering Support

But I don't need support? you say. I'm an independent person.

So am I.

But having friends helps, especially if you've never done Nanowrimo before. At the very least, it's good to know others are out there struggling with you. And at best, it could be the difference between failure and success.

What Do You Need?


Sometimes you need a little praise, a little inspiration, a little pat on the back. You need to know your writing matters and others are rooting for you to succeed. Find supportive writers, friends, and family to cheer you on when you meet a goal, to write you emails encouraging you to keep at it, or to plan a celebration with.



On the other end of the stick, sometimes it's good to have a person to remind you of your goals and to keep you to them. You can check in with a writing partner or even a strict friend every day or every week. If you don't report, they'll start asking you what's going on. Having someone to answer to can be a powerful motivator.


If you're just starting off, it might help to meet with someone who's gone before you, who knows the rapids. Maybe you need advice. Maybe you just need reassurance that the challenges you face are completely normal. If you don't know anyone personally, you can check the groups on


Extraverts thrive by being around others, and even introverts need to get out every now and then. Arrange meet times with other writers at your cafes or libraries to sit and write together. You can also talk about how Nanowrimo's been working out--but not too long. Remember, writing comes first!

A little friendly competition can create a push in the right kind of person. When I started off, my friend Michelle sent daily emails with the word count of all her friends. I began to quietly compete to have the highest daily word count and be the first to finish. (I came in second.) Another friendly way to compete: a word sprint. Whoever writes the most words in half an hour wins!

Free Time

If you have a busy schedule, you might have to draw on friends and family to help you out with chores and everyday nuisances while you put your energy into writing. It helps, for example, to have someone to babysit, so that you can have an hour to yourself to write. Maybe ask someone else to make that Thanksgiving turkey for you.

Whether or not you have a support group already, is a great resource to help you out. It's free. Sign in and create an account for your book. You'll then have access to the following:

Word Tracker

There's a little box at the top of your page for you to enter your accumulative word count. You can enter as many times as you want each day. Once your number is in, a little chart shows you how many words you've written, whether or not you're on schedule, and how many words per day you need to write to finish.

This little tool is my whole reason for registering. I'm addicted to entering my word count and watching my graph go up. I end up "competing" with the "daily word count," a rival graph that gets in his exact 1667 words each day. I always want to get ahead of it.

Pep Talks

You get pep talks now and then throughout the year, but once November comes, every single day you get a note in your Nanowrimo inbox with words of advice and encouragement. And some of those authors are pretty famous. I've gotten letters from some of my fantasy idols. It's not as personal as an email from your friend, but it's nice to know that published authors also share your pain.

Find Local Writers

You can find specific writers on Nanowrimo and join a local groups for write-ins, word sprints, raffles, and more. This is a great option for more social writers.


If you write 50,000 words at the end of the month, you have the option of verifying it. You copy and paste your entire text into the browser. No human eyes will look at it. They simply count the words and delete the document.

Once you hit 50,000 words, you get a badge and various writing-related prizes. I've seen anything from free online books to deep discounts on writing programs. I don't know how often I've used my free prizes... but it's nice to know I've got them, you know.


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