Preparing for Nanowrimo 2017


I LOVE this time of year. Crunchy leaves, chunky scarves, fairy lights, fireworks… and Nanowrimo! If you’re a fellow writer then you’re bound to have heard of it, but if you’re unfamiliar then let me fill you in. November is National Novel Writing Month, or Nanowrimo, where writers from all over the world come together online and vow to write 50,000 words of a novel in 30 days (that’s roughly 1,600 words a day). This will be my first time back in the Nanowrimo writing chair in two years (last year I planned to do it but managed to catch the flu instead – grr!) and I’m so excited to get going! If you’ve ever thought about writing a novel, or have an idea for one then Nanowrimo is the perfect time to give it a go. Not only is it a great exercise in disciplined writing, but since we’re all in it together it’s a great opportunity to meet other writers, chat and get help when you hit a wall or fall down a plot hole! 🙂

Since I’m writing the second book in a series that I’ve had cooking away in my head for a while, I feel more prepared than I usually do (…famous last words!) – but how else am I gearing myself up?

Write a Chapter Outline

This is the first year that I’ve actually written a chapter by chapter plan, usually I keep it all up in my head and then make things up as I go along. I used the step by step guide from this website, and then used a mixture of the W-Plot Model and the Dramitica Table to plot my story.  From that, I then created a chapter by chapter bullet point list of scenes to write.  I fully expect to deviate, but at least I’ve got something to start with!


I think I enjoy researching my books more than I enjoy writing them – is that bad? But it’s that exciting time after you get a story idea and just want to live in that world for a while. 🙂 I tend to keep a notebook for each book I write where I gather together all my research, so when I write I can look back and refer to it like a reference book. I also keep a folder full of useful websites bookmarked so I don’t get stuck Googling things when I should be writing!

Create a Pinterest Book Board

As well as pinning pictures of clothes I can’t afford and recipes I’ll never be able to recreate, I make a Pinterest mood board for every book I write. Since I write historical fiction, it’s handy to have a visual guide when it comes to characters, settings, clothes and colours.

Clean the House

I try to get all my chores out of the way before the first of November rolls around. I clean the house and empty the washing and ironing baskets. Now, I know by week two the sink will become a swamp of dirty dishes and the washing basket will probably be overflowing… but it’s nice to start with a clean slate, right? I also make sure my writing space is tidy and organised with everything I’m going to need.

Inform Family and Friends

Just so I have an excuse for looking like a slob and having a dirty house. It’s also a good way of motivating yourself to reach that 50,000 word finish line. The more people that know you’re taking on the challenge, the more accountable you are for getting the job done.

Create a Spotify Playlist

I always listen to music when I’m writing, and in particular I’m a huge fan of soundtracks. For every book I create a playlist that helps me visualise and capture the mood of what I’m writing about and whack it on repeat. And not just when I’m writing; I hit play when I’m in the car on the way to Tesco’s, doing the washing up or having a nap. My favourite artists are Thomas Newman, Rachel Portman, Trevor Morris and Hans Zimmer.

To-do List

The last thing I want happening when I’m behind on my word count is to find something important lurking on my to do list demanding immediate attention. I write a big to do list during the last week of October and tick things off one by one.

Let me know if you’re doing Nanowrimo this year and how you’re preparing for it. If you fancy following along, you can keep track of my word count through the nifty ticker to the right, or find me here. Have a great weekend everyone! 

Nanowrimo 2016

Halloween is almost over, and so is October!  And while most monsters roll out of bed on November the 1st as normal human beings (y’know, minus the fangs and hollow eye-sockets) I’m the exact opposite.  I’ve just started turning into a monster.

Over the next 30 days I will forget to shower and brush my hair on more than one occasion, and my skin routine will, well, cease to be a routine and become more like an afterthought.  Drunk on more cups of darjeeling tea than at any other time of the year, I will be up late into the night.  And during the day I’ll be a sallow-faced, hunched zombie with bad hair (what’s new?) hissing at bright lights and muttering conversations between invisible non-entities.  I will snap, and I will bite.  A spell will fall over my home; dishes will sit in a swampy sink for days on end, and the fridge will cease to store fruit and veg and instead will become storage for half-eaten takeaways and pizza boxes.

All this and more awaits, but by November 30th – if all goes to plan – I will have written 50,000 words of a brand new novel in the series I’m currently writing (/slowly going mad over).

Yes, November is Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), where aspiring writers around the world pledge to forgo their sanity in favour of writing 50,000 words in 30 days.  Back in 2012 I signed up for the very first time as a wannabe writer who’d never even completed a story before let alone written 50,000 words in a month (was it even possible?).  I didn’t think I could do it.  But I threw myself into it; I carried a notebook to work and scribbled during my breaks (luckily there was a lot of testing in the school I was working at during November and I sometimes wrote during class).  I stayed up late to make sure I reached the daily word count target.  I finished with a completed book and a word total of 87,000.  Yeah, it was a rough draft – and I mean rough – but it blew my mind that I was even capable of something like that, and it completely changed my approach to writing.  I’ve completed it twice more since then 🙂

Since last year’s Nanowrimo fell slap-bang in the middle of relocating to Cardiff, it didn’t happen.  So this year I’m excited to get back to it; I’ve got my plan and I’m ready and raring to go.  If you want to check out my progress (or add me, if you’re a fellow Nano’er!) click here.

If you’ve ever wanted to write a novel it’s a great opportunity to finally give it a go; there’s plenty of support from other writers along the way (including daily pep talks from famous writers straight into your inbox) and actually reaching that 50,000 word count is a great feeling.  What have you got to lose? (Besides your sanity and personal hygiene…!)