NaNoWriMo Tricks and Hacks

You've decided to take on the infamous NaNoWriMo this year. You have your title and your plot, your profile on is already set up, and you've told everyone what the event is at least forty times. And every time you explain what the event is to someone they always ask that one pesky question...


Why do you need to write a novel in a month? There are many answers: “to get this book out off my head”, “to prove to myself that I can”,   “to prove to everyone else that I can”.

The question is why are YOU participating? Answer this question for yourself.

For me, I love the community and the challenge. Writing so much so quickly is tons of fun and very liberating to crank out a book a year. It helps me remember why it is that I write.

When you’ve answered this question, you can start preparing for NaNoWriMo and the first thing I googled when I first did NaNo was ask if people had any good NaNo tricks! So here are eight hacks that I suggest so you can have the BEST NaNo ever! 


Set up a reward system! 

Every day that you write, set up a little treat for yourself! That can be ANYTHING you like! It can be self-care, food, a night out, COFFEE! 

The important thing is to reward yourself IMMEDIATELY after you complete your word count for the day; it really is just like dog training.  

My reward system is a combination of booze, TV, and junk food. Essentially my reward system is the recovery program for a recently unemployed person... Maybe I should rethink this...

Journal your progress all month

You KNEW I was gonna bring it back around to the Bullet Journal! If you didn’t, you haven’t been here long. Sign up for my email list! 😜

I’ll let you in on what I’m going to be doing all month in my bullet journal, so you can get some inspiration.   

Every night, after updating my word count on NaNoWriMo, I’ll update my word count in my bullet journal tracker. I’m going to be using two, a chart version and a spreadsheet version.

Then I’ll be writing a recap of what I wrote in my book in my daily, along with notes of what I think is working and what isn’t working. These will go along with my notes and ideas from the days writing.

Then I’ll be taking one of the journaling prompts from my NaNoWriMo printable and reflecting on the days writing and what’s working for me.

Then I’ll set up for the next day and make sure my goals are ready for writing! 

Sleep is your friend. So is coffee...

Getting a good nights sleep is so important during NaNo... wait... no... ALL THE TIME! Why is this ALWAYS on people’s tip lists? Sleeping well during a short period of time and then reverting back to bad habits helps NO ONE.  Least of all you. Just sleep well, eat well, and drink enough water.

But what do I know? I sleep less than a fugitive on heroin.  

Also coffee is delicious... 

Distractions are the enemy! 

Okay. I wrote this and immediately got distracted by a RoosterTeeth shirt! 😂😂😂 

 But really, distractions are going to come your way and they could be anything! Even household chores!

Doing the dishes or a load of laundry isn’t a bad thing, but do you REALLY need to regrout the bathroom NOW? The answer is, “no”. Go write.

During your writing time, put your phone into airplane mode or “Do Not Disturb”. Ignore all non-emergency texts and calls and get it DONE, SON! There are also a lot of distraction eliminating apps for your phone and computer so you can focus on your writing.

Make Writing Buddies

Making writing buddies on will keep you motivated and happy! Having the community of people around you will keep you inspired! Come and add me on NaNo! 

Set Up Your Scrivener Project Goals and Deadline

This is SUCH a cool feature on Scrivener! If you don’t have it GO GET IT! 

On the mac, all you do is go to the Projects Tab, then “show project targets” 

That pane will allow you to set a goal for the overall project and targets per writing session. The writing session will reset at midnight! It’s SO COOL! You can even set a deadline!!! 

Plan Ahead

November, in the States, means Thanksgiving. And we all know that takes TIME. If you’re traveling, have to cook for a couple days, or you have other plans, make sure you adjust your goals so you get ahead of those days. That way you can focus on your family and the good food without your word count hanging over your head.  

But you should also write on Thanksgiving anyway. For reasons.  

Be Kind To Yourself

Last but not least. You’re not gonna write one of those days. It’s highly probable. Or you’re going to forget to journal one night. Or something else equally “catastrophic”. But I’m going to let you in on a little secret: 

It’s okay.  

Writing a novel is HARD, and just because you finish NaNo doesn’t mean you’re done. There are so many things that need to happen after you finish your first draft of your novel before you’re done. It’s gonna be a long haul, not a sprint. 

Knowing that it’s okay to fail, won’t take away your motivation, it will hopefully bring the fun back into the challenge. And help you understand that you’re human and not perfect. It’s gonna be okay.  

There are my NaNo tips! I really hope these help and that you have a SUPER fun time this year! I know I will! 

-The Ginger Wordsmith