Many writers take on the challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November. If you’ve never written a book before, it’s an incredible challenge. In order to meet the goal, a writer needs to write 1,666 words a day, every day, for 30 days. Many attempt and fail, while some writers love the torture and continue the tradition year after year.
It’s a tough challenge but here are some resources to help the writer in your life (or even yourself) through it!
Essential NaNoWriMo Resources
The NaNoWriMo Workbook
Writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days is going to be hard. Perhaps very hard. But there are some ways to make it easier on you. And those ways, surprise surprise, are outlined in this manual, the NaNoWriMo Workbook, published by Fiction Attic Press as part of their Workbooks for Writers series.
They offer a series of 500 word prompts to get you started and also include helpful and detailed advice to flush out the entirety of your story, all in under 30 days. This isn’t a generic book about writing, it’s a very specific manual for how to get NaNoWriMo done like a pro. Oh hey, that rhymes.
Scrivener – Mac & PC Writing Software
Forget Microsoft Word, Srivener is the gold standard of writing programs for fiction writers. Used by countless writers, Scrivener for Mac or PC packs in all sorts of unique and clever features you won’t find elsewhere. With features like a built in story outliner, which allows you to drag and drop to rearrange scenes, and fantastic targets and statistics tools, you’ll be able to make and meet your daily word goals to finish your novel by the time the month ends. It also offers a distraction-free full screen compose mode and many other features like outliners and a set of special editing tools.
Buy Mac Version from Mac App Store
Buy iOS version from Apple
Check out the best software for writing a book.
No Plot? No Problem!
This is as close to an “official” guide to NaNoWriMo as exists. The full title of this book is, “No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days.”
It’s written by the founder of NaNoWriMo, Chris Baty, who offers tips to complete the challenge, as well as anecdotes from other writers who have successfully finished their novel in under 30 days. Baty also offers motivational stories and techniques on how to push through the difficulties of writing a book in such a short period of time.
Don’t forget to check out the Revised and Expanded Edition and the No Plot? No Problem Novel-Writing Kit.
Ready. Set. Novel!
Another book by NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty, this book is full of practical advice and lists of character Q&As, field trips, plot maps and inspiring quotes to help you accomplish your goal this month.
In fact, because of how useful it is for brainstorming, you’ll undoubtedly find it useful for getting organized for writing stories in general, long after NaNoWriMo is over at the end of November.
Ready. Set. Go!
The Writer’s Block: 786 Ideas to Jump-Start Your Imagination
The sky is blue, grass is green, and writers get writer’s block. What else is new? Every author has experienced this at one point or another (or many points) in their career, and this little block-shaped book is for just those occasions! It features hundreds of prompts that writers can flip to, to jump-start their next story idea, or get them out of a rut. As the publisher notes, “Many of these assignments come straight from the creative writing classes of celebrated novelists like Ethan Canin, Richard Price, Toni Morrison, and Kurt Vonnegut: Joyce Carol Oates explains how she uses running to destroy writer’s block.”
The NaNoWriMo Song
Okay, this one’s just for laughs and it might not help you out, but give it a listen. Somebody wrote a song about doing the NaNoWriMo challenge.
This peppy pop song by All Caps perfectly encapsulates the ups and downs that come with the challenge of writing an entire novel in only 30 days. This song may even help you out when you’re falling behind, tearing out your hair, and wondering why you agreed to do this challenge in the first place. Just a little musical inspiration to get you through the hectic month of writing.
Need some inspiration for writing your novel? Check out the best books on writing fiction, tools to destroy writer’s block, and our article How to Write a Book (step by step).