Making NaNoWriMo

Zielflagge, Ziellinie, Grand Prix, Fertig Stellen

Now that NaNoWriMo ist right around the corner, I thought I would give some helpful tips on how to make it to the finish line of NaNoWriMo!

1. Set a time

While writing is most fun when spontanious, during NaNoWriMo you should try to at least have 1-2 hours a day set for writing. It will help you get into the hang of writing every day and you can get a routine going.

Also, it doesn’t have to be a set time of day. If you have a busy schedule just try out different times of the day and use it as an opportunity to find out when ou are the most creative!

2. Get comfortable

No matter if you write at a desk or o your couch, use the time to make your writing space more comfortale. You can use anything from cleaning up those loose post-it’s or just hanging a “hang in there” poster up on the wall. Add some loose clothing to the mix and a great place to sit and you’ll be ready to hammer the keyboard or make your pen dance across the pages!

3. Prep your equipment

If you intend to write your work on a laptop or on paper, you need to have everything set up for taking on this challenge.

A lot of people have their keyboards set up wrong or their chairs. You should try to get a keyboard or chair that fits to you, otherwise you can risk hurting your wrists.

The same thing also counts for pens ad paper. If you tend to write with a pen or pencil you should pay attention to the grip and the smootheness of writing. When it comes to your writing paper/book you should watch that it isn’t too high for your wrist.

You want to make everything health risk free. For more tips on a good workspace: click here.

4. Save

Since you may be strapped for time, try to always take your story with you. It’s suprising just how much you can get done on a bus or during a coffee break.

The easiest way to do this is by using services like dropbox or one drive. If you don’t always have internet access, you can also use a USB-Stick. Nowadays they come in really small sizes, or as accessories. Why not choose a cool keychain or a necklace with a theme fitting to your book?

I’m intending to make my own, by using clay and some rhinestones, so I want to write whenever I see it!

5. Never ever delete!!!!

This may sound stupid, but it can mean the difference between winning and loosing! While writing NaNoWriMo you can’t spend hours on one sentence. It’s about getting a rough draft on paper and not making a ready done book in one go. You can spend weeks contemplating if the word “and” was used too often after NaNo. For now, just give your muse a voice and not the annoying perfectionist inside of you, who is looking to sabotage you!

If ypu don’t like a scene you have written, use the cross out function instead of delete or back-space. In the end the words you wrote will still count and you can reach your goal.

6. Food for the soul

While writing you shouldn’t forget about eating healthy and stashing some well deserved snacks somewhere. You deserve a treat after managing to write, after all!

I always have some candy and hot choclate for the first few days and keep a good amount of caffein and tee on hand for the last week. It helps keep me going and they haven’t let me down yet!

7. Skip it

As writers, all of us have had a point in a story, where we just didn’t know how to continue. Sometimes it was the storyline, sometimes it just didn’t feel right.

Now hereis the secret tio handling it during NaNoWriMo: skip it.

Skip the part you are having trouble with and just go to the next chapter or scene. Usually you will suddenly have an answer or, even if you don’t find one, you will have at least used the time wisely and gotten some more words down.

8. Socialize

Socialize?! But I have a book to write?!

It doesn’t matter. You live off of imagination and forcing it will only make it impossible to write. So you can mentally stay in the game and still have fun it also makes it better for your friends and family to support you, if you actually spend time with them.

9. Get greedy

If all else fails,you can always look at the rewards page. Print out the prizes you want or even set them as your screensaver. Make yourself realy want it, then sitdown and win it!

10. Kidnap and use your friends

It’s always more fun to write with friends, you can either get them into writing aswell (practically kidnapping them for 30 days from their families and friends), or you can use them as a means to pressure yourself.

Those of you who read my previous artice know that you can actually blackmail yourself into writing. Just make a deal with a friend or family mamber that you will do something for them, if you don’t win. After all, no one wants to clean the attic or the garage…

I hope these help all first timers and everyone who is returning to the battle field. During next week I’ll be writing an article how to self publish, so check back soon or follow my blog to get the newest infos!


Personal NaNo-Prep List


Here the long awaited NaNoWriMo prep list that I use to make it through the legendary challenge of writing 50k in just 30 days!

1. Murder

Yes, murder. I’m not saying you should go out and kill the annoying bird that always wakes you up in the morning, but to kill the biggest things standing in between you and writing.

Even if you love writing there is always something that can distract you from your true goal of writing. It can be worse than any side quest in a game!

That wonderfully annoying voice in your head, telling you the things you are writing are horrible and those pesky distractions need to go! Unhook the  cable to your TV and add a sticky note to it saying “Have you reached your word goal?” if you have to! o_O

And most importantly: use the function on you PC/Laptop to disable all notifications temporarily. If you don’t have interesting notifications popping up left and right, you have less chance of getting side tracked.


2. Set a time

Most of us have a pretty hard schedule as it is, so we need to plan ahead when and where we can write. When you try and figure out what time you can write best, you should not only think about where it would fit in your schedule, but what time you like to write.

I prefer to write either during the late hours of the morning, or at night. This of course doesn’t work for everyone, but trial an error can help you find the perfect time to hit that keyboard or paper!


3. Inlist friends and family

When you escape from reality for 30 days, it will make people wonder just where you are and why they haven’t seen you in a while.

Instead of letting them wonder what in the world is going on with you, tell them and make them your ultimate tool!

When you tell people what you have in mind, most of them will think you’re insane. Use that to make a bet with them or promise them something. For instance you can say that you’ll help them in something you really don’t like or bake for them, if you fail.

Who really want’s to bake a dozen cakes, when they could be holding their own book in their hands?!

4. Keep track

During NanoWriMo you can easily loose track of what you need to write. (Unless you are a math genius in which case I envy you). There are a tone of fun calendars you can choose from that will make writing down your achievement of the day a fun and rewarding experience.

Personally I use the following chart, because it let’s me visually see what I have done and how far I still have to go. I also add in little rewards as an extra incentive.

NaNoWriMo Calendar

When I first started with NaNoWriMo I printed it out and laminated it, so I can fill it out every year and use it outside of NaNo as well, since it doesn’t have pre-set dates on it.
The little blocks for every day are in 500 word steps and I like to mark them in. 🙂

5. Caffeine

During NaNoWriMo you will find that at some point (usually to the end) you will have problems getting to your word goal,  as that pesky thing called life catches up to you. To get through the rough patches, have a stable amount of caffeine ready and on hand.

For those of us that don’t like coffee and don’t want to drink huge amounts of unhelthy sugar, black tea is a good and healthy alternative. You can get it in a lot of flavors, it’s nice and warm for the colder fall nights and it’s cheap!

6. Energy

You could think that getting caffeine ist enough to keep you going, but you will also need food to get to your goal. Most people say to stock up on sweets, but I that is only half of what you need. Instead of pigging out on unhealthy food, try to prep some food for the week. There are really simple recipies online that can last a week in a fridge easily.

(A few sweets here and there are great too though) 😉

7. Enlist friends

If you enjoy writing, chances are some of your friends will/do too. Tell them about NaNo and see if they won’t join you for the quest of your personal book.

It’s fun to challenge them in their word goals and helps motivate you to actually do more than just the absolute necessary and meeting up with them to write on the weekends is fun.

8. (Plot)

Plotting helps actually being able to make it to the finish line. You can check out my previous post for some tips on how to do that.

Just remember that you need to make more points and plan more the further you are in the book, because it gets harder as you go along to really bring all those red lines together. For those of you who want to wing it: “Good luck!”

9. Make a comfortable place to write

This isn’t necessary, but it can make everything so much easier. It doesn’t matter if you make a desk more personal, find a favorite spot in a café or if you set up a pillow fort, as long as you feel relaxed, it helps!

10. Remember the goal

Always keep your goal in mind, and I don’t mean the 50k, but getting your story out there. No matter if you just want it on paper or to actually publish it, it’s what you should really be focused on.

11. Fun

And last but not least: Have fun. 🙂

I hope this list will help anyone going for the 50k  and maybe we will see each other on the finish line!

Also, I would like to mention my event coming up next month. I am going to the Frankfurt Book Fair this year and one of their main themes is self publishing. Since I know a lot of people can’t go, I am offering to research any questions you have on the topic, while I’m there.

If you have questions, comment on my facebook page or comment here.

Plotting for NaNo

For those looking forward to taking the NaNoWriMo-challenge, one of the most essential questions is if they should plot or not. Some like to see where writing takes them, but that also means a high potential of getting stuck or plotting yourself into a corner.

For everyone else, these are some things I do, when plotting my stories:

1. Always carry a pen

If you’re like me, then you can have ideas at the worst times. Usually whenever you just don’t have a piece of paper or pen laying around. This usually makes it really simple to forget even the most amazing plots.

So while plotting, always have something to capture those great ideas. When that isn’t an option, just remember that anything from a napkin to an SMS to a friend can help save those plots!

2. Don’t restrict yourself

A lot of authors have a problem with trying to structure a plot from the beginning and then getting stuck. Instead, set yourself and your imagination free. You can plot any part of your story and then string them together later. It helps with building up the possibilities for exciting clues you can give your audience and lets you come up with unexpected twists and turns.

3. Say it

As out there as this may sound, yes, I am telling you to talk to yourself. For those of us who don’t have someone they can annoy with their stories and brainstorm with, saying your plot out loud can actually help.

While you say your plot, you can find plot wholes easier and can come up with more plot ideas. Some of the best ideas come into being this way and if all else fails, grab your parents and guilt trip them into listening. 😉

4. Make a puzzle

Just like a puzzle a story is made up of a lot of different parts and where you place them can make the difference between a great picture and failed looking Picasso.

So while plotting, write down your scene and plot ideas on little notes and string them together like a puzzle. For those using Scrivner, you can use your laptop, but everyone else can also use this technique by using small scraps of paper. You can add in story ideas any time and switch up scenes till you have the feeling it’s perfect and just how you wanted it to be.

5. Let your characters do the talking

Another thing that works is letting your characters make the plot for you. I usually end up taking a character sheet (NaNoWriMo has a pretty good one on their website) or make my own and write about my different characters.

i usually have a lot of ideas about their interactions while I’m writing it and it helps to make my characters 3D instead of flat stereotypes. Besides, it’s always fun to come up with everything from phobias, to what they have in their fridge. XD

6.Get sidetracked

Sometimes you have a specific topic you want to use in your book, like a part of history or a scientific invention. If you have a theme, research it. I’m not saying you should be perfectly accurate, but when it comes down to it, you can make the internet give you ideas.

When we look something up, most of us get sidetracked by other ideas, so why not use it to our advantage. Most things on the internet are set up to peek our interest. if we search one topic, we usually get suggestions for something else, which can lead to new information and just maybe a new plot idea.

7.Search covers

Most of us have had a moment, when they saw a picture or were reading a phrase or a word and they suddenly had an idea. You can actually force that somewhat.

Go to a pre-made book cover site and scroll through the pictures in a genre you like. Most of them have exciting artwork and interesting titles as font examples. You can almost feel your fingers itching to strick the keyboard or reach for a pencil, when you find that perfect word combination, or a cover that you just want to be yours!


I hope this helps some people prep for NaNo. I’m looking forward to seeing some of you there!

For those who are still undecided or set on taking part, I’ll have my personal NaNo-Prep-List here this coming week!


The challenge begins!

You can now take part in my writing challenge! Let’s get into the habit of writing and make a story to get lost in!

For more information, see my Facebook page or look at the event page.

Anyone can leave a comment on how many word’s they have managed. You do not have to have an account here to do so, so if you don’t have Facebook, then you can still take part in this amazing challenge.

Show the world what your muse is made of!!!

Annie Blackweather's Writing Challenge

NaNoWriMo and now what?-A new challenge

A lot of authors have brandished their pens and keyboards to concur the challenge of NaNoWriMo, but what comes after that?

Most of us set out to do a lengthy novel and after 30 days of insanity, most of us find out just how short a 50k word novel can really be. No where near the plot-point and still so much story to tell!

So for the those of us who want to keep it up and make it to that illustrious finish, I propose the following: Let’s make a challenge for ourselves. My proposition is that we set a goal and make our own little finish line. For those of us who just can’t stop until their story is out there.

I’ll be setting up a post on my facebook page where everyone can comment what they achieved that day and give others encouragement. There will be no punishment and no set time, but a set goal instead. Though we won’t be having nifty prizes, what better prize can there be, but a finished work in your hands. There’s nothing quite as rewarding as that feeling of achievement.

Why set ourselves to just one month when we can have all the time we need to really make writing the most enjoyable habit in the world?

If you want to take part, or find out more: skip over to my facebook page!

Annie Blackweather's Writing Challenge