Wattpad Creator Marianna Leal (@Hubrism) has been writing on Wattpad since 2018. Some of her popular stories include Kiss and Tell and Hot Like Ice. The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Wattpad corp. or affiliated companies.
What is NaNoWriMo?
National Novel Writing Month.
Some people describe NaNoWriMo as a competition, except it's not a competition against other authors, but against yourself. During NaNoWriMo, writers challenge themselves to write 50,000 words or complete a novel during the month of November in the same way marathoners challenge themselves to go the distance.
The roaring success of November’s NaNoWriMo has spawned two other seasons that are called Camp NaNoWriMo, one during the month of April and the other in July. Writers can set their own word count target for Camp NaNoWriMo—as high or low as they want. The camp seasons can serve as preparation for the bigger event in November, or they can be their own thing.
Who can participate in NaNoWriMo?
The requisites for participating in NaNoWriMo are very simple: being a writer who wants to get some words down on a page.
That's pretty much it. If you have a story you want to tell you can take advantage of the community excitement that surrounds the events. There’s nothing more motivating than seeing others go through the exact same experience as you, learning new craft tips, and supporting each other. It’s like a writers’ retreat that occurs all month long and online, in the comfort of your pajamas.
What is Rogue NaNoWriMo?
Do you want to join the buzz in the writing community but you’re in the middle of editing instead of drafting? Or are you about to finish writing one book and need to start a new one?
If so, Rogue NaNoWriMo is for you!
That’s the beauty of this event. It’s not so much about writing 50k words in one book, but about making progress on your project(s). However you need to accomplish that, the community will be there to support you.
Wattpad creators and NaNoWriMo walk into a bar…
…Not for a drink, but to hatch a plot. The plot of your book, that is.
I posted roughly two and a half novels on Wattpad every year for four years thanks to NaNoWriMo. I took advantage of the community buzz to sit down and produce as many words as my brain could. In fact, I even planned my drafting and editing cycles around NaNoWriMo and the Camp NaNoWriMos.
How can you succeed during NaNoWriMo?
Here are my favorite tips and tricks to be productive and also have fun during any NaNoWriMo season.
💡 Have an idea: If you’re a discovery writer, your starting point is the idea for your story. Is there an idea you’ve had that made you excited? Go for it. Set up your project, make a cool cover or mood board, and enjoy where the process takes you.
- Plot in advance: If you’re the type of writer who needs to know your goalposts before starting the game, the best you can do for yourself is to participate in Preptober (aka Prep October, or whatever the month before Camp NaNoWriMo is). Use this month to make an outline of your novel to the level that makes most sense to you. It can be a loose plan of your three-act story structure, the beats of your serial story, or a detailed chapter by chapter outline. The goal is to have a decent idea of how your story begins and where it goes after that.
- Start early: If you’re like me, a Plantser who off-roads quite a bit, start writing your book early. That way, once November hits, you already carry a lot of momentum that will push you through to the middle—and maybe even to the end—of your novel.
- Make a playlist: Nothing helps creativity flow better than getting in the mood of a story, so use Preptober (or the equivalent), to make a playlist inspired by the story and its characters. If it helps you concentrate while writing, the music will automatically put you in the mood of the story all month long. You can step this up by making mood boards, cover mocks, and anything that helps you get in the zone.
- No self-editing: This is the biggest key to success in my opinion. My favorite thing about NaNoWriMo is that I can draft up a storm without worrying about typos or inconsistencies. The first goal is to put words on the page and the second goal is to finish the novel. It’s not the time for stopping the flow to tweak a little sentence here, a little word there, in the quest for perfection. That comes after NaNoWriMo.
- Be consistent: Life happens and we can’t all show up to write every day on the regular, but do make it a goal to be as consistent as possible. Whenever the willpower fails you, all you need to do is go to the community and get reenergized.
- Don’t compare: Some people will have won NaNoWriMo on day three with 100k words, and if you’ve written 3k at that time it may feel like you’re not working hard enough. But that’s not true at all! You had zero words when you started, so compare only to your own beginning and not to someone else’s progress.
- Check out the Community Happenings: Is there a Wattpad Ambassador-run profile especially featuring NaNoWriMo projects? Or is there a contest where writers will be able to submit their NaNoWriMo novels after the event? Keep an eye out for the fun stuff the Wattpad community has to offer and if you want to participate, make sure to prepare according to the requirements.
- Stay hydrated: This applies to every day of the year, not just NaNoWriMo, but don’t forget you’re using your brain while writing and that takes energy. Drink enough water, eat well, and get sufficient sleep.
What should you do after NaNoWriMo ends?
If I wasn’t able to finish the novel during the NaNoWriMo event, I keep the same momentum the following month to make it all the way to The End. And whenever I complete the draft, I move on to what I call NaNoEditMo. This is when I go in and look at the masterpiece (aka the regurgitated contents of an open blender) that was my project and start the editing process.
Make sure to edit after NaNoWriMo to clean up the story before you post it on Wattpad. You want to put your best foot forward because the Wattpad community is always excited to highlight NaNoWriMo projects, so you’ll probably get a lot of eyes on your novel—and you may even enter it in the Wattys the following year!
Wattpad and NaNoWriMo walk out of the bar…
…Buzzed! Because this is one of the most engaging events for the writing community. New books means more to read and also more potential for opportunities, and what’s not to like about that?
Above all, have fun!