Friday Reads: How’s NaNoWriMo Going?

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How’s the writing going? Catch up on the latest NaNoWriMo articles in this week’s Friday Reads.

I thought another NaNoWriMo roundup was in order this week, since many of you are deep into your novels right now. Or, you might be ready to give up. (But don’t!) I found most of these links this week on Google+ and Twitter.


Me: Giving yourself permission to suck — even just a little bit — is actually quite freeing. I mean, let’s clarify: you’re writing a first — or even a zero — draft for NaNoWriMo. You could argue that the value of the 50k draft that will be birthed wet and struggling from this process is that you can use it as a very robust outline/treatment for the rewrite. And you’re not relegated to one-draft-and-done. You get as many of these as you like. I think it was Delilah Dawson who said that it’s like a video game with endless lives. You get as many chances as you need to get it right.

Editing During NaNoWriMo: A Writer’s Perspective

If you are editing during NaNoWriMo, the most important thing is that you write more than you edit. Editing is a tool to help you write more. November is not the month to make pretty words. It is the month to write words, period.

Here are a few of the things I think about when I’m writing and drafting. If all of these criteria are met, I will allow myself to do minimal editing.

1: Does the editing work resolve a critical problem with the novel?

2: Can I leave a notation and leave it alone?
3: Does the editing work take less than 30 minutes for the day?
3a: If it doesn’t take 30 or fewer minutes, can I make extra time to write today?
4: Can I do the editing work as I reread to find my place for starting today’s writing?
4a: See 3/3a.

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo, Karen Woodward

50,000 words sounds like a lot. And it is! But you’ve got 30 days to finish, so here’s how the word count breaks down:

Write every day: 50,000/30 = 1,667 words per day

Take one day off a week: 50,000/26 = 1,923 words per day

Two days off a week: 50,000/22 = 2,273 words per day

I try to do a minimum of 2,000 words a day. That way I can have the odd day off if I need it.



The writer today is expected to multi-task and it can be a daunting experience if you are not organised. In between writing, blog posts, interviews, editing and promotion, chores still need to be done, social commitments still need to be met, dogs need to be walked, dinner still needs to be cooked. The modern author doesn’t have the luxury of cancelling everything like many participants do for the month of NaNoWriMo, so if you are pretty sure of your processes and productivity, refuse to cancel anything you would otherwise do during November.

At the same time, keep detailed logs of your writing and what else was going on at the time. A simple spreadsheet or notepad log should suffice but spend the time leading up to NaNoWriMo deciding what you need to log in order for the data at the end to be meaningful and useful to you. It might also be helpful to collect a couple of week’s data beforehand in order to have something to compare against.

Likely Result: A social engagement will result in you losing a day’s writing, and as many of you know, once behind target it can feel like a losing battle. However, you can use you logs to identify the things that throw your productivity off. Maybe writing at certain times of day proves more beneficial or you seem to be unable to make your word count the day after seeing a movie.

Finally, if you want more writing help or advice, the Writer’s Knowledge Base is a great place to start. It includes many articles on the various writing strategies, tips, and hints available. Plus it includes some Critical Margins articles, too.


Kevin Eagan (@KevEagan) is a freelance editor and writer living in Central Florida. He edits book manuscripts and articles for local and national publications. Critical Margins is his place to share his interests. You can also check out his professional website,