If you’re a writer—in any capacity—then chances are you know what NaNoWriMo is. If you don’t know, though, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which takes place every year in November. Thousands of writers furiously scribble, hammer, and pound out their new stories or new words for their current works in progress (WIP) in an effort to reach the 50,000-word goal for the month.


Hopefully, if you are participating in NaNoWriMo, you spent the month of October in full-on #NaNoprep mode, and now you are ready to go. Even with your storyline plotted and your characters sketched out, though, you may still need some help getting through November. Throughout this month, I will be posting one blog per week—four total—with my thoughts on two main NaNoWriMo support systems and their importance, how to stay sane this month, why reaching 50,000 words doesn’t have to be YOUR goal, and what “winning” NaNoWriMo really means.

So, let’s get started on this first week: two main National Novel Writing Month support systems and their importance.

NaNoWriMo Friends. Whether you are registered on nanowrimo.org and can add Writing Buddies or you aren’t but you can connect with other NaNoWriMo participants through social media or school or what-have-you, get yourself some NaNoWriMo friends. Participating in NaNoWriMo is a unique experience, and you don’t need to feel isolated—in fact, feeling alone throughout the process is thoroughly unhelpful. If you have friends who are going through the same thing you are, you can offer each other encouragement, advice, and accountability—which, by the way, are all vital to surviving NaNoWriMo. Who else is better equipped to help you than someone who has gone through, or is currently going through, the same crazy adventure?

Non-NaNoWriMo Friends. While friends who are not participating in NaNoWriMo can still offer you encouragement, advice, and accountability, there are a couple ways they can give support specifically as non-participants. If they aren’t also scrambling to write 50,000 words, then they quite possibly might have more down-time in their days if you need friends to help you brainstorm. And when you ask them for advice on a particular character or plot point, they won’t have their own characters and plots running around in their heads confusing the issue. Also, your non-writing friends should be on your NaNoWriMo support team because with 50,000 words on the line you need to be writing—all day, e’ry day—and it would be nice if your friends understood that and respected your preciously guarded time. You don’t want them to feel slighted or ignored, and you don’t need them making you feel guilty about spending all your time writing.

NaNoWriMo can take a lot out of you. Writing in general can take a lot out of you. Mentally, emotionally, and physically. And if you want to not only reach your goal but also reach your goal well (read: without dying or murdering anyone), then having a support system is key. We are only two days into November, so if you have one, good. If you don’t, what are you waiting for?? If you can’t find anyone to join your team, let me know in the comments section below, and I will gladly be your personal cheerleader. 🙂

Next week I will be giving tips on how to stay sane during NaNoWriMo—subscribe to my blog so that you don’t miss it!