Pamela Koehne-Drube

Written by

Pamela Koehne-Drube

29 October 2021


NaNoWriMo for Busy People

National Novel Writing Month 2021 Banner

NaNoWriMo is a great initiative. It forces us, once a year, to sit down and finally work on that book we’ve had in our heads, dying to get out. But one thing National Novel Writing Month requires is the privilege of time, and that’s not something that everyone has. So how can we make it work for us – how do we make NaNoWriMo work for busy people?

Too busy? No problem

A lot of writers, especially those with busy schedules burn out over the course of NaNoWriMo. The pressures of dedicating yourself to just over 1600 words a day are tough on even the most seasoned writers.

Sure, the first draft you produce doesn’t have to be brilliant, but writing to a word count doesn’t always produce the best results.

Thankfully, Novlr provides the right amount of flexibility for you to use National Novel Writing Month however you like. If the set word count is for you, then you have the option to integrate your project into the NaNoWriMo platform direct from Novlr. But if those set targets aren’t for you, then Novlr also gives you the ability to set your own goals.

Novlr - Write Something Every Day
Too busy? No worries. Set your own goal, and pledge to write “Something” every day.

So what can you do?

For busy people, the most effective way to create a writing habit is to set your own intentions. No one is a better judge of what time you have available than you.

Whether your goal is a word count, a narrative target, a daily free write, or a word sprint, so long as you fix that target and reach that goal, you’re a NaNoWriMo winner.

Last year, I knew I was too busy to sit down and be uniquely creative for 1600 words. Instead, I set myself the goal of getting through the whole Couch to 80k course by Tim Clare.

I set myself the goal of at least one unit a day, more if time allowed, and by the end of it, I had a whole story idea drafted without ever once staring at a blank page. Overall, I ended up writing more than the daily target, but I did it in less time than if I’d just stuck to the proposed word count.

Set your own goals for a better chance at success

There are lots of ways to structure your own version of NaNoWriMo for busy people. I’ve had people in my writing groups set weekly targets rather than daily ones, set lower word counts that they feel are more achievable, hit research targets instead of writing ones, and use the month for detailed outlining, rather than actually writing prose.

The people who set their own targets had a much higher success rate in NaNoWriMo than those who didn’t. Not only did they feel good about reaching their intended goals, but it actively stopped them from feeling like failures if they simply couldn’t find the time to reach NaNoWriMo’s prescribed targets.

NaNoWriMo is exceptional, and 50,000 words is definitely a great goal to work toward, but if you’re a busy person or someone with a lot of commitments, it can feel disheartening to know that you might never get that coveted “winner” badge. It doesn’t have to be.

Join the NaNoWriMo community

Even if you don’t plan on setting 50,000 words as your target, sign up to NaNoWriMo this year to take advantage of all the wonderful resources that it has to offer.

Being able to declare your project puts your idea out into the world. With a great community to cheer you on, pep talks from published authors, and great discounts for writers on a range of writing tools, it’s the best way to get writing. Novlr is even offering a huge 40% discount on yearly subscriptions for all participants.

This month, set your own “NaNoWriMo for busy people” goals. Set your goals in Novlr, choose a word count as big or as small as you want, or just choose the “Something” option and set your own target. Join the NaNoWriMo community, and participate in your own way. The combination of NaNo’s community and Novlr’s goal setting will have you writing in no time.

As long as we get words on the page, everyone is a winner.