How to Write a Novel in Thirty Days…

With less than a week to go (four days to be precise), myself and my co-ML (Municipal Lisason) for NANOWRIMO Jo Land, are hotting up the preparations for the Teesside kick-off party this Thursday night.

NANOWRIMO stands for National Novel Writing Month and it is a global phenomenon. People all across the world are preparing for the journey of a lifetime, as they attempt to write a novel (or 50,000 words to be more precise), during the month of November.

I’ve done it for the last two years and it is something I would recommend to anyone, even if you have no aspirations to be a writer, just for the sheer experience.


If you feel inspired and are preparing yourself for the event here’s my top ten tips:

1. Your daily target is 1,667 words. You can find a host of reasons why you can’t reach it and only one why you should – you said you would. So commit from the beginning and accept no excuses!

2. Have a vat of coffee prepared before you start – just in case you need it!

3. Oh, and lots of your favourite snacks by your side. They’re a great motivator as a 500 word treat.

4. Staying on the subject of food…use take away food – it saves cooking, time you can use to hit or even exceed your daily target.

5. Sign up to the NANOWRIMO website – it has a daily target monitor that you can fill in and that really feels good when you see it building up.

6.  Drop into a NANOWRIMO Write In run by your local ML (see below for Teesside). Check the NANOWRIMO website for yours and if there isn’t one, start one.

7.  Don’t focus on the quality, just quantity. This is an opportunity to free yourself from your internal editor, that voice that constantly nags you that ‘you’re not doing it right’ or ‘that wouldn’t happen’, and basically puts the kibosh on all things fun and creative.  This is an excuse to free yourself form the tyrant, it’s an excuse to let your imagination fly and go a little wild.  The editing bit, should you choose it, comes later.

8. Do a little thinking preparation beforehand. Have a character in mind or a location or an idea – it doesn’t have to be fully formed, and in fact is probably better if it isn’t. Just have a starting point and then let yourself write.

9.  If you get stuck make up something silly, introduce an elephant walking down the high street, get your character to suddenly have x-ray vision or turn into a banana, it does’t matter what you write, just keep writing, keep writing, keep writing.

10.  Don’t give up –  keep saying to yourself you WILL do this and guess what?  You will do it.

I guarantee that if you keep going and hit the target, what you’ll be left with at the end of the experience is a 50,000 word manuscript, a host of experiences and a massive sense of achievement, and if you happen to have joined in any of the Write In’s you’ll most likely have made a few friends along the way.

I seriously can’t recommend it enough!

Happy writing.

The Teesside current schedule:

The Kick Off

Thursday 31st October Cafe Create – 8pm KICK OFF party, followed by writing from midnight to two in the morning for those who want to get started straight away!


Write in’s are an opportunity to meet with other NANOWRIMO’s to moan, congratulate, boast, commiserate…delete as appropriate. It’s also an opportunity to socialise and get inspired to keep going, pick up tips and, probably most importantly, get down and write!

Jo will host write in’s at cafe create from 3-5pm every Saturday in November. No need to book.

Allison will host write in’s at ARC, Stockton from 1-3 every Monday in November.  Book here.

Allison and Jo are open to new ideas and welcome suggestions on how we can help you and keep you motivated so keep an eye on the Teesside forum for more events as they unfold.  You can find the forum on the NANOWRIMO website.


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About me

Allison Agius lives in the North East of England with her husband.  They have five children between them. 

When she’s not working or writing she spends her time riding her Honda Hornet (in the summer), running (in the summer) and eating chocolate!