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Day 1: Beginning the Countdown

Welcome to Day 1 of The Countdown to NaNoWriMo email series. Today we’re going to cover two areas: Nano Overview and Setting Your Priorities.

Nano Overview

If you are here, I hope that means that you decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year, or at least you’re seriously considering it. Congratulations! Committing to this challenge was a huge step for me. It helped me to feel more serious about my writing and to get a lot of practice in the craft.

Some of you may be encountering NaNoWriMo for the first time, so I thought I’d start with a brief overview of what Nano is and the specific steps you can take now to get started.

The original focus of Nano was for participants to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November. That requirement has morphed over time. Now it is perfectly acceptable to write 50,000 words of anything. You could write non fiction, journal, or write blog articles.

National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.

— NaNoWriMo mission statement

Since 1999, NaNoWriMo has been challenging writers to step fully into their creativity. In 2017, the challenge attracted over 400,000 participants. Nano has led to thousands of success stories and at least 250 traditionally published novels, including Sara Gruen’s Water for Elephants, Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Hugh Howey’s Wool, Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl, Jason Hough’s The Darwin Elevator, and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder.

What you can do now to get started.

Fill out your profile on NaNoWriMo.

Announce your 2018 novel.

Select your region.

Get inspired. has plenty of additional resources to help you get prepared and motivated.

Sign up for local (see your region) and online events.

You should now be prepared to take advantage of all that has available for you.

Setting Priorities

As a tool to help you figure out your October priorities, I’d like you to do an exercise that I call the Priority Wheel. You will rate your level of readiness in various areas on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 means “Not At All Ready” and 5 means “Totally Prepared.” Think about your level of readiness in each of the eight areas on the wheel below and shade in the corresponding rings on each piece of the pie.

Use your Priority Wheel to guide you to the areas where you’d like to dedicate your focus in October. This “Countdown to Nano Email Course” is designed to help you do just that. While I will be sending out a daily email suggesting where to focus your attention each day, you can also consume the course as a Choose Your Adventure. To do so, visit the program page. Here, you will get (almost) all of the content right up front so you can dive in wherever you would like.

Now, as the final part of Day One, let’s get you focused on your goals.

Visit the Countdown to Nano Program Site for a listing of all the articles in the series.

If you’re not already on the “Countdown to Nano” mailing list, sign up here

I’m offering a free webinar to help you prepare for Nano! Check it out here.

Need someone to bounce your ideas off so that you're ready for Nano? I love to help Wrimos focus their writing efforts so I'm offering a free 30-minute consultation to help you structure your approach to Nano. You can sign up here.

Looking for additional support and accountability come November? I can help with that! Learn more.


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