6 Easy Tricks To Increase Your NaNoWriMo Word Count

The wonderful chaos that is NaNoWriMo starts in less than two days. Most of the participants, myself included, have been working like wild banshees to get our book ideas prepped, our scenes outlined and our engines revved. When the start flag gets raised at 12:01 on November 1st, we want to be ready.

A lot of my writing work this week has been to prep for NaNoWriMo, but some of it’s very different than what I’ve done in the past. This is my 4th time doing NaNo and I’ve realized over time that the biggest detriment to the November word count is LIFE.

Birthdays, Thanksgiving, work projects…those are the things that suck up writing time. Keeping that in mind, here are the “behind the scenes” things I’ve done that I believe will  pay off big in terms of page count:

1. Blogging ahead

This will be the first NaNoWriMo I’ve participated in since I started More Cowbell. In the interest of spending more time on my WIP and less on my blog, I’m a few days ahead on scheduled blogs and a LOT ahead on ideas. I’ve got about 10 drafts started so that I still get the “brain warm-up” benefit of my blog, without all the time consuming aspects like planning the posts, formatting and finding graphics.

2. Donating To NaNoWriMo

Believe it or not, I expect this to help my word count in November and in the long run.

Donating even $10 to NaNoWriMo helps – it costs a lot of money to throw this event every year. Plus, our money goes to young writer’s programs, libraries, classrooms and camps. If you want to keep doing NaNo each year, it’s best to budget your $10 (or more) and pony up.

What you get back from donating (besides satisfaction and a halo on your profile) is a variety of nifty prizes. The one constant among the donation levels, and the benefit I’m excited about, is the bonus pep talks from NaNoWriMo Founder Chris Baty and various published NaNoWriMo authors. In my experience, these really help you stay focused and motivated on your work in progress.

Baty-isms (sayings from NaNo founder, Chris Baty) will be delivered directly to your inbox. In case you are new, some of the ones are remember are gems like: “Your Story Matters” and “Run Whooping Through The Valleys Of Your Imagination.” Now tell me those aren’t inspiring?

3. Download the WriMo version of Scrivener

This is the first year I’ve done this, mainly because the Windows version is finally out. I downloaded the program and am spending today practicing and compiling files so I’m ready on November 1. I didn’t want to get to crunch time and freak out because I couldn’t get my writing out of the program.

Just so you know, WriMo’s get a discount off the program every year. The trial is good until December 7th. All participants can use the code NANOWRIMO to get 20% off the program. NaNo winners receive a code to get 50% off the program. What a great prize!

All special NaNoWriMo offers can be found here.

4. Stock up on meals

My husband and I swear by Dream Dinners whenever big life events are on the horizon. We did this before our daughter was born too. If you have a local Dream Dinners (they’re in 29 states), order your food online, go there and prep your meals. It usually takes less than two hours to prep for one person and half that if you do it as a couple and you have an entire month of ready-made meals. Plus, our Dream Dinners lets us drink wine when we go at night and coffee when we go in the morning.🙂

5. Plan November events in advance

My husband and I already planned my birthday celebration, my RWA meeting, all the write-ins I’ll be attending and Thanksgiving. By sending these invites and completing the reservations and meal planning early, it will be less time away from writing. I’ll enjoy my Thanksgiving meal-prep more knowing it’s just a few hours away from my manuscript, rather than a day and a half. Plus, hubby agreed to buy and make the turkey! I’ll do everything else with his help. WOOT!

6. Spend extra time with family NOW

We had a pre-NaNo weekend this weekend, spending a lot of quality time as a family. I recommend romantic dates and big Halloween celebrations for everyone who has important people in their life that want to do these things. By taking time in advance and prepping your family and friends for a month where your head is firmly planted in your manuscript, your NaNoWriMo success becomes a group project.

What tricks have you learned for maximizing your writing time? Are there places where you write better? Are there treats or rewards you offer yourself for accomplishing your writing goals? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!

To those of you who celebrate it…Happy Halloween!🙂
Jenny

About Jenny Hansen

Avid seeker of "more"...More words, more creativity, More Cowbell! An extrovert who's terribly fond of silliness. Founding blogger at Writers In The Storm (http://writersinthestormblog.com). Write on!
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27 Responses to 6 Easy Tricks To Increase Your NaNoWriMo Word Count

  1. C.M. Cipriani says:

    Thanks for the tips Jenny! Good NaNo luck this year!

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  2. Annie says:

    Great tips, Jenny! I’m glad we will still have a few posts on More Cowbell, but we understand that your focus has to go to NaNo in November. Good luck!

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  3. ACK! Despite stating publicly on Kristen Lamb’s blog that I am “in” for NaNoWriMo, I remain on the fence. Not sure which way I’ll tip. Either way, I’ll be rooting for you, Jenny, and fellow NaNo champs.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You’re so funny, Gloria. My first few times at NaNo, I just jumped right in too. I was always glad, even when I didn’t “win” it. To me, the increased wordcount is ALWAYS a win.

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  4. Lena Corazon says:

    Fantastic tips, Jenny! At the moment, I’m feeling really good just having an outline to work with. After my CampNaNo experience in August, I know that the outline will be essential in allowing me to maintain my momentum.

    In terms of life management, I’m trying to set a routine for tackling household chores, and to make sure that I’m planning meals. If I resort to eating junk food all month, I’ll be a *very* cranky gal.

    Whee, I’m so excited! I am dying to start writing.😀

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      You are doing GREAT things, Lena! You just keep at it. The closest Dream Dinners to you is in Ventura (1413 Victoria Ave, Ventura, CA 93003), though it will only work for you if you have a kitchen to cook in. Let me know if you decide to try it…I’m interested to see if it works for anyone else.

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  5. Man, that 50% off the windows version of Scrivener almost makes me want to bite the bullet and do NaNo…almost. Great tips and good luck Jenny!

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  6. Katy Bennett says:

    Sounds like you’ve got nano nailed. The few times I participated I did love their prep talks. I might sign up next year and give it another crack depending where I am with a project. best of luck and thanks for dropping by.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      We’ll see if I have NaNo nailed, Katy…love that phrasing BTW! I think you should give it another try next year and look me up at “jennyhansen” when you do.🙂

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  7. Hi Jenny! Thanks for the tips. This is my first NaNo. I’m happy with myself already, knowing I donated money to a worthy cause. I’m unsure how much I’ll actually write, but I won’t know unless I participate.

    I do have a few newbie questions: Can I just use my regular word program or do I need a program like Scrivener? How do I account for my word count? Do I have to upload my work to the NaNo website, or is that optional?

    Thanks, kind of clueless. I do have an outline for this next wip and I am raring to go (despite a recently sprained arm/shoulder!). Good luck to everyone.🙂

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Jolyse,

      The first thing you need to do is go onto the website and set up your author profile, join your local regional Forum and find your buddies. Then tool through the site.

      You can absolutely use Word – most people do. The easiest way is to use a new document for NaNo. You don’t upload a daily wordcount each day, you upload the TOTAL wordcount each day at the NaNo site.

      You feel free to ask any of us and/or your Municipal Liaison for help.🙂

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  8. Tia Bach says:

    Great advice. My work in progress (co-authoring with mom on a follow up) doesn’t lend itself to NaNo, but I’ll keep this for 2012. Still, I plan to be the best ever NaNo sideline cheerleader. I might just have to take another picture to encourage all of you!!😉

    Sending you my very best *rah, rah* for November 1-30!

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  9. Such good resources! Dream Dinners sounds amazing – I used to do something similar when I lived in LA, and it was wonderful. I am excited about the extra pep talks too!! I got geared up for Nano one year, but then there were some serious life disasters, so I never even started. I’m nervous, but extremely excited to participate this year, especially with all these online friends to write with! See you Tuesday for the shotgun!

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, Lauren. Dream Dinners IS awesome. i don’t know where you live now, but they really are well spread out in the urban areas. I’m soooo excited that you’re participating this year. It’s gonna be a blast.🙂

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  10. alberta ross says:

    is that a proper version of scrivner or still a beat version – must wander over and check it out – I tried the beta version but my old machine couldn’t cope well with it – i did like the programme tho’ – great tips and ideas there and will look foward to seeing everyone up in the madness of nano – all the best

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Alberta, I believe it is the beta version but it is an improved one. If you have an old machine though, it will still wear it out. Are you planning on upgrading any time soon?

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  11. Sounds like your hubby is very supportive. Lucky gal.

    You know, if you were Canadian you could do Thanksgiving in October and it wouldn’t affect NaNo. I’m just sayin.🙂

    I think I’ll try out Scrivener for my next WIP as I’m too far into my current one to transfer everything over now.

    Happy Halloween.

    P.S. I tweeted you the candy corn recipe.

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    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Don’t think I didn’t think about that when you did your Thanksgiving post last month! My hubby is amazing. He is such a great writing and arts supporter.

      Happy Halloween to you too. I’m delighted to have that recipe…thank you!!!

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  12. Sherry Isaac says:

    Great prep list, Jenny. I did NaNo last year, not because I thought I’d have a beautiful, ready to publish novel in thirty days, but because I needed to prove to myself that I could push everything else aside, including my doubt and inner editor, and just write write write for 30 days. I made it. Blogging ahead and clearing schedule of sundries saved my life, but what helped me most was hubby was out of town for most of November. (Love you, Baby!)

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