It’s almost that time of year again…no, not Thanksgiving but NaNoWriMo. The 30 days when writers around the world sit down to write 50,000 words in a month.

Have you tried it and failed miserably? Are you thinking about taking the challenge this year but not sure you have what it takes?

Here are five tips that helped me make it through my first challenge with my sanity and yes, more than 50,000 words.

Think Like An Olympian

You wouldn’t enter the 100 meters or the marathon at the Olympics without first putting in some training. The same goes for writing a book and especially one in 30 days.

Don’t wait for November 1st to roll around and figure out on day three you don’t have the stamina for that much writing. Between now and then, write every day even if it’s just starting out with 250 words and nothing to do with the story you intend to write.

Let Others Know What You’re Doing

Tell everyone what you’re trying to achieve. This serves two purposes. Firstly, it will hold you accountable. I find when I share my goal with others I feel almost obliged to achieve it…think major embarrassment when they ask you about it and you tell them you didn’t do it. Second thing is others will know your time’s going to be limited and give you breathing space to focus on your book.

Move Ahead

This has happened to me many times and I’ve had to train myself to not obsess over parts of my story that aren’t working. Don’t sit looking at your scene just move on to another part of your story that can almost write itself.

Don’t Second Guess Yourself

Some days I think my writing stinks and why should I think I’m even an author. We all have days like that which is fine but during NaNoWriMo, it can stop you from writing and before you know it, it’s December 1st.

This is a first draft you’ll be writing and it’s not supposed to be perfect…just write.

Don’t Self Edit

People ask me how I write so much in such little time. I hate to admit it wasn’t always like that for me. When I first started writing, I’d go back over scenes and chapters again and again until I thought they were perfect. Guess what? I got little writing done and a whole book took me forever. Once again, we’re trying to get a first draft written during November so don’t re-read what you’ve written the previous day, turn off that self-editor, and let those fingers fly.

Good luck to everyone who’s taking part in this year’s challenge.


About the Author

Susan Palmquist is an author, freelance writer, self-publisher and writing coach. Under her own name and also her pen name, she’s the author of 100 plus books. She’s the bestselling author of romances and also writes mysteries, short stories and non-fiction titles.

When she’s not writing she’s helping aspiring authors realize their dream. She teaches workshops through many of the chapters of the Romance Writers of America, and is also a tutor for a writing school. She blogs about writing related topics at This Writer’s Life and offers one on one critiquing, coaching and mentoring services.

You can find out more about Susan, her books and her workshops at and her writing community site at You can contact her at


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