Desk with laptop etc
my desk for writing poetry, where every word counts (photo credit: James Kemp)

NaNoWriMo 2016 starts tomorrow, so here are some special NaNoWriMo Tips to get you ready because every word counts. Tens of thousands of writers are waiting with fingers waggling over their keyboards. They’re aiming to write 50,000 words before the end of November.

2016 NaNoWriMo Tips

1. Find a Time

The trick is to find a time when you can write. Mornings are usually good because you’re fresh, but others find late at night works for them. You might neeed to experiment a little to find out what works best for you.

I tend to write on trains, when I can get a seat. So I get some short sharp 30 minute sessions every working day. I just use what I can because every word counts.

2. Write something every day

NaNo isn’t really about writing a novel, it’s about perseverance with writing. So as long as you do write something every day then you are a winner regardless of the word count. Think of it as endurance training for writers. It’s good to get some excellent words down, but actually you win by getting words down.

3. Tape over the delete key

Every word counts, whether or not you think it is good enough. Seriously though. You are trying to get used to writing. All writers know that first drafts suck, and what you are writing for NaNoWrimo is a first draft. If you stop to edit then you’ve stopped writing. The point is to keep writing. So, don’t even think about editing. You can edit in January.

4. Keep Writing

Just keep writing. This is what NaNoWrimo is all about. Think about your story when you can, and then write it down when you get the chance. Every word counts towards the 50,000 word target.

You might get demoralised by slow progress, or you might run out of steam with an idea, or go off plan.

None of this matters. You just need to keep writing until the end of the month. The more you write, the more likely you are to make the target. You are also more likely to get the habit of writing. If you get that habit then the word count is irrelevant. You’ll learn how to express yourself better (eventually if you keep on writing).

So, just. Keep. On. Writing.

Because Every word counts.

5. Every Word Counts

Have I mentioned that every word counts?

Of course I have. That’s because every word counts. Let me labour this point a little more. Every word you write relating to your story counts:

  • to the mystical 50k;
  • in your attempt to pick up the habit of being a writer;
  • in the telling of your story;
  • to you being a writer.

It doesn’t matter what those words are, whether they are awesome dialogue, the plan for your story, a synopsis, some character background, a backstory scene, a load of tell that doesn’t show. Don’t worry about this. Write it down and count it towards your NaNoWriMo.

Edit in January

When you win, and you will win when you remember that every word counts. Put your manuscript aside (or keep on writing if 50k words wasn’t enough). Take a month of writing other stuff at your own pace. Read a little about the craft of being a writer. Then in January, when some time has past and the dust settled, go re-read your NaNoWriMo offer and mark it up for re-writing, deletion and addition.

Have that plan in your head when you are writing in November. It will help you to resist the temptation to edit during November.


  1. Find a Time
  2. Write Something Every Day
  3. Tape Over the Delete Key
  4. Keep Writing
  5. Every word counts