Scrambling before NaNoWriMo… Author Toolbox


Gibberish, right? That’s not even a word. How do you say it? To writer’s, it is the month when the entire world ceases to exist… when life on Earth becomes a distant figment of our imagination… when we forget all the other hobbies we had if they don’t include a notebook, a pen, or a computer keyboard…

You may have already started to notice the writers in your life, or yourself, tuning down the radio of the world in order to plan for their WIP (work in progress). We’re scrambling to decide if NaNoWriMo is our mission this year, too.

Image from NaNoWriMo web site

Why are we scrambling?

National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo, will start November 1 and continue until November 30. NaNo is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people write that book they’ve always wanted to write.

The goal is to write 50,000 words by the end of the month, which estimates to writing about 1,667 words per day. Unless we rebel, which allows us to work on revising or editing projects instead. Or we can rebel and work on several different ideas.

Image result for stephen king scariest moment quote

Before we can start writing, however, we have to know which WIP we’re going to work on…

  • the first draft of a shiny new idea (what you’re supposed to do)
  • the rest of the WIP from last November (oops)
  • the rest of the WIP from the November before that (double oops)
  • rebel and finish revisions on current WIP (they need to be finished)
  • rebel and draft two projects at once (they are both calling out)
  • rebel and work on revisions for one project while drafting another (what?!)

The scramble is happening now!


 What does preparation look like, then?

Getting ready for NaNo can take on many forms, but it all depends on the writer and the project… If a writer is starting a new project, then brainstorming of some kind is probably happening – at least for the planners.

However, how do you plan for NaNo when you are a rebel?

Image result for rebel quote

For the rebels…

Your first step as a rebel is the same as everyone else’s: choose your project (or projects). What kind of rebel are you going to be? Set your goal.

My goal:

  • I will finish this round of revisions on my current WIP.
  • I will start the third draft, too.

Your second step is to determine how you will count your goal. Different writers have different ideas. Here are a few from a NaNoWriMo Rebel Thread:

  1. Count the same way: word=word — each word you revise goes toward your daily word count.
  2. Average: take the average words that you revise per hour and count that as your daily word count.
    • If you average 500 revised words per hour, and you revise for 4 hours in a day, then your word count that day would be 2000.
  3. A ratio: for every two words revised, count one toward your NaNo goal.
  4. A set count per hour: for every hour you write, it counts as ____ words.
  5. Chapters: each chapter’s word count that you revised goes toward your daily word count goal.

The tricky part here is choosing what works best for you. Rebels are already breaking the rules, so we may as well figure out how to break them in a way that works for us.

Image result for you have to know the rules before you can break them quote


Feel free to join us! Writing for NaNo is an adventure no matter if you follow the rules or rebel a bit. If you have a story on your heart, then you have a chance to jump in with other writers as we all paddle our way through the scary rapids that are NaNo.

Which path will you choose? Are you joining NaNo this November? Are you planning, pantsing, or rebelling? Share with me in the comments!

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This post is part of the #AuthorToolboxBlogHop, which is dedicated to helping writers become stronger and more confident in their craft. Click here for more information, to continue hopping through other posts, or to join in!

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27 thoughts on “Scrambling before NaNoWriMo… Author Toolbox

  1. Unfortunately Nanowrimo isn’t for me. But I do admire those who do it. I may stare a lot, but I do write most days. Enjoy your holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. 😂 i absolutely love it! It’s a wonderful way to redefine the terms of NaNoWriMo. I’m goal oriented and this is an awesome idea as far as I’m concerned. Don’t fit the mold, but tailor it the way that works for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for this reminder that Nano can be so much more than just laying down new words. This year I’m finishing a WIP started earlier this year, even if it means reaching “The End” and jumping back to the beginning to start the second draft. I’m so excited! I hope your Nano is awesome, whatever you do. 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve only participated in one November NaNo (last year), and it was stressful and a lot of fun! I have a new idea that I contemplated using, but I want to finish my current WIP before starting anything new, first.

      Thank you for your comment! I hope your NaNo goes amazing, too!


  4. I’m not sure if I’m going to be a rebel this year. I may need the first week of November to finish plotting. *taps chin reflectively* Thanks for outlining some of the ways to tally for rebels. Very helpful!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I’m a pantser forcing myself to plan 🙂
    It’s been interesting so far. I’ve never felt so organised, and I think on the whole I’m very positive about NaNoWriMo this year.
    I was tempted to rebel and finish last years project, but I’ve been working on it all year and I need a break, so a shiny new idea is perfect for me 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post! I’m rebelling this year by doing a (brand new) collection of short stories that will add up to 50K instead of a new novel. But I’ve always been curious about how I would count editing if I rebelled and went down that path as well. I’d probably do #4, an hour-to-words conversion. I have data on how long it took me to write 50K last year, and so I could just use that number. Anyway, thanks for sharing! And good luck on NaNoWriMo this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for commenting! I tend to count hour-to-words when I need to (Camp NaNo).

      I hope your short story collection goes well for you! It sounds like a fun project!


  7. A very honest and hilarious post! I feel ya, matey… I once wanted to join the NaNoWriMo, back in 2010, but put it off because – hello! how is it even remotely possible to write a novel in a month?! Of course, back then I was working my ass off for a promotion and I didn’t know the trick of the first draft is to avoid editing until you’re done drafting and all other crafting advice so readily available these days. I still haven’t the courage to apply myself to the project (though I did manage to write a novella of approx. 38K words in 20 days this year so I should be able to manage 50K in 30 days). Maybe next year… For this year, I wish you all the best!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your comment!! I don’t have time to write a whole new novel (even though I have an idea for one), so rebelling’s my only option if I want to participate.

      There’s a group on Twitter who’s rebelling by writing only what and when they can but not keeping track.

      Liked by 1 person

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