NaNoWriMo 2020 and Why I’m Breaking the Rules


I love NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

Last November was peak NaNo for me: I went to my first in-person write-in’s, hit my 50,000-word goal, and met a group of writing buddies I still speak to (almost daily) twelve months later.

This year’s looking different. It’s 2020. I don’t think I need to explain more than that, right?

Anyway… the ‘official’ targets for the ‘full’ November NaNo challenge have always been:

1. Start a new project and

2. Hit 50K words.


And then of course there are two summer camp events (April and July), where anything goes: set your own wordcount goal, edit, work on multiple projects, whatever.

Based on how my April and July Camp experiences went this year, I’m reassessing how to get the most out of the NaNoWriMo experience next month. And I don’t think pushing myself toward something unachievable is the best strategy. 

“A NaNo Rebel is a NaNoWriMo participant who chooses to write something besides a novel of at least 50,000 words in November. Some NaNo rebels choose to revise and edit their novels, while others wander into the worlds of nonfiction, video games, scripts, and academic writing.”

I’m still aiming to hit that golden 50,000-word goal. I’m hoping to write at least something every single day and average out at the magical 1667 word a day target.

I’ll get there in whatever way I can, and be happy about it.

I’ve currently got a WIP I’ve been working on on-and-off all year that I reckon will wind up around the 100,000 words mark. Except, around halfway through, I realised I need to burn and completely restart the first 25,000 words. Yep. Changing just about every single thing. But that’s fine.

Getting a finished (with this big edit) first draft is my main goal for NaNoWriMo.

However, if July and April were anything to go by, my concentration isn’t what it was last year. To make sure I have something I want to write every day — to build up daily and more efficient writing habits — I’ve got some rebellious contingency plans for days when I just can’t face that WIP.

** Two short, spin-off stories for my current WIP. They’d be a few thousand words and, if nothing else, let me get to know two of my supporting characters better.

** My next project! I have a loose idea for what big WIP I want to work on while the current one is resting. I’ve only done a smidge of planning, but I wrote about 5K for this project in July. It’s a completely different genre, so jumping in here would give me a fresh burst of motivation.

** Short prompts. Some of these will help me get to know my MCs/world-building better, others might spark something completely random (which maybe, one day, I’ll develop). I did this in July — came up with a prompt for each day — some prompts I never used at all, but some days I wrote a couple of hundred words for two or three of them. It motivated me to write something even on the days I was really struggling and helped me to feel that I had achieved something.

I’ve put together a PDF (with space for writing in short fills) and a Word Doc with 30 writing prompts for my NaNoWriMo writing group as a back-up for getting our ideas flowing. If you’re interested, you can download it too. 

NaNoWriMo 2020: 30 Writing Prompts (PDF)

NaNoWriMo 2020: 30 Writing Prompts (Word)

Are you taking part in this year’s NaNoWriMo? What are planning to write?

How has 2020 affected you writing style and goals?

6 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo 2020 and Why I’m Breaking the Rules

    1. Thank you! ❤ That sounds like a fun project. I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes for you 🙂 Best of luck!


    1. Yeah, I find the first week to 10 days is pretty smooth sailing — lots of ideas and excitement — then I have a lull before I get geared up again to race for the finish.

      Liked by 1 person

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