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You have just discovered Writers of USA (on this blog or via your friends and close authors). It’s awesome! You also realized that it started on November 1st and you are wondering if you can get started today, a few days or even a few weeks after it started! 

The answer is simple: YES. 

You can start Writers of USA late.

In this article, I give you a plan of attack in X steps to start NaNoWriMo late and succeed (as long as you are motivated!)

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Should you do NaNoWriMo or not? 

If you’re reading this, chances are you’re planning to give it a try! And I would say that it is in your best interest to do so! Worst case scenario, you’ll think about your novel and write several pages. At best, you will advance it as much as possible. What do you have to lose? 

The only real risk of NaNoWriMo is the disgust that can result from it BECAUSE YOU

  • Can’t write
  • Can’t find time to write
  • Fail to pass it and reach those 50,000 words
  • Can’t move your novel forward
  • You gradually realize that your great idea was not necessarily a great idea…

To protect yourself from this risk, it is essential to start your journey in NaNoWriMo by de-drag-ma-it-sent. You start NaNoWriMo late, without preparation (some participants have been preparing for this event for more than 6 months!): it is therefore normal that you encounter difficulties. You must focus on the positive: you give priority to writing for a few weeks. 


There is a difference between starting Nano late on November 4 and starting NaNoWriMo late on November 11… Depending on the date you read these words, your ambitions and to set a reasonable and achievable goal, take stock of the time what you have left to do NaNoWriMo! This will avoid the feeling of failure that I spoke to you about just before.

To do this, two mini steps: 

  • Calculate the number of words you can write in 1 hour of writing. Please note, depending on the projects (articles, fiction texts, etc.) this time may vary. Take a look at my article on Calculating Your Word Count to learn more!
  • Evaluate the number of time slots and hours that you will be able to dedicate to writing. For this, a note on your calendar is enough. Are you going to write every morning before leaving for college / before the children get up or even before work? Are you going to write in the evening instead? Weekends? How long? It’s important to be realistic. This will give you an idea of ​​what you can aim for beyond the 50,000 words of Nano. 


Participating in Writers of USA isn’t just about writing 50,000 words. Of course, it’s a huge part of the challenge (we agree) but it’s not totally enough. To participate in Writers of USA, you must first register on the event website. This is what will make you a real participant!

FYI: it is possible to register until November 20! From this date, it is possible to declare victory at Nano, which is why the site no longer accepts new participants.

To register, find all the information in this video. The site has changed very little since then and you should be able to find your way around without any problem with this tutorial!

My video on how to register for Nano!


Contrary to what newcomers to the NaNoWriMo game believe, it is not possible to write directly on the NaNoWriMo site! You will have to write your text separately and then paste it into a tool to validate your word count. 

This is why it is essential to use a reliable tool to count your words. 

There are several tools for this: 

  • A classic word processing software:  Word, Pages, Liber Office or even Open Office are word processing software that will allow you to calculate the number of words you write in total;
  • A writing application: Scrivener, Scrapbook or Write Control are specialized applications for writing text. Their advantage is to group together different functionalities for writing, such as counting total words, by session, by chapter… and so on!

Tip:  Just because you need a “word count” tool doesn’t necessarily mean you have to write directly in that tool. For my part, I don’t always feel comfortable writing in the different software that I mentioned above. I sometimes prefer to write in a note-taking app like Notion or a writing app like Ommwriter. All you have to do is copy and paste your text into the “word counting” application you have chosen. 


Just because you’re jumping on the NaNoWriMo bandwagon doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take a few minutes (hours) to think about what you’re going to do. Choosing your project(s) to write is absolutely essential to your success in NaNoWriMo!

Here are some possibilities: 

  • Continue a project already started
  • Rewrite a project started but stuttering
  • Start a new project
  • Take on multiple projects at the same time

Generally speaking, I tend to advise having at least two potential projects. This allows you to juggle between projects along the way if you feel like you’re losing motivation. It’s particularly interesting after a few days of participation, when you realize what shit you got yourself into by deciding to do.


This fourth step is optional. Indeed, my experience and the meetings I have had with many, many authors have taught me that there are as many writing methods as there are writers. An infinity. 

Personally, I enjoy planning. It’s even what allows me to write. When I don’t plan, I mess up and I can’t move forward. This is why I can only recommend it to you when you start NaNoWriMo. This will allow you to stay on track with your text and move forward faster, more efficiently and more directly. (Believe me, when you have 1667 words to write a day, it counts!)

There are several ways to plan a novel: 

  • The synopsis
  • The skeleton plane
  • The detailed plan

If you are new to writing and want a “turnkey” method of writing and planning, I strongly encourage you to take a look at the Book Marketing Agency. This method, very well-known although criticized for its slightly too “formatted” appearance, can help you put down the first words of your text and construct it. 


 Last step and not the least! Writing!

In this article, and because it is devoted to NaNoWriMo and efficiency in writing, I offer you several “technical” articles: 

  • How to write faster?
  • How to write longer?
  • How to find time to write during Nano? 

I’m thinking about a series on writing itself – how to construct a plot, how to construct a long text, how to build suspense… and so on. I’m thinking of writing part of it during this NaNoWriMo, in fact… I’ll share them with you, I hope, soon!

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To conclude, don’t refuse the obstacle! If you have just discovered NaNoWriMo, even though it has already started, don’t hesitate to get started ANYWAY! The experience is crazy and the impetus it will give to your writing project is not negligible!

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