Advice Please - Doing NaNo for The First Time with a Partially Complete Novel

I am going to do NaNoWriMo this year, for the first time.

But I am not starting from scratch - I started my novel a while ago, and have about 30K words of the First Draft, and have planned most of the rest of the book.

I am using NaNo - and especially the 30 day time frame - as a motivation to complete most of the First Draft.

Has anyone here done NaNo with a Work in Progress, and if so what advice would you give for using NaNo for a WIP?

I suspect it is just a case of daily writing, but maybe others here have suggestions.


Write every day. (If you’re using Scrivener, it will calculate daily word count targets for you.)

Really, write every day.

Find a group of like-minded people. The NaNo forums have regional sections, and a lot of regional groups have chat servers, in-person activities, etc.

Resist the temptation to edit as you go. The whole point of NaNo is getting a rough draft for future revision.

And did I mention writing every day?


Thanks very much, Katherine.

I found Scrivener’s Document Targets during my daily writing sessions very useful in getting to the 30K word mark, and I plan to use the Session Target feature during NaNoWriMo, because I think I will probably be writing two or three times a day to reach my (personal) 2000 word/day goal.

Great that you also suggest resisting the temptation to edit as I write, because that is my usual style (and it works), but it is slow, so a few days ago I resolved to just try to power on through to reach my daily quota, and figure everything out when editing the Second Draft.

Thanks again, and best of luck to you if you are doing NaNo this year.

  1. Do not count any of your previously written 30K toward your 50k goal. (If you’re associating your project with the NaNo event, the goal is a static, unalterable 50K.
  2. Sprints, AKA word wars, are your friend.
  3. Do not edit as you go, as much as possible, unless it adds more words.
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I’m using NaNoWriMo to complete an edit/rewrite of an existing novel this year. The draft is around 118k and roughly complete, but there are at least 50k of scene rewrites to do. This gives me a daily target of ~4k words. I created a tracker that works for my editing process. Creating something like this might be more beneficial than NaNo or Scriverner’s own tracking.

The advice to write every day is solid! Writing sprints are the way to go, whether writing new stuff or editing. Pomodoro apps can help with that. I use one called Tomito on macOS & write to either 15 minute or 30 minute sprints.

Good luck!

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How do you reconcile this with the built-in nano word count updater? It seems like it wants to set my word count to the current project total (the 35k I wrote last nano), but I’ve only written a couple hundred words for nano 2023.

What I would do is (at least for this month) create a folder outside of the manuscript but still in the project and move your already written content to this new folder so that you still have it to refer back to, but it won’t be counted in your NaNo words.

You can move it back after the 30th.

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Thanks very much, Shell :slight_smile:

I hope the edit/re-write of your novel is going well.

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Thanks very much, ESMcLaughlin.

Sounds like great advice.