The Pantser’s Guide to NaNoWriMo

‘Tis the Season

I like to compare NaNoWriMo to Halloween. As soon as summer is over, you start to see all of the decorations, the advertisements, and pro tips on how to get ready for it. Blog posts are going up with tips like:

  • How to prepare your project for NaNoWriMo
  • Getting into your character’s head
  • Prepping your NaNo calendar
  • Five NaNoWriMo hacks

Does all of that work sound like… a lot of work? Don’t feel too badly. You’re not lazy. You’re probably just a Pantser.

Unlike Plotters, Pantsers go from the imagination
to the page with very little preparation.

How to Spot A Pantser

Writers are usually divided into two categories–Plotters, and Pantsers. It all boils down to creative process. If you require time to plan, research, create character bios, and other behind-the-scenes rituals before you begin to write, you are a Plotter. Unlike Plotters, Pantsers go from the imagination to the page with very little preparation. And if you’re curious, the term Pantser refers to “flying by the seat of your pants.”

 Pantser refers to “flying by the seat of your pants.”

What is NaNoWriMo, Then?


National Novel Writing Month challenges us to crank out 50,000 words in thirty days. Don’t worry; it doesn’t have to be pretty. The focus is on getting ideas out of our brains and onto the page. After NaNoWriMo, we turn that raw material into an edited manuscript (and NaNoWriMo sends tips and encouragement after November to help with that process). But the goal of NaNoWriMo is output—daily writing goals, focused writing time, and rewards for putting in the work (yay!).

 NaNoWriMo understands writers, and provides
something for every type out there.

Why Pantsers Will Love NaNoWriMo

As a Pantser, the most challenging part of writing is usually the act of opening up the WIP on my desktop and starting. I have ideas, but not the self-motivation necessary to get it done. NaNoWriMo is a great kick in the pants. I especially like their daily word counter widgets. The calendar option has colored squares that indicate if you had a bad day, an okay day, or a great day. And trust me, when I get one or two red squares on my calendar, I’m not a happy girl.


But what makes NaNoWriMo most worthwhile is the variety they offer for every type of writer out there. Accountability, manageable daily goals, rewards, charts and widgets, tips and tricks, encouragement, cool merchandise—anything any writer could possibly need in order to succeed. NaNoWriMo understands writers and the things that can distract us, and does everything possible to help us stay on track.

NaNoWriMo is a great kick in the pants for Pantsers!

So, surprise yourself! 50,000 words may seem like an impossible goal, but NaNoWriMo makes it manageable and also a lot of fun.

Start your writing journey at right now!

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