NaNoWriMo: Preparing To Hit 50K

#NaNoWriMo: Preparing To Hit 50K #NaNoPrep #NaNoWriMo2016

NaNoWriMo is fast approaching, and that means it's time for some NaNo prep.

I know there are some of you that have already been working on preparations for the challenge for weeks (or even months), but I also know that there are many of you that haven't even started thinking about it yet, or that prefer to do minimal, or no planning at all. The good news is neither is wrong. You can in fact win the challenge without doing any planning in advance.

Today I'm joined by NaNoWriMo veterans Amanda Gernentz Hanson, and Vas Littlecrow Wojtanowicz to share some tips to help you win the November writing challenge. 

#NaNoWriMo: Preparing To Hit 50K #NaNoPrep #NaNoWriMo2016

Amanda Gernentz Hanson won in 2011 and 2012, and Vas Littlecrow Wojtanowicz won in 2005 and 2015. So how did they go about it? Did they prepare or did they just see what happened?

Amanda does a little of both. She explains "In 2011, I just saw what happened, but I plotted a little bit in 2012". When asked why she had this to say "I took a novel-length creative writing class in college, and we were taught to not plot ahead at all. But since then, as I’ve written more full-length stories, I’ve found that knowing where the plot is going at least a little bit helps guide you to your destination. Otherwise the stories get a bit off-track, and it’s sometimes hard to bring them back.

I've taken part in the challenge numerous times, and picked up my winner certificates several times. I personally found that I did better when I had just a vague idea about the main characters and general story I wanted to tell. Once I spent a lot of time planning before hand only to find that my characters took over and the story went in a different direction. 

Vas doesn't work much on plot ahead of time either. "I don't plot ahead of time because coherence isn't my main goal. I simply want to win the word race. My characters often develop in unpredictable ways, so I allow them the freedom to grow into their most authentic selves" she says. She prefers a more visual way of preparing. This is how she described it "I usually start preparing for the challenge one week beforehand. I'm a visual person, so I like to make doodles of what I would like to see in the story. I also spend many quiet moments letting my imagination wander. Just allowing my thoughts go where they will, really helps me connect with the world I'm about to create."

Top tips for winning

Amanda says "Keep writing, even if you NaNo graph shows that you’re behind! That’s the most discouraging thing, but the key to the whole thing is to just keep writing. You can do it!"

#NaNoWriMo: Preparing To Hit 50K #NaNoPrep #NaNoWriMo2016

Vas suggests "Scheduling your writing time and doing your best to avoid interruptions. I tried other techniques, but this one seems to be the most effective."

#NaNoWriMo: Preparing To Hit 50K #NaNoPrep #NaNoWriMo2016

So don't panic if you haven't prepared character charts, notes about locations, or even a basic plot outline. You can still win NaNoWriMo. The real trick to winning the challenge is to just keep writing. 

You can connect with Amanda Gernentz Hanson at and Vas Littlecrow Wojtanowicz at and


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