NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, started in 1999 as a challenge to write a 50,000 word novel in 30 days in November. Over the years, it has developed into a nonprofit organization and website that also hosts a Camp NaNoWriMo in April and July, and other programs as well. Here’s a tip, though: even if you’re not a novel writer, NaNoWriMo can still be a valuable tool for you.


If you harbor dreams of writing a novel, by all means, utilize NaNoWriMo to light a fire under you and churn out the pages. But even if you just want to kickstart your academic or professional writing, you can use the goals of NaNoWriMo to start your creative process. Do you have a literature review you’d like to have done soon? Or a section of your dissertation? Even if you’re done with your thesis or dissertation, maybe you have some ideas for journal articles or want to turn your dissertation into a book. Great – use this month to your advantage.  Remember: you can’t edit or revise what you don’t have, so getting words down on the page for your thesis, dissertation, or journal articles is important.


Here are some tips to keep in mind to help you make the most out of your NaNoWriMo experience, however you choose to apply it.


Let go of perfection. Trust us on this one: there will be plenty of time for revisions and editing later on. You need to get words on the page first. Once you have a plan of what you want to achieve, just write. Write anything that comes to mind, and then come back to it later.


Keep track of your word count. Every day, set a word count goal and note the actual word count that was achieved. Once you see the numbers adding up, it will give you added motivation. Setting small goals within the larger month’s goal is a good way to give yourself positive reinforcement.


Plan to write. Set aside a time each day to write: in the early morning before work, late at night after the kids go to bed – whatever works for you and your schedule. Treat it like a job – in many ways, it is your job right now. Put it in your calendar, your planner, let your friends and family know you’ll be writing – and then hold yourself accountable.


Be intentional about unplugging. You might think you can bang out some words while watching television, but how many times do you plan to write and watch reruns, and before you know it, you’re catching up on your favorite old episodes, you only have two sentences written, and it’s time to go to bed? Use this month to turn the television off, silence your cell phone, use an Internet blocker for periods of time if necessary, and focus on writing.


Once the month is over, take a look at what you’ve written and start cleaning it up. When you’re ready to have it edited, Dissertation Editor can help! Whether it’s your thesis or dissertation, journal articles, or a book project, our editors have experience with all kinds of projects, and we’d love to be of assistance. Contact us today to learn more about our range of services and how we can help you reach your goals.

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