From the Archives: “4 Things NaNoWriMo Authors Should Never Do”

Welcome back to our Tuesday segment, where we’ll be revisiting some of our most popular posts from the last few years.  What’s stayed the same?  And what’s changed?  We’ll be updating you on the facts, and taking a new (and hopefully refreshing) angle on a few timeless classics of Self Publishing Advisor.


[ Originally posted: November 7th, 2012 ]

It’s hard to believe the first week of NanoWriMo is behind us already! How are you doing so far? I hope you are enjoying the challenge and that your manuscript is coming along. As you’ve been writing your draft, you may have noticed that it is easy to get distracted or discouraged, but a few simple changes can help you succeed. Here are four things you should never do if you want to finish NaNoWriMo (and maybe even self publish your book someday).

1. Skip a writing session. Unless it is an emergency, you must always stick to your writing schedule. If you must miss a writing session for an important reason, make sure you reschedule it. Ideally, you should reschedule it for another time that day or week. You don’t want to have to play catch up at the end of the challenge because you missed too many writing sessions.

2. Become jealous. Connecting with other writers is a great a way to find encouragement and inspiration during NaNoWriMo, but don’t let their progress discourage you. Some people write faster or have more time to commit. Try not to compare word counts. Focus on your success, and trust that your approach to writing is best for you.

3. Worry about editing. As you write your first draft, it is tempting to think about all the things you need to go back and fix. You should not be worrying about editing right now. You need to focus on writing. There will be plenty of time to worry about editing later. If the thought of editing really discourages you, treat yourself to professional editing services  after you achieve your goal.

4. Give up. There will be days when you become frustrated and consider giving up. Don’t do it! You can and will succeed as long as you keep trying. If you need some motivation, talk to people who believe in you, read about other successful authors, or take some time to relax and come back refreshed.

Remember, your goal isn’t just writing 50,000 words this month. Your ultimate goal is to write a novel (and self publish it). That goal takes time, dedication, and possibly hundreds of cups of coffee, but it is an achievable goal. Stay focused and trust yourself, and you will succeed.

I’d love to know, what habits are interfering with your NaNoWriMo goals?

– by Kelly Schuknecht



This post goes live the first day of the second week of NaNoWriMo, and I’m willing to bet that those of you who have decided to participate this year are beginning to find the cold hard facts of extended writing sessions unbearable. Or, perhaps, you’re the opposite: you feed on pressure, and deadlines. But no matter where you’re at and what perspective you take of NaNoWriMo—participant or abstainer—one thing certainly remains true:

Writing is Hard.

If you need any proof, just look at what some of our most respected writers have to say on the matter:

writing is hard ernest hemingway

No literary blog is complete without a reference to Ernest Hemingway, right?

My point isn’t to make you feel depressed over the inevitability of struggles cropping up during NaNoWriMo and all other writing projects, but instead to remind you that even the great All Stars of creative writing face the same challenges, and they struggled too. Which means that you’re not doing anything wrong, even if the worst happens and you make one of the four mistakes I first wrote about back in 2012.

There is always a way forward, and we’re here to help you find it! Clue us in on where you’re at with NaNoWriMo and your other projects, and we’ll pull out all the stops to find you resources, advice, and those tangible actionable ways forward!

Thanks for reading.  If you have any other ideas, I’d love to hear them.  Drop me a line in the comments section below and I’ll respond as quickly as I can.  ♠


ABOUT KELLY SCHUKNECHT: Kelly Schuknecht is the Executive Vice President of Outskirts Press. In addition to her contributions to the Outskirts Press blog at, Kelly and a group of talented marketing experts offer book marketing services, support, and products to not only published Outskirts Press authors, but to all authors and professionals who are interested in marketing their books and/or careers. Learn more about Kelly on her blog,

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s