Worry-free Writing for 2023 NaNoWriMo

If you’re going all in for 2023 NaNoWriMo, here’s my strategy for worry-free writing.

Adopt a Cannot Fail Attitude

How do you interpret the statement, “You cannot fail?”

Years ago, while delivering a pep talk to a large group of employees, I wanted to encourage them, and ended my presentation by emphasizing they could not fail. The next day, I got an invitation to visit the Human Resources department, challenging me to explain my call to action.

The HR rep shared that half the group accepted my talk as encouragement that as a team, they could not fail, but to my surprise, the other half misinterpreted my intent and thought they would get into trouble if they failed.

Let’s Understand the Intent of NaNoWriMo

So that you don’t fall into that group that worries about participating in NaNoWriMo, let’s look at the purpose of taking part in the event.

According to the official National Novel Writing Month’s website, “Valuing enthusiasm, determination, and a deadline, NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about writing a novel.” It’s a straightforward challenge: to write 50,000 words in thirty days. The intent is clear: produce your novel’s “first draft” during the month of November.

Later, you’ll edit, and turn that first draft into a book readers will love.

Silencing Your Doubts

If your inner voice (demon?) suggests you’ll fail, let’s silence that doubt.

  • First, taking part in the event merely produces a draft.
  • Second, even if you only write a fraction of the 50,000 words, that’s more than you have now.
  • And third, you’ll edit and revise later, freeing you to write without that dreaded inner critic looking over your shoulder.

NaNoWriMo challenges you to do more than you thought possible, but the event is your servant, not master.

Yeah, But…

My intent with this post is to encourage you.

You cannot fail! NaNoWriMo merely challenges you to write. After all, you can’t edit and publish what you’ve not written.

Once you’ve captured the story, you can polish the words until you’re ready to share your novel with the world.

After NaNoWriMo

Since 1999, the helpful people at NaNoWriMo have encouraged and helped millions of writers to do more than they thought possible.

That’s why I’m going to accept the challenge this year. I want to turn one of those story ideas rocking around in my brain into a novel. I’m using the event to focus on one goal: to produce 50,000 words in a month.

Even if I write less than my goal, life goes on after NaNoWriMo, and I can later finish the first draft and begin the editing process.

Focus on Worry-free Writing

For November, I’m going to focus on worry-free writing and turn one story idea into 50,000 words.

Story structure wins for writing great stories, but I’ll polish the prose after I get that first draft done. I could structure ahead of time, which is the strategy used by plotters. Or I could rearrange the bits and pieces after completing the first draft, and that’s the technique used by pantsers.

For this challenge, I’ll use the “plantser” approach—a combination of the plotter and pantser techniques, which means I’ll use the Trellis Method to write scenes, but my chief focus will be on the daily word count.


Whether you’re a plotter, pantser, or plantser, if NaNoWriMo fits your schedule, I encourage you to accept the 2023 challenge, set aside distractions, and focus on worry-free writing.


Leave a Reply

Are you taking part in this year’s NaNoWriMo, and whether your answer is yes or no, what’s your next book project?

8 responses to “Worry-free Writing for 2023 NaNoWriMo”

  1. Vera Day Avatar

    I’m not doing Nano this year. My next book project is a Christian literary novel, but I’m working on a women’s fiction short story right now.

    1. Grant at Tame Your Book! Avatar
      Grant at Tame Your Book!

      I understand, Vera. I’ve skipped NaNoWriMo many times. Sara Brunsvold’s The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip is one of the best examples of twin POVs and flashbacks. Also, for narrative drive, Jamie Lee Grey’s books in the Mystery Babylon Series are real page turners. Although neither aligns perfectly with Christian lit, the writers excel at capturing and holding the reader’s attention with heartfelt emotions.

  2. Jacqui Murray Avatar

    Not doing NaNo though I am at a perfect point in my writing if I needed the boost. Good luck to all participants!

    1. Grant at Tame Your Book! Avatar
      Grant at Tame Your Book!

      It’s a balancing act, so I’m busy shutting down the distractions. The good news is it has me updating the Scrivener template for the Trellis Method. I’ll share the improved template after the NaNoWriMo adventure.

  3. D. Wallace Peach Avatar

    Fantastic post, Grant, that mirrors my approach to NaNoWriMo. “Don’t stress out and just enjoy the extra push to writer.” I’m not officially participating, but I’m going to carve out some extra time for sure. Happy Writing.

    1. Grant at Tame Your Book! Avatar
      Grant at Tame Your Book!

      As the old saw goes, “It’s the journey!” Plenty of time for some fun, too.

  4. WriterOfWordsEtc Avatar

    I didn’t see it through a few years ago but this time I’m tackling a book that is mostly written but missing a few more chapters and an ending. It’s been hanging over me.

    To get over the fear of whether or not I can commit the time I gave myself a 500 word limit per day which is practically nothing.

    But because the word count is so small, it encouraged me to get off my ass and start typing every morning before breakfast and kids and dog and stuff.. it’s working. 😊

    1. Grant at Tame Your Book! Avatar
      Grant at Tame Your Book!

      Excellent! I Agree with you that Atticus has many excellent features, especially the formatting. Still, I create with Scrivener because my setup is based on the Trellis Method. From genres to self-publishing, I have everything in one template. In the future, I plan to make the template available. I’ll also share how I used Atticus to format the relaunch of a previously published book. Thanks for stopping by!