NaNoWriMo Cheat Sheet

November 17, 2014

November, as you probably know from all your friends tweeting about it, is National Novel Writing Month. People from all over the globe commit to writing a 50,000 word rough draft of a novel, joining forces to do what seems impossible. For all you out there wondering just what NaNoWriMo is all about, we’ve assembled a handy cheat sheet for you.


• To reach the 50,000 word goal, you need to write around 1,667 words per day. Or, if you’re only working weekends, over 6,000 words per day!

• Last year, there were 310,095 participants, writing 3,520,123,164 total words. Only 14% of participants reached the 50,000 word goal.

• The #1 NaNoWriMo city in 2013 was London, which means a lot of Brits were hurriedly typing away the night of November 30th.

• Because of Daylight Savings Time ending, you’ll be getting an extra hour in early November. This year it was on November 2nd. Whether you use it to sleep or to catch up on writing is up to you!

• The NaNoWriMo organization started in 1999; 2014 will be its sixteenth year running.

• Over 250 NaNoWriMo books have been traditionally published. Well-known success stories include:

Water for Elephants, by Sara Gruen

Her advice: skip to the fun parts.

The Night Circus,by Erin Morgenstern

Her advice: don’t delete, take risks, and let yourself be surprised.

Cinder, by Marissa Meyer

Her advice: when stuck, inject the unexpected.

We can’t guarantee that Reese Witherspoon will star in a movie adaptation of your NaNoWriMo book, but it has happened! You can check out a full list of traditionally published and self-published books over at the NaNoWriMo website.

• Each year, established authors give pep talks. This year features Veronica Roth, Tamora Pierce, Chuck Wendig, Kami Garcia, and more! Last year, our very own guest judge Lev Grossman gave a fantastic Hunger Games-inspired pep talk.

In the end, National Novel Writing Month is there to give you that impetus to get started, get writing, and, as Miss Frizzle says, get messy! It teaches what can be hardest about writing: actually committing time to it. So follow YA novelist and NaNoWriMo winner Robin Herrera’s advice: “Write every day and don’t look back! Focus on getting the words out, not making them perfect.”

Tell us about your own NaNoWriMo experience in the comments!

 by Arielle Yarwood 


At The Masters Review, our mission is to support emerging writers. We only accept submissions from writers who can benefit from a larger platform: typically, writers without published novels or story collections or with low circulation. We publish fiction and nonfiction online year-round and put out an annual anthology of the ten best emerging writers in the country, judged by an expert in the field. We publish craft essays, interviews and book reviews and hold workshops that connect emerging and established writers.

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