How to Lose NaNoWriMo

After today, there are five more days remaining in NaNoWriMo. I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking about how many more words there are left to write before midnight on November 30th in order to win. And for those of you unfamiliar with NaNo, winning means that you complete your novel’s word goal set at the beginning of November (50,000 words for adults, young writers set their own goals). Now, I don’t know about you, but I really want to win NaNoWriMo.  But I guess, if for some reason, you didn’t want to win NaNo, you certainly don’t have to. For those of you who don’t want to win, I thought I’d be helpful and compose a list of four sure-fire ways to lose NaNo (please read this post in the slightly sarcastic tone it was written in :)).

1. Change your plot idea.

If you’re looking for a way not to win NaNo, then switch your novel idea halfway through the month. In fact, the more you switch your plot idea, the more likely you’ll be to lose. You’ll get so far behind in your word count that you’ll never catch up. Of course, if for some reason you WANTED to win NaNo, then it would be best to stick with using the same old idea you started with.

2. Don’t join.

You are supposed to sign up for NaNo by November 1 (although it is fine if you sign up later). Of course, if you don’t ever officially join, you can’t officially win. And when you don’t sign up, you also can’t reap the benefits of winning like a “winner’s certificate, good for bragging rights on all seven continents, and starting December 5, many more winner goodies (including bound copies of your novel, writer tools, and publishing opportunities!)” (from Also, when you don’t register, you can’t receive any help from the NaNoWriMo forums when you’re stuck on a plot or can’t seem to find the right name for a character, and you can’t enjoy the social clubs where you can meet other writers who like the same things you do. If you want to lose, you definitely don’t want any support or encouragement.

3. Start Late

Another way to ensure that you don’t win NaNoWriMo is to start late. Very late. Don’t bother even beginning your novel until the last week or so. In fact, you should start today. That way you can rush around, try and write 10,000 words a day, fail, and not win, which is what you want to do, right? 😉

4. Give Up

Of course, the most certain way to never win NaNoWriMo is to give up. Just step away from that keyboard or put that pen down, and stop writing! Tell yourself that you had no chance of making it anyway, and it’s for the best that you don’t keep writing. Make sure you come up with at least one excuse. Not enough time, not a great story or plot, flat characters – whatever works best for you is the reason you should use for giving up.

Now, if you have changed your mind and decided you want to win NaNoWriMo, just do the opposite of what this list told you to do. But really, who wants to do that? 😉 Truthfully, though, winning NaNo is achievable. You don’t have to write brilliantly or even edit before turning it in for the final count. And then, even if you never do anything else with your novel, you have the satisfaction of knowing you won NaNoWriMo.

~ Kayla


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