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National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is here! Aspiring authors around the world are challenging themselves to complete the first draft of a 50,000-word novel by 11:59 p.m. on November 30. That's no easy feat, especially if you have a day job, but it can be done. The key is to put yourself on a schedule and stick to it.

For example, you could be:

A)   Writing 1,600-1,700 words each day, including weekends

B)   Writing 2,500 words each Saturday and Sunday, plus 1,300-1,400 words each weekday

C)   Writing 5,000 words each weekend, plus 1,300-1,400 words each weekday

D)  Pounding out 12,500 words each weekend

When I'm writing a novel, I give myself a daily word count quota, Monday through Friday, and don't let myself go sleep until I've reached it. That way I don't get behind and stress myself out. (I tend to get stressed out easily, so this approach works for me.) If I wrote on the weekends, my daily quota would be considerably lower, but I need that mental break to stay fresh and engaged. Other writers prefer writing every single day. Do you see my point? We're all different, and that's perfectly fine! What's the point of trying to conform to someone else's schedule if it doesn't work for you?

Some authors like to put a detailed outline in place first before they write a single word, while others say outlines are a complete waste of time. Again, I believe that you should do what works for your creative spirit and not worry about what anyone else says. Writing novels is an art, not a science.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? If so, please share your approach in the comments. I'd love to see how varied the responses are so we can all learn from each other!

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Maria Murnane is a paid CreateSpace contributor and the best-selling author of the Waverly Bryson series, Cassidy Lane, Katwalk, and Wait for the Rain. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Have questions for Maria? You can find her at

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