P. S. Hoffman's Writing Blog

The 5 Keys to Win Your NaNoWriMo

Warning: if you win NaNoWriMo with these tips, you might become an unstoppable writing machine.

To win NaNoWriMo, you need a plan, a laser-like focus, and most of all, you need a secret weapon...

1. Block Out 2+ Hours Every Day

Defend your sacred writing time like a junkyard rottweiler guards his favorite bone.

You have to write ~1700 words a day, which means you need at least two hours to write uninterrupted every single day. Growl at people who try to steal your time (unless they are your family, in which case, growl nicely).

And watch out for public enemy #1: YOURSELF.

Log out of social media. Close all your tabs. And stay focused on writing. I promise you, you can win NaNoWriMo if you just do this.

But the rest of these tips will only make it easier...

2. Write as early as possible

Trust me on this one. This will work wonders for your writing. If you can get 1000 words done in the morning, 677 at night is NOTHING.

There’s a reason why most of the famous authors talk about writing in the mornings

3. Failure Should be Part of Your Plan

Let's say you finish your words in two hours every day. That means NaNoWriMo will take you about 60 hours of work.

That is a lot of chances to mess up.

Don’t be afraid to fail. So what if you missed one day? JUST KEEP WRITING.

Even if you miss one week, keep going.

…even if it is your last day of Nano and you haven’t written one damn word. Just. Keep. Writing.

If you can feel a “failure day” coming up try to pre-write. It’s taxing, but [I couldn’t think of anything, so insert your own incredibly inspirational and unforgettable message here].

4. Tell Your Internal Editor to STFU

Grab a lightsaber, a blowgun, or your weapon of choice and go take out your inner perfectionist.

Nano is the one journey where it is about the destination.

Your goal is only fulfilled once you get there. Stop caring so much about what you write. Let it flow through you like hate flows through a Jedi turning into a Sith Lord. Let your fingers type away, like force lightning running through a keyboard.

If a word pops into your head, and it makes sense AND it adds something to your story - write it down. Write down all of your ideas - yes, even the shitty ones.

If you mess up? Pretend that you didn't, and keep going. Leave a note, if it's really bothering you.

You can pare down the resulting inky, overgrown bonsai tree later.

5. The Secret to Success? Love the Process

NaNoWriMo is stressful only if you stress about it. The best way to win NaNoWriMo is with a smile.


When you sit down to write, and tell yourself "I'm going to have fun writing awesome things today," you are going to love the whole experience. The words will flow easier, and you will care less if your writing doesn't live up to your expectations (hint: they never do).

Enjoy your imagination. Be glad that you are making serious progress on your next book. Write about the things that you want to read.

You can always fix things later, so just go forth and WRITE.

9 comments on “The 5 Keys to Win Your NaNoWriMo”

    1. Well, that one's on me, Ari. My fault!

      NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a month where authors around the world dedicate themselves to a single task: writing a novel in a month.

      It can take a ton of different forms: first drafts only, 50k words, editing only, et cetera. Hope you'll join this quest too!


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P. S. Hoffman
About P. S. Hoffman
P. S. Hoffman writes Science Fiction and Fantasy. He is obsessed with all things futuristic, primarily Artificial Intelligence and the transformation of societies. Here, he shows others how to sharpen their fiction-writing skills by dissecting the techniques used by the world's best authors.

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