NaNoWriMo Tips from Dylan Newton

It takes TWENTY-ONE days to make something a habit. Gear up for Na No Wri Mo (National Novel Writing Month) next week and you’ll be on your way to making a habit of writing. On December 1 you can celebrate that you’ve written 50,000 WORDS!

First, find your road map and set your strategies in place.


Yes, in order to aim for success we need to make sure we have the tools to succeed.

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A few weeks ago I was in Florida at the Romance Writers of America Sunshine State Writer’s group meeting and had the chance to meet several published authors. The president of this chapter is Dylan Newton.

Dylan shared great tips that I’m going to implement during my writing sessions, and I thought you might like to do the same. All you need are these three things to help you stay successful:

1. Calendar

2. Timer

3. Dictionary

You can find all three of these on your smart phone or probably somewhere around the house.

Here’s what to do with them:

  • Find a blank calendar for November. Fill in all your scheduled appointments and commitments. Observe the time that’s left. Fill in how many words you hope to accomplish each day. Be reasonable based on your prior commitments.
  • Make your timer your new BFF. Each day in November set your timer for 45 minutes increments. Tell yourself you are NOT allowed out of your writing chair during that entire time. No excuses! If your spouse needs you or your children come to you crying tell them they have to wait. (Unless someone is bleeding.) Take a break for 15 minutes and address those problems. After the 15 minute break get back in your chair. Continue this regimen until your writing quote is done for the day.
  • Do the DICTIONARY DIVE when you are panicking about where to go next.  If you hit a roadblock and aren’t sure where to go with your story try Dylan’s cool idea. Here’s how: close your eyes, open your dictionary, point to a word, open your eyes and look at the word. Tell yourself you have to use that word in the next paragraph somewhere. It might take your story in a direction you never imagined. Think of it as a detour.Mark Twain spent months stuck in the middle of Huckleberry Finn before he decided to have Huck and Jim take the wrong turn on the river and get lost.

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Amazon link to Dylan’s books HERE.

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  1. These are good tips, esp the 45 min.. increments. I’m sitting trying to write at farm now w/ duct work being installed, water pipes next (geothermal project) and sawdust flying. If I can keep it up thru this, I can write through anything.

    • Wow, Delores, you’re making me feel inadequate today. You are ON TASK! Go girl. Glad you’re home safe and back to writing. You have so much to write about now.

  2. Thanks for having me as a guest, Michelle Weidenbenner! 🙂 And, Delores Topliff–you’re right! If you can write through THAT, my friend, you’ve got nothing to worry about for NaNoWriMo! Join the fun!! 🙂

    • Hi Dylan! Thanks again for sharing great tips with writers. I’m going to implement these–gearing up now. I have my dictionary and my timer on my desk. I’ve told my family and the painters who are working on my house that I will be IN MY CAVE starting Saturday. I’ll let you know how it goes. Good luck to you too!

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