6 NaNoWriMo Tips + #ROW80 and a NEW Twitter Handle

Despite having shingles, it’s been a (sort of) moving and (sort of) shaking kind of week.

Below are six of my tips for improving your NaNo wordcount. I’m still setting things up for 2012, but you can find me on the NaNo site as jennyhansen.

I haven’t done a lot besides laying in bed with the stupid ongoing shingles headache (I’m on Day 16 now) but there’s been a lot of MENTAL preparation, which is something I don’t always take time for.

Big news flash: I changed my Twitter handle. I am now JennyHansenCA.

You don’t need to re-follow me (though I hope you will follow me if you aren’t). I heart Twitter and would love to meet up with you over there there.

Please note: if a tweet isn’t listed as coming from JennyHansenCA I won’t be alerted that you showered me with Twitter love. Ergo, I can’t say thanks (and get a quick head slap to return said Twitter love back to you).

The only ROW80 things I’ve done this week are prep for NaNoWriMo. Sadly, that’s about all the gumption I’ve got right now. However, I’m sharing my NaNo Prep Love with all of you!

6 Easy Tricks To Increase Your NaNoWriMo Word Count

The wonderful chaos that is NaNoWriMo starts in a few days. Most of the participants have been working like wild banshees to get book ideas prepped, scenes outlined and the writing engine revved.

Bonus Tip: No writer I know plans his writing time better than Gene Lempp, so be sure to go follow him. (He’s spooky productive.)

When the start flag gets raised at 12:01 on November 1st, we all want to be ready.

What does that mean exactly?

I’m sure you’ve all figured out the biggest detriment to the November word count, right?


Yep, that’s right. Good ol’ life doesn’t stop and move out the way, just because we have writing goals. Plus, everyone needs to re-charge to even be productive at word count.

Birthdays, Thanksgiving, work projects…will still happen in November. You just need to plan accordingly and set aside enough writing time to get your 1,667 words a day – or whatever your word goal is. 🙂

Keeping that in mind, here are the “behind the scenes” things I believe will pay off the biggest in terms of page count:

1. Blogging ahead

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 recommend you shoot for being at least 1 week ahead, possibly two. I do this by keeping a lot of Draft posts in my dashboard, ready to schedule whenever needed.

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. You might also subscribe to their Office of Letters and Light blog. In this blog, I can guarantee there will be Baty-isms (sayings from NaNo founder, Chris Baty) like: “Your Story Matters” and “Run Whooping Through The Valleys Of Your Imagination.”

3. Download the NaNoWriMo version of Scrivener

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.

And if you want to make sure you aren’t flailing in Scrivener, I highly recommend Gwen Hernandez’ latest book, Scrivener for Dummies. (Complete AwesomeSauce!!)

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. :-)

If you’re a Do-It-Yourself kind of WriMo, I highly recommend this post from August McLaughlin – remember a healthy writer is a productive writer. (Said by the organic gardener who has freaking shingles.)

5. Plan November events in advance

My husband and I already planned my birthday celebration, my RWA meeting 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’m doing everything gluten-free this year too. WOOT!

6. Spend extra time with family NOW

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.

If you need a NaNo giggle, I highly recommend InkyGirl’s NanoToons. That’s where I got the graphic for the top of this post.

Write on!! If you want to encourage your ROW80 pals, click here.

What are your NaNo planning tricks? What helps you stay motivated to write? Do you participate in the November Writing Frenzy each year? Enquiring minds love to know these things here at More Cowbell!


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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51 Responses to 6 NaNoWriMo Tips + #ROW80 and a NEW Twitter Handle

  1. Woman, you may be the only shingles sufferer on the planet to write blog posts and prep for a lofty writing challenge during the peak of your trials. Huge hats off to you! Particularly for also prioritizing wellness and rest.

    Keep taking care of you, or I’ll have to join NaNo just so I can have the sickness fairy spank you in a fantasy story. 😉


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOL, I’m not sure if that makes me a good writer or just a sucky patient. 🙂

      I don’t expect to get more than a few pages a day in for at least the next few weeks but that doesn’t mean I want to miss out on NaNo. It’s tons of fun. 😀


  2. Jane Sadek says:

    Good luck Nanowrimoing. My plans, now that I’ve gotten my life back from the series of family crises which have held me hostage for 18 months, is to get the rewrite done. The best part is that somehow, even with all the stuff that was going on, I managed to find a critique group. I think that’s the God part of this whole experience.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      That’s fantastic, Jane! A great critique group is worth their weight in gold. Enjoy the freedom of your rewrites – the family members who are watching over you are excited for you. I promise. 🙂


  3. John Holton says:

    I’ve already tried NaNo for this year, in August, so I’ll be sitting this one out. I hope your headaches go away; don’t wait too long to see the doctor if they persist.


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Thanks, John! And good for you in getting a productive summer under your belt. 🙂

      The headaches are growing slightly (very slightly) less frequent. For example, yesterday instead of having it ALL day, I only had it part of the day. And of course all of the night. The nights are the worst. But, at least I got a few hours of reprieve. Wheeee!


  4. You are TRULY amazing. I am only now quietly getting back into my writing groove. Losing my computer actually was more of a loss than I can explain or could have ever anticipated. I can’t add that pressure this year. And I have a header contest, my 45th birthday (Shhhhhh!) and my father’s 75th party to plan. I guess I didn’t me tigon Thanksgiving or work. So yeah. I’m out. I like your new Twitter handle! Good luck to you during Nano. 🙂


  5. Gene Lempp says:

    Excellent planning tips, Jen! I think I have all of them covered, except the meals but we aren’t lucky enough to have a service like that here – all the same, plenty of cooks in my house (grins). The blogging ahead is probably the biggest one for me, and a great trick that I learned from you last year (now to wedge a few more into the snippets of time). I hope that your health takes a positive turn soon. Peace, my friend – see you in NaNo and have a fantastic week 🙂


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      LOVE the new picture, Gene!! I think blogging ahead is a huge time saver in general. I have about 10 drafts on my dashboard right now, but I had 18 before I got sick.

      October/November seems to be the month that kicks my health’s ass each year. Last year, I had a monster flu and then pleurisy. I don’t know what’s up with that, but I’m tired of it.

      The good part is, I have peace and a sweet hubby. The rest will fall into place, I’m sure. 🙂


  6. zkullis says:

    Jenny. Please keep taking care of yourself. I can’t possibly do the NaNo thing, but I wish you the best of luck with it and your imminent recuperation. 😉


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Sweet, Zack! I’ll tell you, with a hubby like mine…not recuperating is not an option. He’s good like that. I’m in the process of taking the 18 supplements required by Stupid Shingles each day. Then I’ll plug my nose and down the apple cider vinegar.

      See? I’m doing my part…


  7. Yeah, I’m prepping for NaNo and a hurricane this week LOL
    Just added you as a buddy! I can’t think about pre-planning for a whole month (meals, and cleaning, and blogging) to have more time to write … I can do it a week at a time, though,
    Good luck!


  8. Diana Beebe says:

    I’ve been on the fence about joining the NaNo writing frenzy, but I may just live vicariously through everyone else to push through the last bit (~8K or so) of the draft I’m working on. I’m impressed with your preparation. Good luck!

    Feel better soon!


  9. Thanks for the tips! This will be the second time I’ve done NaNo. I won in ’09, but I wasn’t published then, nor did I have a regular blog. Or a book to revise. Or WANA friends. Or…. Anyway, I’d already decided I need to stock up on blog posts, and I’m planning to recycle a few old ones. I have a lot more followers now than a year ago, so they should be fresh to *someone.* And I’m totally with ya on donating! That $10 is a steal for the motivation. I added you as a Writer Buddy, too. Hope you feel better soon!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Nice! And congrats on all those new followers. Kristen Lamb will tell you flat out – no one remembers the majority of your blog posts after 9 months. They just don’t. Thanks for adding me!!


  10. MarinaSofia says:

    I can’t believe you take the time from your shingles-suffering to help prepare us all mentally… Bless you, Jenny, and hope you feel better soon for all of the challenges ahead!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I’m SO sorry about the shingles! I’ve never had them, but I hear it’s a horrible experience. I didn’t realize headaches went along with it. I don’t blame you for lying around. And, yet, such a great blog post! Even if someone isn’t doing NaNo (too much stress for me now that I’m getting older), your tips work for other situations where one’s time might be tied up. It can even help us get more organized in ROW80! 🙂


  12. Jenny,
    Good grief, woman. Are you secretly a superhero? Great tips for NaNo, or just life, as always! 🙂


  13. Oh, Jenny! You are amazing! A massive headache/shingles and blogging! And wonderful tips! I hope you start feeling better soon!


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  15. Good luck during NaNoWriMo, Jenny! This is my first year, so I’ll probably need all the encouragement you can muster. I may not comment here much, but I think you ROCK!


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Sweet Nicole! Thanks for the comment and you will love NaNoWriMo. 🙂

      Be sure to hang at the website and on Twitter at the hashtag. If you have local write-ins, go to those too. Fun, fun, fun!!


  16. Laura says:

    Great tips Jen.
    I really hope you feel better soon. I’ll add you over on Twitter and Nano. x


  17. Shah Wharton says:

    Honesty Jenny – How do you do it? Loved your tips… I’m fighting to get the last 100 pages of edits out of the way so I can send off my MS to the editor then finally relax and sort out NaNo – I know there will be planning along with writing going on as i have no time to do so beforehand this year. And I’m even thinking of doing my first rewrite of the one I wrote last instead of book three which was my first idea. Sigh… no matter what, I’m using the drive it gives me to accomplish something, damn it! Good luck to you and all your readers. X


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  19. Julie Glover says:

    GREAT tips, Jenny! I’m doing NoNoWriMo (was it August who suggested that?), where I don’t write but cheer on all of you who do! I’m too deep in edits to even think of writing something else–even if those stupid plot bunnies keep hopping through my head. (Kill the bunny!) Have a great week!

    (And when is your birthday? I’m celebrating this month too.)


  20. Piper Bayard says:

    What a great cartoon! And some excellent tips to go with it. Just happens I’m diving into the prose right now. Not really doing NaNoWriMo since everyday is NaNoWriMo, but perhaps the energy will be inspiring. Hope you get to feeling better soon!


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  22. Mike Jensen says:

    Hî Jenny, great advice on finding time for all that extra writing in Nov. How do you get it all done, on top of everything else you do? I am just catching up on reading your blog, so sorry for the late comment, Mikey


    • Jenny Hansen says:

      Very sweet of you to be diving into the blog!

      Well, first I accept that I won’t get it all done. I just try. And I give up all TV and limit myself to just a few books for the month. I combine activities, and depend heavily on my hubby! Plus, I’m learning to write faster.

      Oh, and I sleep 5-7 hours a night, usually. I might have to bump that one up this year so I don’t have a shingles relapse, but usually I just give up a few hours of sleep.

      And then, I go back to accepting that I won’t get it all done! 🙂


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