The Ultimate NaNoWriMo Survival Guide

(With Preptober and Nation Novel Writing Month right around the corner, I’m reposting these tips to help you survive this crazy writing challenge. Stay safe and stay creative, writer bugs! – Victoria aka Lady Jabberwocky)

Hello Writer Bees,

Signing up for NaNoWriMo this year? You’re going to need all the help you can get.

This guide will help you survive National Novel Writing Month.

Find the Time 

To reach 50,000 words goal, you’ll need to write about 1,667 words a day. Come up with a plan, find the best time for you to write.  Make that time commitment. Schedule what part of your novel you will work on each day. Decide whether you are a day or night writer. Create a routine and stick to it as best you can. And don’t beat yourself up if you miss a day, it’ll happen to everyone.

Set Up Your Writing Space

Establish your writing space. A place to be organized and creative. A place where you can focus and write and hopefully not be disturbed. Dedicate a work area, with all your research and inspiration materials nearby. Make sure you have all your needed resources close at hand. Whether it’s at home, at the public library, or at the local coffee shop, find your cozy corner of the world.

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Keep Resources Close

This coincides with creating a great work space. Notes, historical sources, journals, character profiles, outlines. Everything.  Keep all research material organized and in reach, in case you need a reference.  Use time in October to gather information and prepare for the writing ahead. Because I’m writing a story set in a specific time period (1920s), I have bookmarked a couple of historical resources, just in case. I also have a book of photos of Brooklyn in the 1920s that I like to glance through for inspiration.

Writers Require Nourishment

Be prepared with all the snacks and beverages you’ll need to get through a month of writing. I’m talking leftover Halloween candy. I’m talking caffeine, and lots of it. I’m talking the comfort food that makes your heart happy. Also, I’ve heard some even meal prep ahead of time. IF you have time, consider prepping meals in advance and leaving them in the freezer. Look, some would suggest eating healthy, and while that is true, sometimes, you need a bag of salty potato chips. And no one will judge you for devouring the entire bag.

Goals and Rewards

Set smaller goals for yourself. 10k, 20k, 30k, etc. And when you reach them, reward yourself. Whether its with your favorite movie or favorite meal, celebrate those little milestones. During National Novel Writing Month, every word counts. So, treat yourself and do something special for you once you reach a certain word count. Whatever makes you happy and relaxed, do that. This will keep you motivated and encourage you to keep going.

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Outline

Whether you are a planner or a pantser, have a general idea for a story. Develop your characters. Establish some kind of plot line, even if its a vague idea. Note the key scenes of the plot. It’s important to have an outline. And remember, use the method that feels right to you. Every writer has their own way of planning a story. Do what works for you.

Have a Support System

We all need someone in our corner, supporting us. Find some writing buddies. Consider attending write-ins and writing events. Find the people in your life you trust, who you can talk openly to. A significant other, a friend, a teacher, a classmate. Have someone to express your worry or doubt or just iron out ideas with. Someone to cheer you on through the absolutely ridiculous journey that is NaNoWriMo.

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Surround yourself with other writers. And hey, feel free to add me as a writing buddy on the NaNoWriMo website. My username is LadyJabberwocky.


What’s a necessity in your NaNoWriMo survival kit? Let me know in the comments!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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December Writing Goals – NaNoWriMo Continues?

December is here. The New York Winter chill is upon us. NaNoWriMo 2020 is officially over. Or is it?

Even though I did not reach my word count goal this month, It’s fine, I still feel like a NaNo winner. No matter how many words you wrote, you should still feel like a winner. Any amount of progress is to be celebrated.

Frankly, National Novel Writing Month was a great experience for me. I’ve met some extraordinary writers here on WordPress and on Twitter. Seriously, you guys are incredibly talented. I love hearing about your story ideas as well as your experience as writers. We’re all in this writing community, we need to stick together and support one another.

I’ve actually added words to my WIP. For a long while, I wasn’t writing much. I felt stuck in my plot and completely unmotivated to fix it. The self doubt was heavy on my shoulders. NaNoWriMo pushed me to write. To write regularly, on an almost daily basis. Inspired me to add new scenes, to give my characters complexity and to be more creative. And the world needs creativity now more than ever.

So, to keep momentum going, I’m going to continue to write like it’s NaNoWriMo into December. And maybe even into the new year. I’m holding onto this newfound spark for all it’s worth. For my writing project,  I’m still hovering around the halfway mark, only a couple thousand away from my original goal of 20K. The finish line seems so far away, I’m still battling my fear of never completing my WIP.

Will 2021 be the year I finally finish and publish my novel? I really do hope so.

Thank you for the support and love, writer bees. Sending you all the positive writer vibes.


How was your NaNoWriMo experience? Did you reach your goal? How is your writer spirit feeling? Talk to me in the comments, I love to hear from you all. And check out this week’s writing prompt.

Stay safe and keep writing!

—-Lady Jabberwocky

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NaNoWriMo 2020 (Week 4)

Hello everyone!

There’s only a few days left on National Novel Writing Month. We’re in the home stretch. Keep writing everyone, the finish line is in sight!

Sorry, this update will be short. Recently, I’ve been starting to get wrapped up with holiday preparations. I’m spending time with family and doing some Christmas shopping.

For those wondering, I had a small, relaxing thanksgiving with my family. We watched March of the Wooden Soldiers, our holiday tradition. It’s a classic Laurel and Hardy film. I cooked a dairy free meal and stayed in sweatpants all day. A lovely dinner, indeed.

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Onto my NaNoWriMo progress! Unfortunately, I haven’t written much this week. What with the holidays and all. I’m still hovering around 10,000 words, halfway to my goal. Although, I haven’t made much progress word count wise, I’ve gained a new perspective on my story. There’s been some tinkering with the outline and characters.

Suspects are developing and growing more complex. New scenes and setting are being added and explored. Clues in my mystery are being more thought out and carefully placed. Despite the word count total staying the same, my WIP has grown/evolved this month. And that, I will celebrate.

Also, I’m acknowledging my weaknesses as a writer. Setting and character descriptions don’t come easily to me. It’s something I’m actively working on. I’m trying to take the time to imagine something in vivid details. Man, this Nano experience is becoming a real eye opener for me, huh?

Still, I’m inspired to keep writing even after the end of November. NaNoWriMo in December anyone?


Thanks for stopping by this blog! I appreciate all the support and positive vibes. How’s your NaNoWriMo project going? Did you reach your goals? Talk to me in the comments. I love to hear from you all.

Stay safe and keep writing

—- Lady Jabberwocky

NaNoWriMo 2020 – Week 3

Hello everyone,

We are on week three of National Novel Writing Month. How’s everyone hanging in there? Hope your projects are going well and your plans are on track.

I’m nearing the 10,000 word mark, which is halfway to my goal. I’ve been writing a little bit everyday, mostly during my lunch break at work, when I’m hiding in my cubicle. Will I reach 20,000 words by the end of the month? The pessimist in me says probably not. However, I’m writing and actually making good progress. For once, I don’t feel stuck in my WIP anymore. And that was my main goal for NaNoWriMo, to get unstuck with my story. Can you believe it? It took two slow weeks of writing to finally kick in to high gear.

Write Animated Gif

But I will admit, I fudged up a bit. Another goal for the month was to not delete anything I had written. And I did. Believe me, I had to. Those unnecessary junk words were getting in my way. It was like pulling weeds out of a garden. Still, I’m trying not to delete any more sentences, at least for the rest of November. December will be a complete slaughter of words when I start editing, I can assure you.  

Remember last week? When I told you guys I was having trouble figuring out a single clue in my murder mystery? The story needed a piece of evidence connecting a suspect to the victim. This missing puzzle piece had been bothering me for weeks. Well, I might’ve cracked the case, no pun intended. I’m in the middle of workshopping an idea for a clue that might be what I’m looking for, what my plot needs. Although, I’m not sure yet if this clue will make the final draft, I still want to test it out. NaNo is all about trying new things in writing, right?

Image result for light bulb moment gif | Funny reaction gifs,  Vulnerability, Creative process

I think opening up about my writer struggles to you guys opened up my brain to a sprig of inspiration. Good thing this blog is like the empty void I yell my writer frustrations into.  Creative endeavors are hard work. Us writer need to stick together and support one another. The writing community is absolutely amazing that way. So, thank you very much, my lovely readers, for all your kind words and support during NaNoWriMo. You really have no idea how much I appreciate your encouragement and sweetness.

For now, I’ll continue writing this murder mystery while preparing for the holidays. Sounds reasonable enough.


Talk to me in the comments. Let me know how your NaNoWriMo projects are going. And honest question, what frustrates you about writing? This empty void is big enough for everyone to yell into. As always, I love to hear from you writer bees. Best of luck to everyone participating in NaNoWriMo!

Stay safe and keep writing!

— Lady Jabberwocky

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NaNoWriMo 2020 (Week 2)

Hello everyone!

November is flying by. We’re almost at the halfway point for National Novel Writing Month. Hope everyone’s NaNoWriMo projects are going well.

Good news, I’ve been writing. Not much, but words had been added to my WIP. I’ve written a little over 5,000ish words total, which is about 25% of my NaNoWriMo goal. Actually, I’m taking my own advice and reading my old posts on building suspense in fiction. Surprised some of my writing tips are actually helpful. The inklings of new scenes have been introduced to the outline. Funny enough, I resurrected a scene from my original draft from years ago. I guess having 1,000 drafts comes in handy, now and then.

Since my WIP is set in the 1920s, I’ve hit some bumps in the road with historical accuracy this week. Which happens. Coincidently, It’s happened quite a bit this week. Three or four things I thought about incorporating into the story were not around in 1924. Bummer. Still, it keeps me on my toes, and it forces me to think outside the box. Sure, my MC can’t take his date to a “talkie”, but what else could they do for fun during the roaring 20’s? Drinks at a speakeasy, anyone?

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When writing “historical fiction”, continuity and accuracy with every little detail is critical. So, if talking films or televisions or flashlights were not created yet, it can’t be in the story. That’s why researching your setting is important. And you actually learn a tidbit of trivia along the way.

Down side to NaNoWriMo, writer’s block and self doubt returned at the beginning of this week. However, I’ve rebounded and am pushing through. I’m starting to worry I won’t reach my goal for the month. I wish I could write more words each day. I’m sure I’m not the only one feeling this way. All we have to do is keep writing. We must keep in mind that progress is progress, no matter how small.

Stay Positive Good Vibes GIF by Positively Present

Y’know, this blog is about sharing my honest experience as a writer while helping other writers. And lots of you have commented in the past about how hard writing a mystery must be. I’ve encountered this exact challenge this week. Frankly, one single clue in my murder mystery is holding up the entire operation. Snagged on a small detail. Can you believe that? Like a missing puzzle piece that’s driving me nuts.

Sometimes, a mystery story is a mystery to the author behind the mystery. Even I’m still untangling things with my outline. Mystery writing is all about balance, juggling clues and suspects is the trickiest part. How and when to present a clue to the audience is like a game. That’s why I’m using my time with NaNoWriMo to sort clues and suspects in the story.

Detective GIFs | Tenor

I’ll figure it out. I’ll keep on writing. Just cross your fingers for me, writer bees.


How’s your NaNoWriMo project going? Talk to me in the comments. I love to hear from you all.

Stay safe and keep writing

—- Lady Jabberwocky

NaNoWriMo 2020 – A Slow Start (Week One)

Hello writer bees!

Hope everyone has had a productive start to National Novel Writing Month. I’ve been following a bunch of amazing writers on Twitter, reading their excerpts and praising their impressive word counts. Seriously, some of you are incredibly talented and really crushing November. Hats off to you folks. You are doing great!

Unfortunately, I’ve had a slow beginning to NaNoWriMo.

Of course I got super sick the first weekend of November. Of course I did. While everyone else got a jumpstart on writing, I was curled up with cramps all weekend. And then, when I started to feel better, the election happened. (And kept happening.)

I don’t know about you all, but I’ve been a bundle of stress and anxiety for the past couple days. Between NaNo and this seemingly never-ending election alone, my brain is fried.

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However, I’m trying to make up for lost time. Writing during lunch breaks at work and after hours. I’ve added a few thousand to my overall wordcount. Maybe about 3,000 words this week? Not a big leap, but hey, progress is progress. Sticking with my untraditional goals, nothing has been deleted, no matter how badly I want to. Plus, that twinkle of motivation is returning to my work, which is what NaNoWriMo is all about, right?

Yes, It’s been a slow start for me. I have not given up yet. Slowly but surely, this WIP will get finished. Eventually. Shout out to my lovely boyfriend for being supportive and providing snacks during this crazy time. I plan to spend this weekend doing some writing sprints, boost my word count up and workshop some new ideas for scenes. That’s the hope anyway. Cross your fingers for me.

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To all those participating in National Novel Writing Month, best of luck in your writing endeavors. No matter how many words you write, celebrate every victory.

How is your NaNoWriMo journey going? What is your project? What are your goals for the month? And seriously, how are you feeling, you know, emotionally? Talk to me in the comments. I love to hear from you.

Safe safe and keep writing, writer bees!

— Lady Jabberwocky

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