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How to Write a Novel in a Month

Posted by CreateSpaceBlogger on Oct 22, 2013 5:01:00 AM

November is fast approaching, and that means it's time for National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo is an annual creative writing event that challenges authors to write a 50,000-word novel in a single month. Last year more than 350,000 authors participated. Are you going to be one of them this year? I asked Grant Faulkner, executive director of the nonprofit organization, for some tips on how to complete 50,000 words in just 30 days, and here's what he had to say:

  1. Go on a time hunt: A lot of people say they just don't have the time to write a novel in a month, but most of us have more time than we think. Toni Morrison was a single, working parent before she was a novelist. After putting her kids to bed, she'd write for 15 minutes each day, even if she was tired, and that was how she completed her first book. Before November, track what you do on a typical day. Figure out what you can give up in order to find the time to write. Cut out TV? Wake up an hour earlier or stay up an hour later? Write during lunch? Write on the subway? All of the above? You have more time than you think. And what will you remember more later in life - the TV shows you watched in November 2013 or the novel you wrote?
  2. Build accountability: You can build accountability by signing a blood pact with yourself. Or you can adopt a more effective strategy: risk public shaming. Tell your friends and family that you're writing a novel in November. Post your word counts on Facebook and Twitter. You don't want to see people in December and face their questions about your novel if you gave up.
  3. Simplify your life: You're going to have to say no to things in order to accomplish any grand task. You might have to skip that weekend getaway or Saturday night party to hit your word count. Or you might have to order takeout sometimes. Remember: there's plenty of time to clean your house in December.
  4. Reward yourself for milestones: NaNoWriMo might be an endurance test, but it's also a writing party. Figure out a reward for each 10,000 words you complete. It could be as simple as dancing to your favorite YouTube video. Some treat themselves to banana splits. Others have gotten tattoos. One man bought a boa constrictor. Whatever works for you.
  5. Show up: No explanation needed. You might miss one day of writing, but try not to miss two. Remember what Woody Allen said: "90 percent of success is just showing up."
  6. Write with others: Writing doesn't have to be a solitary, toilsome affair. NaNoWriMo has volunteers in more than 500 regions around the world who organize local writing events. Finding a community of encouraging support does wonders for any creative enterprise. Find more about the goings-on in your region on the NaNoWriMo site.

Thanks to Grant for his thoughtful suggestions. If you need some extra motivation to write that book, there's no better time than NaNoWriMo. Will you be taking the challenge this year?

-Maria Contributors/MurnaneHeadshot.jpg

Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor. She is the award-winning author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life and Honey on Your Mind. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at

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Oct 22, 2013 5:25 AM arnelfernandez    says:

helpful and informative. thanks Maria.

Oct 31, 2016 5:36 AM Tapjuok    says:

That is great i hope i can think as first as that.Write in one month your back and ribs will ack.