Monday, October 11, 2010


By Maria Ferrer

November is National Novel Writing Month aka NaNoWriMo.

The Challenge is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. Sort of like the process by which Mary Shelley wrote FRANKENSTEIN. Her, Byron and others were hanging out and decided to challenge each other to write a story. Mary’s story has lasted decades -- a wish every author shares. But first we must write the story, and that is where NaNoWriMo comes in.

Here are some tips on preparing for the NaNo:

1. REGISTER. You need to register by October 31st at . Once you are in, you will receive weekly inspirational messages and be invited to write-ins around the city. They are fun and energizing. You should try to go at least to the Launch Party.

2. CHAPTER NANO LOOP. Join the RWANYC NaNo Loop. Writing may be a solitary profession but not in November and not during NaNo. To join loop, email me at Also, make sure to “friend” your chapter mates on the NaNo site so you can keep track of everyone. Note: we are going to try to gather weekly to “write” together depending on everyone’s schedule. Shall we say Tuesdays in November?

3. PENCILS READY. Well, we’ve come a long way, baby, and most writers today are probably using laptops, netbooks, iTouches or iPads to write, but a crisp paper notepad and a sharp pencil can work just as well. But do make sure that your computer is virus free, that it has plenty of storage space for those 50,000 words, and/or you have plenty of notebooks and pencils handy.

4. MAKE AN OUTLINE. This is optional. You are actually supposed to write your 50,000 words by the seat of your pants, but I find that I need more structure than that. I tried writing without an outline and did not finish because my story was all over the place. Maybe it’s the curse—and blessing—of being a writer that I have to have an outline. It can be all of one paragraph or 50 pages, but I need my outline, my road map. 

5. PREPARE MENTALLY. Take deep breaths, take long walks, do yoga, make a playlist, buy more fragrant candles, etc. Relax. You are a writer. You can do this.

6. SCHEDULE TIME TO WRITE. Set your goals. You can write every day, twice a day, only on weekends, whatever works for you. The objective is to write, write, write.

7. HAVE FUN. Writing can be fun. Enjoy the NaNoWriMo Challenge.

The NaNoWriMo countdown has begun. You only have three weeks to register. Don’t delay. Register and join the RWANYC NaNo Loop today. Good luck.♥

Maria Ferrer has won the NaNoWriMo Challenge twice. She is looking forward to a third win.


  1. This is great advice. Good luck to everyone who participates this year!

  2. Maria, I'm so excited to see this post! I can not wait for NaNo! This will be my fourth year and hopefully my fourth win.

    I'm so glad there's a chapter loop!

    I'm counting down to November!

  3. I do think an outline can help you succeed. Or at least an awareness of where your story is going. I think any prep work for this feat is time well spent.

  4. I LOVE NaNo! Maybe it is because I write the way I talk (no cracks from those who know me!), maybe it is because I'm not the sort to jump out of airplanes or go bungy jumping, but I do love the sense of wild, fling-myself-off-the cliff-figuratively speaking sense of the occasion. Sometimes I outline, sometimes I just jump with a title or a character and watch what happens. It's a great learning experience and what a great sense of accomplishment you have when you reach November 30 and look at what you created! I say go for it - and I'll see you on the way down!!!