NaNoWriMo WIN, and how I did it

2013-Winner-Vertical-BannerToday the validator was posted at the NaNoWriMo website, allowing those of us doing this crazy challenge to validate our novels when we reach 50,000 words. I reached 50K on Nov. 22, but am still going with the story. Still, I couldn’t help jumping the gun and validating my novel, just so I could get all my “Winner’s goodies”, and see that lovely purple bar under my name, stating “Winner!”

You can find me over at

I’ve been asked how I write fast enough to get to 50K in 22 days. First of all, if you think that’s fast, you should check out the Beyond 50K Forum. There are folks over there writing 250K words in 30 days, which is absolutely insane. When I try to think about how they do that, my brain explodes.

But for me, writing 50K in one month is a challenge anyone can do. But you have to have a plan, and stick to that plan.ย Here’s what I did:

1. I wrote every day, even when I didn’t feel like it.

2. I set a goal of 2,000 words a day instead of the usual 1,667 NaNoWriMo recommends. This way, if I get behind one day, I’m still doing okay.

3. I wake up at 5 am every morning to write. After all, sleep can happen next month. I also bring a notebook with me to my day job and write on my lunch break, and then type what I wrote during lunch in the evenings.

4. On the notebook thing – it’s crazy how writing a different way than you’re used to can totally increase the amount of words you’re writing. I thought it would be the opposite. But when I’d sit down to type at night what i had written during the day, I’d be amazed to find 2,000 words or more at times. I think it also helped that I didn’t know how much I was writing at the time, and that I had no internet to distract me.

5. A change of venue (where your kids, spouse, or furry friends aren’t hanging out) can do amazing things for your noveling success. And it’s also much more interesting than your kitchen table.

6. A puppy in the lap makes the novel writing process something to look forward to every early morning. I highly recommend it.

He's so sweet when he's sleeping...and not trying to sit ON my laptop.
My neurotic little monster puppy is so sweet when he’s sleeping…

7. If you can take any vacation days from your day job during NaNoWriMo, DO IT! I took a week off of work, and it was the best week of my life. I got to pretend I actually earn a living writing novels, giving me a taste of what the future is going to be like. And it allowed me to get in a couple of 5K word days.

I know there are a bunch of you who have either reached 50K, or are well on your way there. What are some of your tips to reach 50K and beyond in 30 days?

11 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo WIN, and how I did it”

  1. Congratulations, Crissi. Tis an amazing achievement however you slice it and I don’t blame you for validating early. Not least, the site sometimes goes into crazy-crash-mode in the last few days, but also… it’s just nice, y’know?

  2. Good job! The feeling of seeing that purple bar is amazing.

    One tip I would give is something you already said, don’t write the minimum. I pushed for 4k a day but settled for nothing under 2k. Of course a day or two has unexpected plan changes and I only hit 1k words. If I would have been doing the minimum I may not have gotten anything those two days and would have been behind.

  3. Thanks for the link to my website ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m hoping to finish my word count tonight. I have followed some of you ideas for getting there too. Well done to you.

  4. Crissi – I am in awe of you and people who can do this as I know I couldn’t even come close. But you have inspired me to be better. I have just printed out your tips and will post them on my wall . Congratulations you’re A WINNER!!!!

    1. Thank you! I finished the whole entire rough draft on Nov. 30, with a wordcount of around 71,000! I surprised even myself on this one, especially since I “pantsed” more than “plotted” on the storyline. More on that soon in a blog post. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. Pingback: Making our passion a priority | Crissi Langwell ~ Author

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