Are you ready for National Novel Writing Month?

It’s almost November, which means it’s almost time for another National Novel Writing Month! For those who don’t know, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a month-long writing binge with the goal of completing a 50,000 word novel by 11:59pm on November 30. That’s an average of 1,667 words per day! It’s an amazing challenge for anyone who has ever kicked around the idea of doing long-form writing.

Last year, we worked with a group of aspiring novelists who were also using RescueTime, and we were able to learn some interesting things. Check it out: (click the image to enlarge)

Lessons learned from RescueTime's NaNoWriMo 2012 experiment

We’re running this experiment again this year. If you would like to use RescueTime to track your time working on your novel for NaNoWriMo 2013, click here.

Here are some other tools that can make your 50,000 word journey easier:

750 words

As far as domain names go, can’t get much more self-explanatory. It’s a site that wants you to write 750 words, every day. While that’s less than half the daily word count you’ll need to complete NaNoWriMo, it’s the writing every day part that’s important. Also, the site gives you some pretty analytics about your writing efforts.

Write or Die

Write or Die gives you a kick in the pants to keep you motivated. The idea is, you should be afraid of NOT writing, so they give you negative consequences when you don’t write enough. I love the fact that they have a “Kamikaze mode” where the words you have written will start deleting themselves unless you keep writing.


Beeminder lets you make a bet with yourself that you’ll accomplish a goal, then track your progress as you work towards it. If you stray too far from your path, it’ll cost you money. They can track your daily word count, giving you a great way to stay focused during the parts of your novel where you might otherwise give up.

Written? Kitten!

Written Kitten is simple text box with a single, brilliant feature. Every hundred words you type, you get to see a new picture of a kitten. I could say something about the science behind cute animals making you more productive, but who needs it? Cats are adorable, why wouldn’t you want to keep typing to see more of them?

Feeling inspired yet? Go get ’em!

4 Comments on “Are you ready for National Novel Writing Month?”

  1. Carthage says:

    I really like your suggestions. I am writing a non-fiction book which I hope to publish next year. Do you think the same approach would work for non-fiction as well as fiction? I already write 3 days per week and am looking at increasing that. Anything which adds a little motivation is certainly welcome.

    • Robby Macdonell says:

      It seems like best thing someone can do (which most of these suggestions support) is cultivate a consistent habit of writing. Sounds like you’ve at least got a good start on that. You can use that baseline as a starting point for experimenting with other ways to boost your motivation. There are so many options out there, it may just be a matter of trying a few things out until you find something that makes a difference.

      I can’t think any reason why any of the above suggestions wouldn’t apply to non-fiction.

      Just don’t fall into the distracting trap of getting more focused on your motivation tools than your writing! 🙂 Good luck!

  2. So is the NaNoWriMo experiment only open to people who have never tried your service before? I tried it once a few years back but my computer disagreed with it, so I uninstalled it. Now when I try to log in, I get a page saying the experiment is over. 😦

    • Robby Macdonell says:

      Hi Stephanie! I think there is a report that I still need to update before the 1st, but if you go to you should be able to join. I think I may have just found a bug that was causing your problem. Can you have a look and see if that page is working for you now? If you’re still unable to join, can you open a ticket at Thanks! Sorry for the hiccup.