Episode 161 – NaNoWriMo No-No’s

In this episode Mark shares some tips for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), as well as an overview of his previous NaNoWriMo experiences, sharing the errors, the mistakes, and the failures he has made along the way.

Prior to the main content, Mark shares comments from recent episodes, a personal update, and a word from this episode’s sponsor.

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Mark’s NaNoWriMo Progress so far in 2020

Overview of previous NaNoWriMo projects

The “Commune” poster that Liz created for Mark’s NaNoWriMo 2015 project.

Links of Interest:

The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

4 thoughts on “Episode 161 – NaNoWriMo No-No’s”

  1. I’m about 10,000 words into my third NaNoWriMo. For me, the biggest benefit is the accountability it forces on me–and at the end of the month I’ll have a first draft done.

    Having done it both ways, by far the easiest way for me is to work from an outline–then I can just focus on getting the words down instead of figuring out where my story needs to go (of course my stories don’t always go where I plan, but that’s good too).

  2. Hi Mark- I’m doing NaNo for the first time this year. Never had a project that was at the right stage. But 2020 has been the year of surprises (understatement) and lo and behold- I was ready to start the second book of a historical mystery series I’m working on. Book one was off with the developmental editor for six weeks so timing was perfect.

    I followed the advice of experienced NaNo-ers and prepped like crazy. Got the outline solid- in fact, picked up some great outlining skills by doing a deep dive into Save the Cat and KM Weiland’s chiastic story structure, the research (endless research!) nailed down, and even did a mock cover.

    I’ve been averaging 4-5,000 words a day. Hit a bit of a dip the day after the US election night coverage- too much stress set me back on my heels- but I’m back on track. I’ve got a published goal of 50,000 words but secretly hope to get the whole book done (about 90,000 words) by the end of the month. Really enjoying the NaNo community. Found a bunch of peeps in my district who I didn’t even know were writers- love all the inspirational messages and videos. But the best part is posting my stats at the end of the day and seeing the line graph move. hee-hee. Definitely going to keep a project for NaNo every year. I’m an everyday writer, but its rewarding to feel part of a community.

    Thanks for the podcast- keep ’em coming!

  3. The word you were looking for is “chain”. Funny enough there is a reddit AMA thread where Jerry said he never did any such thing. He is prolific though so he probably had something similar.

    I liked your comment on the fact that you failed nano because you were going over edits for one of your stories.

    I had every plan to hit NaNoWriMo hard. I had my second book set up. I had the outline done. I was 25k into it so far. So it would have been perfect to just finish it off.

    Then I took a step back. I still haven’t published my first book and am in the final revision now before publication. I pivoted and I am doing NaNoRevMo. I have done a chapter a day. If I finish before the month is out I’ll switch back to drafting.

    Which is just what the habit is each day. I am going to write or revise each day and get books published. “Ship it” is the key goal of any creative otherwise you are just journaling.

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