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Sunday, November 12, 2017

Nano is not just for November

If you are a writer, you have likely heard of NANO – it’s a month long challenge during November for writers and authors to push themselves to get that novel done.  You set your goal, name your project, and then write like crazy.  No editing, mind.  Just write, write and write.  There is a book log where you update the total words you have reached that day.  It provides you with a chart to track your progress, and also calculates how long it will take you to finish at that point, how many words you do on average each day.

Great way to connect.  You also have opportunities of connecting with fellow authors or writers in your area.  In my town, the bookstore, Karen’s Book Barn, is offering a Write-In on Sundays.  Each weekend of the NANO, you can join other writers at the bookstore and spend the day creating.  There are also online challenges, forums, and inspirational talks.

Will you write a book in a month?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  You will be able to push yourself to see what you can accomplish when you focus on your WIP.  It is a great way to kickstart that novel that has been sitting there too long without you typing The End.  It can help you form a better writing process, of not writing when you are in the mood, but writing every day.

To keep you focused, you can earn badges for passing so many plateaus.

Earn them for various things you do.  Are you a Pantser, Planner or Plantser ?  Proudly proclaim if you are a methodical writer than plans everything ahead, or scream you are a “wild and crazy writer” that loves just jumping in with both feet and lets the plot build itself.  There are badges for reaching plateaus of total words, badges for making sure to back-up.  And of course, if you hit your target, you get that Winner Badge to proclaim you truly did it!

Show others what you are doing.  You can add a synopsis, even post an excerpt.  If you are graphics minded, you can add a cover for you novel.  NANO says by adding a cover it seems to spur you on to hitting that Winner goal. 

Another cool feature is the timer challenge: Word Sprints.


You can use their timer to set a period where you want to write.  10 minutes?  30 minutes?  Get ready, set the timer and go!  One of the many features that is available to you all year round to aid you in writing daily.  On your mark, get set, go!

To keep you moving forward with a good daily writing habit all year long, they have now added Goal Trackers

You can set how many words you need to finish on your project, how many days you hope to take in reaching the goal.  Log in daily, just like you do during NANO.  It will show your progress, gives you how many words you are averaging each day.  By using the tracker, you are encouraging yourself to set a pace and stick to it.  By doing only 542 words per day average (around 2 pages), I was able to turn out a novella in 45 days this summer.  It’s already published! 


You can set more than one, as many as you like.  So for those who are jugglers—doing more than one WIP at a time—you can create a track for each novel or novella you are working on.  NANO also keeps a running total of ALL the words you have written.  Rather impressive to see.  Currently I am closing in on 2 million words.  How many did I write before I started using NANO?  

NANO also offers an editing challenge.  You did NANO and finished your novel.  The project is ready to polish and prep.  During that month you will focus on editing and getting the novel ready for submission.  In summer they offer a Summer Camp to keep you focused upon writing, which is always so hard with all the temptations outdoors. 

So NANO isn’t just a month long challenge each November.  It’s a great writer’s resource tool that helps train you to write faster, more often, and helps you set goals and stick to them.  You will find when you have a Sprint timer or a chart(s) that show your progress each day, you are more likely to create that daily space in your life to write.

So, join NANO for the November Challenge, but stick around all year.  Your writing habits will improve and see you producing on a better pace.

Happy Writing!!

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Currently has two series in production—Medieval Scottish Historicals for Prairie Rose Publications —Dragons of Challon™and Paranormal-Contemporary romances for Montlake Romance at Amazon Publishing Sisters of Colford Hall™ and is launching a new Medieval series for Prairie Rose PublicationsHell Knights: Knights of Hellborne™ 
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  1. Helpful comments all. I've done NANO twice, finished once and working on making it all the way through this third time. Now that they offer options year round...well, I have no excuse. *Smile*. Thank you. Doris

  2. welcome. I was always complaining about not having a good tracker. I tried to make one for myself but I would forget or lose it. Now it's all there. Love the timer to pace yourself. So it's all year around site to keep me on track now.

  3. Hi, Deborah, interesting overview of Nano. I did it only once about 5 years ago but it changed my life. My kids were still young enough that I felt guilty taking time away from my family and work commitments. I tried Nano and discovered I could set up a routine where I still got everything done and could complete the challenge. I've stuck to that routine to this day. And because I sat down with nothing in mind except an opening scene and just let it flow I discovered something about myself: I'm a romance writer!It's so great you have a local write-in in your area. You've inspired me to look into Nano again. Though the novel I first wrote for Nano is still in my WIP pile. I like it but it needs a lot of work. Happy writing this month. Having a major holiday during Nano adds to the challenge!

  4. You don't have to push at the NANO pace, but the trackers allow me to keep up with my writing, how much I have written, gives me tool to keep focused. I have been producing at a higher level so it's become a daily part of my writing routine. I cannot think them enough.

  5. I have never attempted NANO. I think it scares me to think of piling on so much at the speed of lightning. Haha Big chicken, huh?
    Your post was very interesting. You certainly were thorough. I don't think I will ever attempt to participate in NANO, but I can see how it could be very helpful.
    I should sign this "Poky Writer". LOL
    All the best, Deborah.

  6. Deborah, I've always wanted to do NaNo, but boy, November? Such a bad month with the holidays coming and trying to get everything in order for that. Now that the kids are grown and gone, the pressure isn't on like it used to be, but I still have that "mindset" that my busiest time of year is NOW and I'm sure a lot of that is because of the publishing business--we have so much to get done in a window of time for the holidays. I'm really glad to think that I might be able to actually do this but just at a different time of year. Thanks for this excellent post!

  7. I'm in Year 9 of NaNo. I love it, and I look forward to it. This is the one time during the year that I set 'fairly' firm boundaries with myself and my family and I write like a crazy woman. I can narcotize my inner editor during November. lolol I've cranked out many rough drafts over the nine years. Will all of them see the light of publishing? Oh heck no. But I have these rough drafts nonetheless. I also look forward to Camp NaNo in April and July. I use these two months to hit the revision and editing pretty hard.