Posts Tagged ‘NaNoWriMo’


By: Kathie Scrimgeour

It’s that time of year when writers around the world go a little crazy by attempting to write a 50,000 word novel in a single month. Will you be one of them this year?

In the past, Writing from the Peak has posted a number of articles to help you through this month and the list below will hook you up with some of my favorites. First, and most importantly, hop over to the official NaNoWriMo website where you will find a plethora of information on everything NaNoWriMo.

Links to get you through the month

Hopefully, by now, you are ready to write starting on Sunday, November 1, 2020. As for me? This year will be dedicated to editing, but I’ll be cheering all of you crazy writers to reach whatever goal you have set for yourself.

Best of luck to all of you!!

KJ Scrim, head shot

Managing Editor, Kathie “KJ” Scrim, is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, or rock climbing at the local gym. You will find her on her website, Facebook, and Twitter: @kjscrim.

NaNoWriMo by the Numbers

Are you doing NaNo? Do you know what day it is? How are your fingers holding up? Had a shower recently? Where is your family? Are you a Wrimo? Odd questions? Maybe not. Here’s one more: Did you hit 25,000 today?

NaNoWriMo logo

If you haven’t already heard, NaNoWriMo, (National Novel Writing Month) is an event that brings writers together from across the globe in order to write a 50,000 word novel in a single month. Today, November 15, 2019 is the middle. The halfway point. Today you should hit 25,000 words.

Here are a few numbers that you might also like to know:

In 2018:

• There were 403,542 participants (including 108,146 students and educators in the Young Writers Program). If all the participants finished, with an even 50,000 words each, that’s 20,177,100,000 words written in a month!

• 978 volunteer Municipal Liaisons (these are your local organizers and inspiration guides) guided 655 regions on six continents.

• 1,176 libraries, bookstores, and community centers opened their doors to novelists through the Come Write In program.

Who Does NaNo?

Thousands (367,913 to be exact) of NaNoWriMo novels have been completed, and hundreds have been traditionally published as a direct result of NaNo. Here are just a few:

Sara GruenWater for Elephants
Jason HoughThe Darwin Elevator
Hugh Howey, Wool
Marissa MeyerCinder
Erin MorgensternThe Night Circus
Rainbow RowellFangirl

The Best Part of NaNo?

The numbers are amazing to achieve, but the end result is what matters the most. If you write 25,000 words or 75,000 words, or even a simple outline of 200 words, you have started what many people only dream of…you will have drafted a novel. You will have joined the ranks of writers who are doing what they love, not just dreaming about it.

To everyone participating this year…
You’re halfway there! KEEP ON WRITING!

KJ Scrim, head shot

Managing Editor, Kathie “KJ” Scrim, is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, or rock climbing at the local gym.

The Five Insurmountable Problems of NaNoWriMo

By DeAnna Knippling

So you’re thinking about doing NaNoWriMo this year for the first time. Or you’re thinking about doing better this year. Or you’re partially through NaNo and you’re stuck and you hate life and you’re reading NaNo blogs because you just like to punish yourself for not being good enough as a writer.

Um, yeah.

NaNoWriMo is a kind of hothouse of writing.

NaNoWriMo is a kind of hothouse of writing. It brings up all kinds of ugly things that encapsulate our failures as writers – or at least the failures as we see them.

So let’s get past that, not by treating NaNoWriMo as a kind of writers’ resolution, (”This year, I will write 50,000 words, mostly by…I don’t know, just forcing myself!”) but by looking at the root causes.

Here’s my premise: anything that stops you from writing is a bad writing technique.

1. I don’t know what to write.

Tip: Pick the first memorable person you think of, drop them in a memorable setting (it’s easier if you know the setting reasonably well), and give them a problem they can’t solve using their normal M.O. (that is, don’t give a firefighter a fire to put out–give them a parent with cancer).

It’s not that we don’t know what to write. It’s that we get hung up on finding the perfect thing to write. Why is that? Because we’re secretly convinced that stories aren’t about how the story’s told, but about the idea that sets them off.

And yet. Everybody who’s ever admitted to being a writer in public has heard this: “I have this great idea for a book. Why don’t you write it for me – I’ll even give you a percentage of the profits. Fifty-fifty!” As though the idea was worth half the work in the book. You’d laugh at that person…if it wasn’t you.

If you’re held up on the idea, then coming up with the perfect idea has got to go. Because anything that stops you from writing is a bad writing technique.

2. I have no time to write.

Tip: Give up Facebook and Twitter for November. If you want to get really extreme, give up all non-job reading and entertainment for the month…no reading, no games, no going out, no socializing…but them’s desperate measures.

You have time to write. I’m sorry, you do. It’s not about time, it’s about fear.

I once had a talk with my daughter about math class, which she normally likes and finds easy. She had a math teacher who threw things at her faster than she’s comfortable with. I could have a talk with the teacher about slowing things down for her or helping her somehow. Maybe getting her a tutor (well, other than me). Instead my daughter and I discussed learning and what it feels like, and how easy it is to run away from feeling like that. I told her that part of a good teacher’s job is to unsettle you, to get you used to and over the terror of learning.

I told her it’s okay to take breaks from your homework, but she can’t run away.

You have time to write; it’s just easier to justify cooking healthy meals and spending some extra time with the kids and doing laundry and Dr. Who and even puttering around on Facebook than it is to face learning something new. If you have fifteen minutes, you can have a page of fiction.

Yes. You can. When you’re not screwing around like a kid trying to avoid homework. When you’re not paralyzed by fear.

Telling yourself you have no time to write stops you from writing–it’s a bad writing technique.

3. I write nothing but crap.

Tip: Check all the items on this list:

  • Did I drink enough water?
  • Have I eaten? Have I eaten something other than crap during one of my last two meals?
  • Have I had enough sleep?
  • Have I had enough exercise?
  • Have I journaled/stress relieved lately?

Some people are surprised to find out that mental effort is physically draining, and learning something new is even worse. NaNo is a writing marathon, and it will burn energy and other resources faster than you’re used to. When you feel drained and horrible about your writing, first check that your body (or subconscious) isn’t trying to send you a message: I need fueland/or repairs.

The other part of this issue is the nature of crap.

The bad news is that we all write crap. The good news is that when you know you’re writing crap, it means you’re ahead of the game–seriously. In order to learn something new, you have to be uncomfortable with where you are now. Viscerally. Painfully.

The idea that you have to feel like you’re writing well in order to be a good writer sounds logical but it will keep you from writing and improving. It’s a bad writing technique!

4. I wrote for a while, but now I’m stuck and I don’t know what to do.

Tip: Write the next thing. Or maybe back up a paragraph or two, delete that, and then write the next thing.

A few years ago I took up knitting as a bucket-list kind of thing. I’d failed miserably at it as a kid – my mom’s right-handed to my leftiness, and she’s no good at explaining things from the other direction. I thought I was doomed. However, then I realized I have the Internet. I must have gone through fifty knitting videos on learning how to get started knitting before I found The One That Made Sense. At one point, I could have watched knitting videos all day. Instead of actually, you know, knitting.

You can, and should, and will do research to find out what works for you. But it has to be based on your personal trial and error, not on other people’s advice. No class, no mentor, no co-author can replace Butt in Chair, Fingers on Keyboard. The only way to get comfortable with writing is to write.

But what if you’re stuck? Seriously stuck? And you can’t write another word?

You can. You must.

During any long writing project, you will more than likely get stuck at some point, especially as you realize you have no idea what you’re doing, what you’ve been doing, or what you’re going to do next. I’ve talked to writers at various levels of experience. As far as I can tell, this feeling never goes away.

So you look up and realize you’ve painted yourself into a corner. Oh, no – there’s no way to get the characters out of this situation! Clearly, it’s time to completely rewrite the entire book. Or just quit writing. FOREVER.

Except there always is a way out of every fictional situation, no matter how bad, because the characters get to destroy the walls and tramp all over the paint. Nuclear bombs? Alien invasion? Falling in love with someone else entirely? That’s what edits are for: rewriting the opening so the ending fits.

When you get stuck, write the next sentence. It might be weird, ungrammatical, awkward, annoying, offensive, etc., etc. Just plain wrong.

It is also yours in a way that the best-planned, structurally pretty sentences will never be. When you have pushed past everything you can think and plan, then you enter into a territory of naked honesty, which is often ugly and just plain wrong.

This is where the art of writing lies. The rest is craft. You need to know craft. I love craft. But this is where the art is, where you go, “I have nothing. I know nothing. I am writing out on a limb, on a one-sided bridge off a cliff with no opposite bank. I am skydiving without a parachute. I am a fake. I am full of crap and so is this.”

But that’s where the good stuff is.

This idea that you’re stuck because you’re at a dead end – it’s a lie, it’s fear talking. It stops you from writing – so it’s gotta’ go. You’re stuck because you’re at the edge of the cliff. The next sentence you write must be magic. Not because it was good (although it will be, if you let yourself recognize it), but because you were able to write it at all.

5. Now what?

Tip: Continue to be a pain in the butt and do what’s right for you as a writer.

At some point, you’ll decide that you’ve finished your NaNo novel, or that you’re not going to.

In either case, you’re going to hear some negative things about NaNo authors, or people who don’t finish, or people who do, or new writers in general, or whatever. The people who depend on you will be relieved that it’s over. You will be relieved that it’s over.

You’ll be left dangling. Now what?

People will give you advice. A lot of it will sound really logical.

However, if it makes you want to stop writing, it’s a bad writing technique. No matter how logical it is, no matter how long people have been doing it. It’s bad. If you just want to work on something new and not finish your NaNo project – do that. (If you never want to do NaNo again – then don’t!) If you want to keep writing every day despite the fact that people tell or imply that you suck – then write. If the idea of submitting makes you want to never write again – then don’t submit (yet). If the idea of having to perfect your work before you can submit it makes you want to roll up in a ball – then submit before it’s perfect. If getting too many rejections kills you – then take it slow, or wait until you’ve written five other things and you don’t care whether that old thing gets rejected or not.

Work around the problems until they aren’t problems anymore. Learn one thing at a time, not all at once. Be kind to yourself. Keep writing.

Everything else is a bad writing technique.

DeAnna Knippling

DeAnna Knippling has two minor superpowers: speed-reading and babble. She types at over 10,000 words per minute and can make things up even faster than that. Her first job was hunting snipe for her father at twenty-five cents per head, with which she paid her way through college; her latest job involves a non-disclosure agreement, a dozen hitmen, a ballerina, a snowblower, three very small robots, and a disposable dictator in South America.  Her cover job is that of freelance writer, editor, and designer living in Littleton, Colorado, with her husband, daughter, cat, more than one cupboard full of various condiments, and many shelves full of the very best books. She has her own indie small press,, and her website is

Marketing During NaNoWriMo – Are you Crazy?

By Jennifer Lovett Herbranson

National Novel Writing Month is right around the corner, and I’m going to talk to you about marketing while you’re writing. I know what you’re thinking: Are you nuts?

Writing 1667 words a day every day for 30 days is daunting enough, and now I’m asking you to think about marketing while you’re doing it. Why yes, I am.

Wait! Hang in there!

What’s awesome about NaNoWriMo is the flood of ideas that rush in your head while you’re furiously writing your book. A lot of those ideas won’t make it in the book, so I want you to write them down.


Because writing down any ideas you have while you’re in the midst of this windstorm of fiction will give you exactly what you need to focus your marketing later.


Marketing is simply finding a way to reach readers. That’s it. In order to do that, you need content. Anything you have in a story can be used for your author brand. Drink the Koolaid because no matter if you traditionally publish or go indie, you’ll be doing the bulk of your marketing.

Writer’s Digest hosted a panel at their annual conference in August with publicists from Hachette and Penguin Random House, and right up front, the moderator said, “All authors should have a fundamental understanding of marketing.” 

I’m not going to get into an explanation of the fundamentals of marketing right now. I’ll have a post on that after the maelstrom of NaNo is over. In the meantime, I just want you to be prepared and ready to go.

So, after you’re done writing for the day, take three minutes and make a quick note. What burst in your brain today about these characters and the story? Think about it like a book bible. Simply write down the pieces.

Use the list below to help you.

  • Character names
  • Character jobs or careers
  • Character hobbies or interests
  • Settings
  • Locations
  • Histories of the town or the people
  • Minor characters your MC came in contact with..their jobs and hobbies
  • Restaurants that appeared in the story
  • Businesses that appeared in the story

Not only will this list help you organize your thoughts about the story, it gives you tons of fodder to develop a marketing plan in December. I’ll walk you through it. Until then, simply take notes.

Jennifer Lovett

Jennifer Lovett is the founder of Writer Nation, a podcast and Facebook group dedicated to helping writers market their work. With 17 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity.
You can find her on her
 WebsiteFacebookTwitter, and Pinterest: @jennylovett

You Finished NaNoWriMo—Now What?

NaNoWriMo has ended, and every writer that participated has come out of hibernation with a 50,000 word novel. Congratulations! You did it! Now what? It’s time to reconnect with the outside world again, see family and friends – and make sure that little Sally hasn’t been eating the cat’s food all month. Celebrate your success with a night out for dinner or a movie. I’m sure you can still see most of the blockbusters that were released in November while you were writing.

Now What?Post NaNoWriMo. Now What?

But, what do you really do now? First of all—relax! That was a lot of writing for a month, but now you have a whole new novel. That is quite the accomplishment! The novel may even make sense, but right now, put it away for a while. After writing all those words, you’re probably sick of seeing the story. It’s okay to have feelings of resentment toward this thing you created, and may even think it sucks and want to chuck it out the window. Before you do something that drastic, let it sit while you breathe. You’ve got the holidays coming up this month, so take the time to visit with the friends and family you neglected while in your writing cave.

Make Preliminary Notes

After letting it sit for a bit, take a look at it again. Read it over with fresh eyes. Wow, did I really write that same sentence on two different pages? Make some preliminary notes on what you want to change, but don’t do your full-on edit just yet. Get a feel for what you wrote, as you may not have had time to do that as you wrote your novel. NaNo gets you writing, but it’s intense writing. Now you have the time to check it out.


Once your preliminary read-through is done, take your time to look it over with a fine-tooth comb. Refer to your notes and read each section carefully. Does it need a little more description here, or less dialogue there? How’s the grammar? This is where you want to make those changes, add some “flavor” to what you wrote. During NaNo, you’re so focused on “getting the story out” that sometimes these bits can be glossed over and missed altogether. Take the time now to add these things in. Hopefully you still have some of your coffee or tea to get you through this process.

When I do NaNo, I know that my writing suffers a bit because I’m focused on word count. A month later, I’m ready to tackle what I’ve written, see what can be salvaged, and start the editing process. I’m super proud of all of you who took part in NaNoWriMo this year, and maybe someday soon I’ll see your brand new book for sale on Amazon!

photo of margin holmesMargena Adams Holmes was born in Bellflower, CA sometime in the 1960s. She has always had a love for both reading and writing, writing her first song/poem in 1st grade. Margena is a big supporter of indie authors and will read anything that draws her into the story. She is an observer of life, and many everyday things could (and do!) end up in her writings. Her publications are available through her author page. Contact Margena via email:

Letter from the Editor – November 2018

Dear PPW Readers,

Welcome to November and the first day of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Are you participating? Last month Writing from the Peak covered many ways to prepare yourself for NaNo, and today is your day to fly. I wish all of you luck and perseverance as you dive head first into what might be one of the most grueling writing months of the year. Some will cross the finish line in twenty days, while others will crash and burn in two. No matter when you cross the line, just remember, success is not finishing first, but starting in the first place.Success is not finishing first, but that you started in the first place.

Writing from the Peak, will spend November helping you keep writing. Deb Buckingham will help you find ways to Generate Ideas. DeAnna Knippling will set the pace for you with Pacing Primer. Lit-Quotes by Gabrielle Brown, are always inspirational and a visit with the Grammar Police by Robin LaBorde will keep your writing free of comma comas. In addition to PPW’s blog, Pikes Peak Writers will also be hosting monthly events that will certainly add to your writing arsenal.

Open Critique
This FREE program provides a critique experience for a small number of PPW members who seek feedback on manuscript pages and who want to learn how to have positive critique group experiences.

Write Brains
Write Brain Sessions are free mini-workshops on the craft of writing, business of writing, and the writer’s life. Watch for them in Colorado Springs on the third Tuesday of most months. Pikes Peak Writers began offering monthly Write Brain workshops in 2004.

Write Drunk, Edit Sober
Come and enjoy some wonderful, guided improv writing prompts and a discussion about what those prompts produce.

Writers’ Night
Writers’ Night is two full hours of discussion, laughter, and fun with other local members of Pikes Peak Writers.

I wish everyone writing success in NaNoWriMo as well as anything you are doing this month. May you find the courage to sit at your writing table each day to conquer whatever writing beast you are facing.

KJ Scrim, Profile ImageManaging Editor, Kathie “KJ” Scrim, is a graduate of the University of Colorado at Boulder. Her inspiration for blogging, flash fiction, short stories, and the long haul of novel writing comes from her many life experiences. When she’s not writing you can find her somewhere in Colorado walking, hiking, or rock climbing at the local gym.

Keeping your Health for a Marathon Month of Writing

Whether work has you swamped, daycare cancelled, or your day is filled with stuff, making time for NaNoWriMo can be challenging.

And stressful.

The stress can get a hold of you and knock you down. Your head starts to hurt, your cold kicks in, or the flu bug knocks on your door. It also happens to be cold and flu season, so the importance of keeping yourself healthy and in tip top shape is very important.

I completed NaNo back in 2013. 50,013 words in 30 days. I won’t lie, it was a challenge, but the best challenge ever. And, I kept healthy through the entire month, so I was able to finish. Winning!

Healthy tips to keep writing

I have a few tips to keep you healthy through the month of November. Not in any order. The things that are important, in my opinion.

~~ Fitness
I know, though it’s not a four-letter word, It IS a four-letter word. Fitness of any kind keeps the mind active, the blood flowing, and the creative juices moving. You are less prone to sickness and medical conditions. It puts you in a positive frame of mind, allowing your body to relax and your writing to flow.

For me, Yoga is my go-to. It’s only 20-30 minutes a day. Who doesn’t have that amount of time to give to your own well-being. I’ve become more focused, less prone to eating all the “bad” things and my moods are more positive.

That can be you too, if it’s not already.

~~ Hydration
We’ve all heard this.

First thing each morning, sip a tall glass of water until it’s empty. Your body depends on water to survive. Every cell, tissue and organs counts on it to keep it in working condition. Your body uses water to flush out waste, maintain its temperature, and keep joints lubricated.

I know what you’re thinking, “Deb, stop! I know this.” But, it’s important to hear it again.

It’s all common for us as writers, to grab that cup of coffee, when in fact, caffeine can hinder our ability to focus long term and cause dehydration.

I drink coffee. All the time. I won’t stop, and I’m sure you won’t either, but just grab that tall glass of water and drink it alongside your coffee. I mean really, who can live without coffee? Not me!

~~ Have some fun
When was the last time you just went outside, took a walk, read a book at a coffee shop, hung out with your kids at the park, or watched your favorite TV show?

For me, my fun is knitting, cross-stitching, and reading. I make it a point to do one (or all) of these things each and every day. I call it my mental health time. Time away from my keyboard, from my work as a designer, from writing.

It’s a time to be with YOU. To get away from the everyday tasks and your writing.

Why eating healthy matters

You’ll be less stressed, more productive, happier, and healthier. Your brain will have the nutrients it needs to keep you focused. Certain foods have the ability to moderate the body’s cortisol levels, which is, if you didn’t already know, your stress hormone. Managing stress through the month of November should be your key ingredient to being successful in completing your novel. It’s the number one cause of writers pulling the plug, saying it’s too much.

Some of my favorite go-to snack foods (because, who doesn’t like to snack?) are:
~Banana with honey
~Granola bites
~Apple with peanut butter (anything with peanut butter, really) It’s a great source of protein.

I’m sure you have your own favorite snack foods. Keep in mind, the more processed foods you eat, the worse you could possibly feel. The more natural, organic foods you eat, the better you’ll feel.

In conclusion, writers, you have the ability to make choices that will keep your body in tip top shape during this all-important month of writing your 50,000 words. Why wouldn’t you want to commit to YOU for the month of November? And, if you so choose, why not start now, and give yourself a head start to being healthy so you can finish. Winning at NaNoWriMo.

Write On!

Deb Buckingham headshotDeb Buckingham is a long time member of Pikes Peak Writers and a published author of two successful knitting books, Dishcloth Diva and Dishcloth Diva Knits On. She writes for her own blog, and her artistic side is part of her every day. Deb is a creative photographer whose passion is “shooting” creatives in their own studios. She enjoys reading a well written novel.

NaNoWriMo – Is it Cheating?

My NaNoWriMo journey began in 2011, with the drafting of my novel Roadside Zoo. I participated four more years. I did not NaNo in 2016 or 2017, although I was writing more than ever. Let me explain why I began NaNoWriMo, and why I stopped after five years of passionate dedication to this amazing international happening.

Why NaNoWriMo?

When you announce you are dedicating the month of November to writing a novel, magical things happen.Understand your own writing process.

1) You make a public commitment to write 50,000 words in thirty days via the website. Stating concrete goals ensures success, or at least a stronger effort than those dreams you whisper to yourself in private.
2) People sigh with relief that you’re finally going to write that book you’ve been yammering about for the past six years, and hope you’ll shut up about it once the thing’s completed. They cut you slack when they see you are seriously pursuing your dream.
3) You push yourself harder because this is a time limited engagement. A lifetime? Intimidating! Thirty days? Eminently doable.
4) Working on an entire novel in a short space of time enables a mental continuity. You know your story inside and out, backwards and forwards, in ways you never grasp when writing a scene or chapter every month or so.
5) The website tracks your word count. You can’t lie to yourself. Unless you’re such a reprehensible cheat that you type “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” over and over, which has already been done. So now you’re a cheater and a plagiarist.
6) You have a fantastic excuse to guzzle gallons of coffee.

With all these great reasons, why would I give up NaNoWriMo? Because with my last entry, I felt like a cheat. Instead of writing 50,000 words of a new work, I used the month to heavily revise an existing novel.

NaNoWriMo is about slamming down 50,000 fresh words, right? I voluntarily banned myself from NaNoWriMo for two years. Now I’m rethinking my attitude.

How to make NaNoWriMo work for you:

1) The point is to give you thirty days of laser sharp focus on your writing. Use the time in a way that makes sense for where you’re at in your writing journey.
2) If you have trouble finishing writing projects, the month of November gives you no excuses. Dust off that manuscript moldering away in your desk drawer or electronic file folder. If you truly dedicate yourself to the process, you’ll be at least 50,000 words closer to The End.
3) Begin at the beginning, begin with an outline, or begin with a flawed manuscript that needs thirty days of tender loving care and a brutal no-holds-barred rewrite. Dare to be different and draft several short stories.
4) Understand your own goals and writing process. Don’t try to follow a path doomed to failure.

I no longer care if I am playing by a strict set of rules. The point of NaNoWriMo is to encourage writers to write. I’m jumping back in with a detailed outline. That’s not cheating, is it?

Catherine DiltsWhen Catherine Dilts began the NaNoWriMo journey, she was unpublished. She is now the author of the Rock Shop Mystery series, while her short stories appear regularly in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. With a day job as an environmental regulatory technician, Catherine’s stories often have environmental or factory-based themes. Others reflect her love of the Colorado mountains. Her short story Do-Over appears in the 2018 anthology Blood and Gasoline. She takes a turn in the multi-author sweet cozy mystery series Secrets of the Castleton Manor Library with Ink or Swim. You can learn more about Catherine’s fiction on her website.

NaNoWriMo vs YOU!

Are you ready to rummmmble? Or at least ready to knock National Novel Writing Month out of the park? Your resident writing cheerleader is here to get you going.

I’ve been an athlete my entire life, and everything I learned about consistency, discipline and commitment came from sports. Those lessons are absolutely appropriate to NaNoWriMo where you must write at least 1667 words per day to hit the 50,000-word goal in 30 days.

Be Prepared

Football players do not take the field without knowing the play. Are they running a dime or nickel defense? Is it a pass or running play? Even if the players don’t know exactly what’s going to happen, they do know their routes and assignments and can flex as needed.
The same is true for getting ready for NaNoWriMo.Are you ready to knock National Novel Writing Month out of the park?

  • Prep your plot – What is this story about?
  • Prep your characters – Who are these people?
  • Prep your conflict – Why can’t the main character achieve his or her goal?

Even pantsers do this. They don’t sit down, tilt their heads up to the heavens, raise their arms and suddenly the spirit of a plot weaves its way into their souls and the writing just happens.

There is a game plan.

Take a couple of days and build a full-on battle plan with all the Xs and Os, so that when you sit down, you know what’s happening and where you’re going. #HateMeTodayLoveMeTomorrow

Be Relentless

Write. Write every single day.
Whether you write for a certain number of words or certain amount of time is completely up to you. Just make sure you are consistent. Habitual action makes writing easier.

In CrossFit, Tabata is a 20-second on, 10-second off high intensity interval training for a specific number of rounds, typically eight. If you have a hard time getting started or staying focused, use this to keep you relentless in your writing. Replace seconds with minutes and get going.

Write for 20 minutes. When you’re done, get up. Walk around, get a drink, use the restroom, jog around the block. Whatever. Just take the 10-minute break. Then sit down and do it again. Do this for eight rounds and see where you are.

You can also break this up. Do one round in the morning. Another at noon. Again in the afternoon and one late at night.

If Tabata doesn’t work for you but word counts or time in chair does, then do that. Whatever you do, keep going. Every day.

Be Social

Teams are made up of all kinds of people, with all kinds of different roles: pitchers, catchers, out fielders, in fielders, head coaches, managers, conditioning coaches, fans. All of these people work to make the team successful.

While writing may be solitary in itself, the writing life isn’t. Your writing team is anyone who supports your efforts. From editors to publishers to critique partners, they are your cheerleaders, coaches, analysts and fans. They are your teammates.

Find them virtually or in person.

Make sure to register on the NaNoWriMo site to mark your progress. Then because we’re being competitive, watch your progress against others. It’s also a great place to meet other writers and stay motivated.

Then write with others. Write at Panera or the library or have a group of folks over to the house. The Rockrimmon Library is hosting a NaNo Kick-Off Party on October 27. Stay tuned to Pikes Peak Writers for their monthly events that will absolutely keep you motivated to win NaNoWriMo.

The team will keep you motivated and hungry. #BuiltByWords


You absolutely can do this. You are prepared. You are relentless, and you have people in your corner. 30 days. 50,000 words. Believe it.

Jennifer Lovette HerbransonJennifer Lovett Herbranson is the founder of Writer Nation, a podcast and Facebook group dedicated to helping writers market their work.
With 17 years communications experience, she regularly writes on social media, internet marketing and face-to-face publicity.
She currently lives in South Korea and travels around Asia for fun.
You can find her on her Website, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest: @jennylovett

You’re Doing WHAT in November?

November. Cooler weather, crisp leaves, pumpkin spiced everything, and that crazy time of year called National Novel Writing Month, affectionately called NaNoWriMo—easier to say, too. It just rolls off the tongue. That time of year when all writers hibernate to write out 50,000 words in 30 days.

Be a Little Crazy

Say what? 50,000 words in 30 days? Are you insane? You’re going to attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days, while shopping for the holidays, preparing for Thanksgiving, working your job, taking care of the family, and not send your kids out to pee in the backyard or pour your toddlers food into the cat bowl? Why yes, yes I am!

You have to be a little crazy to be a writer. Writers talk to themselves, trying to figure out plot points in their story, have conversations with their characters, and you really don’t want to check their search history.You have to be a little crazy to be a writer.

50,000 words in 30 days? How?

Planning. You may be a Pantser, but you really do need to do some planning for this if you wish to keep what little sanity you have as a writer intact. Your daily writing goal works out to be 1,667 words—roughly about four pages a day, single spaced.

When are you most productive? Do you write better in the morning or at night? If you are more creative in the morning, plan to write then, even if you have to get up an hour or two earlier to write before going to work. If you wait until after work to try to write, you’ll find yourself forcing it. Instead of 1,667 words, you have five, and two of those will be Chapter One. On the other hand, if you’re a Night Owl, writing first thing in the morning probably won’t work, even after your third cup of coffee. You’ll be worried about making your daily goal and sit there and stress for the entire morning, banging your head on your keyboard because you can’t find the words to write.

Caffeine. Stock up now on your caffeinated drink of choice. You’ll need it for those long writing marathons (it’s a marathon, not a sprint, as they say). Don’t overdo it, however, or you’ll be jittery and your writingwilllooklikethis or ttttthiiiisss. Buy a new mug for your drink, something special perhaps just for NaNoWriMo with a motivational quote on it. Coffee or tea not your thing? How about hot chocolate or a candy bar? The little bits of caffeine in chocolate may be enough to stimulate your creative juices. Make it dark chocolate for added health benefits.

Snacks. You have to eat sometime, right? Have healthy snacks at the ready to munch on while you’re thinking about how to kill off your bad guy.

Water. Don’t forget to hydrate, or your brain will turn to mush. Seriously, you’ll have a headache by Chapter Five. Plus caffeine is dehydrating. Drink your water!

Take a break! Get up and move around to get the blood flowing to your brain again, as well as to your legs and backside. Exercise, even if it’s just taking a walk around the block will help when you’ve hit that creative wall, and help you keep your sanity while writing those 1,667 words a day.

Turn off or silence your cell phone. Pretend you’re at work (you are) and aren’t allowed to answer your phone. The constant distraction from social media, emails, friends, etc, will certainly drive you crazy while trying to write.

No matter your writing style, keeping your sanity during this exciting month of writing will be beneficial to you and those around you. Otherwise, you have little Sally running to her room, screaming, “Mom’s putting my food in the cat bowl again!” Good luck to all you WriMos out there!

photo of margin holmesMargena Adams Holmes was born in Bellflower, CA sometime in the 1960s. She has always had a love for both reading and writing, writing her first song/poem in 1st grade. Margena is a big supporter of indie authors and will read anything that draws her into the story. She is an observer of life, and many everyday things could (and do!) end up in her writings. Her publications are available through her author page. Contact Margena via email: