STOP – Before You Overthink NaNoWriMo

What is NaNoWriMo?

Participants must write an average of approximately 1,667 words per day in November to reach the goal of 50,000 words written toward a novel.

Why is this a big deal?

A lot of writers use it as a time to refocus on writing, step back from any other distractions, and it’s a time of the year where many people might write their first actual books.

Why do I say STOP?

Because right now social media is flooded with people talking about preparing NaNoWriMo.

Which is great. If it’s something you want to do, you should prepare. But prepare lightly. You are giving yourself a very tight deadline. Over preparing can give yourself burn out way faster.

All you need are these three essentials-

  1. Something to write on – For most of us a computer
  2. A plot – KISS (Keep It Simple Silly, Heros journey is super easy to use)
  3. Time set aside

Don’t worry about notes and plot holes. Don’t spend time thinking about how you should have described a door differently. That’s for your second go.


The goal here is to get the writing out. Which can be hard. But participating in this worldwide event gives people a sense of unity in the industry. It gives you time to focus and a chance to see what you really can do. Just don’t over think it.

Keep everything simple. Especially if it’s your first book. The first work is going to be super rough, let it be rough, be disappointed in it. THEN FIX IT. But get your 1667 words a day in every day before you start trying to edit.


As far as plotting goes I recommend something simple, pick a quick plot that you can easily break down into 1 sentence descriptions of each chapter.


  1. hero is faced with a task, rejects the task
  2. hero sees the consequences of rejecting the task
  3. hero attempts to make amends and then accepts fate and accepts the task
  4. hero fails at the task
  5. hero finds someone who can teach him what he’s missing to accomplish the task
  6. hero undergoes training and grows as a person
  7. hero faces bad guy, almost wins but fails
  8. teacher dies or is harmed as a result of the hero’s failure, the hero realizes what must be done
  9. the hero goes to face his final battle knowing what must be done
  10. the hero fights and wins
  11. the hero returns to his starting point having changed as a person for the better


That’s really short and simple, but effective. Can you guess what book or movie I used for it?

Also, if you want to in that you can have the hero go get a sword or something for length.

You don’t need a pile of paper, sticky notes, a new computer, a month-long vacation, 5 NaNoWriMo support groups on Facebook, to compare yourself to others, to produce polished work, or spend a month living in a castle, you need yourself. You have yourself. (All those things I listed are real things I’ve seen people do/get)

It’s all IN YOU and you can DO IT!

(If you’re wondering where to start, just remember you can redo the beginning after you write the end)

Remember, this is a first draft. NaNoWriMo is for getting the words out. It’s for building the habit of writing a good amount every day. Get it done.

Best of luck to all of you!

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