Skip to main content

Make Your NaNoWriMo Experience Count (4 Excellent Posts)

Image placeholder title

I'll be upfront. I've never participated in NaNoWriMo (and have no desire to), but I've observed many writers go through the process.

I know it can help writers put aside perfectionism, procrastination, and inhibitions about writing.

That is: It motivates a lot of people to SIT and WRITE.

One might tend to think: Well, this is a good thing.

Sometimes, I'm not so sure.

When unskilled or unpracticed writers attempt NaNoWriMo, they inevitably end up with a lot of material they can't use.

Sometimes they don't realize they can't (or shouldn't) use it. Sometimes they even think they ought to submit it. (That's actually the least of MY concerns, though it does concern some agents on the receiving end.)

My concern is that NaNoWriMo could be immensely productive, for any level of writer, if approached with a bit of preparation.

Technically, such a thing might be called an outline.

But I call it laying the foundations for success.

What's going to happen in the story?
What does the character want?
What will the turning points be?

Right now, I'm working on a project for Writer's Digest, a 128-page bookazine (a special newsstand-only "book") that focuses on how to produce a novel draft in 30 days.

It is possible, but I'd argue you won't get anything meaningful out of it unless you have an idea of what you want to accomplish.

Otherwise, you're just writing to write. Maybe that's OK.

But I'd like you to have something at the end of November you can build on.

Here are a few excellent posts that will help you prepare for the NaNoWriMo challenge in a meaningful way.

5 Things You Absolutely Must Know About Your NaNo Novel Before You Start Writing

5 Resources to Help You Plan Your NaNoWriMo Novel

Let's Talk About Goals

Three Popular Plot & Structure Methods

What Is Investigative Journalism?

What Is Investigative Journalism?

Alison Hill breaks down the definition of investigative journalism, how good investigative journalism makes for sweeping societal change, and how the landscape of the work is evolving.

writer's digest wd presents

WD Presents: 6 WDU Courses, an Upcoming Virtual Conference, and More!

This week, we’re excited to announce six new WDU courses, a romance writing virtual conference, and more!

Going From Me to We: Collaborating on the Writing of a Novel

Going From Me to We: Collaborating on the Writing of a Novel

Past experiences taught bestselling author Alan Russell to tread lightly when it came to collaborating on projects. Here, he discusses how the right person and the right story helped him go from a “me” to a “we.”

From Script

Short Film Goals, Writing the Cinematic Experience on the Page and Sundance Film Festival 2022 (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, set your creative goals with a monthly guide to write and produce your short film, provided by Script contributor Rebecca Norris Resnick. Plus, an exclusive interview with Academy Award-winning screenwriter William Monahan, a Sundance Film Festival 2022 day one recap, and more!

Your Story Writing Prompts

94 Your Story Writing Prompts

Due to popular demand, we've assembled all the Your Story writing prompts on WritersDigest.com in one post. Click the link to find each prompt, the winners, and more.

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

How Inspiration and Research Shape a Novel

Historical fiction relies on research to help a story’s authenticity—but it can also lead to developments in the story itself. Here, author Lora Davies discusses how inspiration and research helped shape her new novel, The Widow’s Last Secret.

Poetic Forms

Saraband: Poetic Forms

Poetic Form Fridays are made to share various poetic forms. This week, we look at the saraband, a septet (or seven-line) form based on a forbidden dance.

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

Karen Hamilton: On Cause and Effect

International bestselling author Karen Hamilton discusses the “then and now” format of her new domestic thriller, The Ex-Husband.

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Plot Twist Story Prompts: The Ultimatum

Every good story needs a nice (or not so nice) turn or two to keep it interesting. This week, have a character give or face an ultimatum.