NaNoWriMo 101 – Writing Plans


Depending on where you live, autumn’s in full swing, or it’s already murdered by winter. Depending on where you live, Thanksgiving. Not shaving. Black Friday. Day of the Dead. No more baseball. Guy Fawkes. Native American. Leonids meteors. No more pink NFL gear. Lava fest. Beluga caviar smuggling. Taco Pizza Day. Week of walking on your hands. Anti-hiccup awareness.

November to writers: NaNoWriMo. I needn’t say more.

That’s why we’re Writing All Wrong.

What’s your plan for NaNoWriMo? Because I want to know how you plan to finish. I wish I could say I’ve gotten to 50,000 words, but I haven’t. The closest I got was 32,809. Is there a sure fire way to reach that hallowed mark of 50k? 

—Brandy Ferris, Kent Acres, Del.

(Note: NaNoWriMo is short for Narcissistic Nonsense Writing Motivation or something like that. Simple premise: write a “novel” of fifty-thousand words within the month of November. The prize? Fifty-thousand dollars. In the competition’s 196-year history, only three have claimed the prize.)

Most important thing about a competition of words: numbers. 50,000 is a big African elephant to swallow. Most choke on the trunk right away, but even if you successfully engorge that much, you’re still not going to cram down the elephant’s head, tusks, and feet. Come now, everyone knows you can’t eat an elephant in a day all by yourself. Even if you chop it to eat over the month, you realize, “Wait, I’ve got ears for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and this hindquarters is way too much for the week. It’s gonna go bad before I can finish it. Better bring the neighbors over…”

Yeah. Reduce it all you want, but you’re still not planning. You can win that $50,000 if you have a concrete plan.

By the numbers:

November: 30 days. Requirement: 50,000 words. Words per day: 1,666.66 (need 2/3 of a word there).

Easy? If it were easy, then everyone would win. At this point in the blog, I’ve only got 363 words. Only 22% of goal, and I’ve been writing for hours.

By the plans:

The People’s Daily — 1,666ish words per day, every day, without fail. Rain, shine, beetles, brine.

Recommended if you’re single, unemployed, insomniac, or live the same kind of boring life day in and out. It’s the most straightforward, but I hope you’re cozy with monotony, because this plan is like superannuated mice. Really old, really quick.

The Weekend Wartortle — 5000 words per Saturday/Sunday, and 455 words per weekday.

Recommended for those who, like everyone in the known universe, work a Monday-Friday, 8 to 5. Minor quota for the day, with generous allowances for the weekend. Keeps you sharp, lets you avalanche on your days off.

The Weekend Warhalla — 6,250 words per weekend day. No weekdays.

Recommended for sissies who think they’re too busy during the week. Enjoy eating one-fourth of the elephant each weekend.

The Weekend Liberator — 2,273 words per weekday. No weekends.

Recommended for those who will go insane during the week to regain sanity during the weekend.

The Stay-at-Home Mom Who One Day Wants to Write a Novel — 1,000 words per weekday, and 7,000 words per one weekend day.

Recommended for, well, stay-at-home moms. You can squeeze 1,000 words in between naptimes, feedings, and when the tots are glued to Croelius and the Barnyard Gang DVDs. And when your spouse comes home, even better, as he can watch the kids while you finish off the quota. He’ll sign on, of course, since you’re not “writing all the time” with your one weekend day break. That gives him the liberty to wash the car, ride motorcycles with his buds, and do all that “guy stuff” you hate guys doing. But hey, you’ll be finishing a novel. 

The Prime Number — 1,667 words per day.

Recommended for math geeks who have to write a prime number of words per day. Convenient.

The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde — 1,000 words (and change) when in your right mind, 666 when you’ve undergone a hideous transformation.

Recommended for lycanthropes, sufferers of personality shift, menacing dissociative disorders, and other folks with terrorizing transformative tendencies.

The Micromanager — 140 words per hour, for twelve hours per day.

Recommended for people who really have to break it down into digestible chunks. 140 words per hour? That’s like a really big tweet every hour, on the hour. Trade in your mindless tweets every minute for mindless writing every 60 minutes, and you’ll be a winner in no time. Well, in 30 days no time.

The Procrastinatorsaurus Rex — 12,500 words for the last weekend in November, followed by about 8,334 words for the last three days in November.

Recommended for people who don’t get around to doing this until Thanksgiving weekend.

The Daily Double — Write one word on November 1st, then write double that (2 words) for the next day, then double the previous day’s amount (write 4 words) the next day, then 8 words the next day, then 16 words, then 32, and so on.

Recommended for people who don’t understand the concept of compound interest or a geometric series. But the bonus here is that while you’ll have over 17,000+ words to go on November 15th, you’ll be 15,000+ words over the goal on November 16th. Oh yeah. Math works miracles for writing.

What’s your plan?

Writing All Wrong can be reached via email (, followed on Twitter (@WritingAllWrong), and probed for more NaNoWriMo nectar during the month.


3 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo 101 – Writing Plans

  1. The Secretary: 90 words per minute, written inconspicuously in a new email message box in Outlook (Subject: Staff Meeting Minutes) when the boss is looking over her shoulder.

  2. Might as well… =)
    The College Student: 80 words per minute while glancing at your textbook to make it look like you’re writing an essay…. Then cramming for your midterm.

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