It is the first half of October, which means we have entered a phase many authors and writers lovingly call PREPTOBER. What is Preptober, you ask? It’s preparing for NANOWRIMO. If you haven’t heard of Nanowrimo, don’t you worry! I’m going to walk you through Preptober, Nanowrimo, some resources you use, and some tips on how to tackle this. This blog post is definitely heavy for all of the aspiring authors out there figuring out how to get started, but if you’re someone who struggles with writing steadily, finding time to write, keeping a schedule, or haven’t ever participated in Nanowrimo before, you’ll definitely gain something from this post.

It’s my favorite time of year, I’ve been participating for ages, and I’m so excited to perhaps introduce some of you to the wonderful world that is Nanowrimo, Preptober, and of course, 4thewords. So, grab your pens and notepads to take some notes, because it’s time to get ready to get serious about writing!

What is Nanowrimo

Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month. Nanowrimo! The idea behind Nanowrimo is to write 50,000 words in one month, which is the length of a Novel. This is about 1,666 words a day, every single day, which, if you’ve been writing for a while is 100% doable, but if you’re new to writing or writing regularly, can be a bit daunting. Is the project necessarily complete after 50k words? Of course not! Yours might be longer! It probably will be! But, the goal is still there.

This is an international event, world wide, everywhere. Writers from around the world join to attempt this, with the support of the writing community around them. It’s a great way to find accountability buddies, hold yourself accountable as well, and even connect with other writers in your community as there are meetups. At the very end, if you make your goal, there are lots of goodies (beyond the certificate) like discounts on scrivener, campifire, dabble, pwa, plottr, and other writing goodies.

Note: NANOWRIMO IS FREE TO JOIN! You just make an account, create your project, and start tracking your numbers.

You can sign up for and check out the website here

And add me as a friend – ellemdrew 

And Nanowrimo now goes beyond just November – there is also Camp Nanowrimo in both April and July, with these events being setting your own goals. You track your progress daily, see where you’re at in your goals, and celebrate!

And Nanowrimo communities even go beyond just that website – you will see myself and others tracking their progress on social media, many writer groups like on facebook and discord will have things like bingo boards and progress reporting. It’s basically a giant writing community project that we all work on and cheer on each other for!

And it’s a great way to sit down and start writing daily. Is 1666 words a lot if you’re just getting started? Sure. But the best day to start writing your novel was yesterday. The second best day is today. Or, well November 1st.

But, more about tackling Nanowrimo in a bit!

What is Preptober

Well, you just learned about what Nanowrimo is, so Preptober is just that – Prepping for Nanowrimo in the month of October!

I’m going to break into more on how to actually prep below, after I list out some resources FOR prepping, but I want to expand your minds a little on what Preptober can look like. Because preparing to sit down and write an entire novel in a month is so much more than just actually preparing your novel. It’s about preparing your mind as well, along with your schedule, and setting yourself up for success.

If you’re not used to sitting down and writing every day, now is the time to practice. Practice sitting down for an hour to an hour and a half every single day, at the same time, and getting something done. Maybe it’s research for your novel, maybe it’s researching for publishing, maybe it’s making social media content, but get used to the idea of setting aside to concentrate on your actual work.

Find your writing playlists! Practice setting down your phone and not scrolling Tiktok. Practice the idea of focusing on one task at a time. Maybe this goes beyond just getting used to the idea of sitting down to work – if there are other things that interrupt your writing time, like doing laundry or dishes or dinner, start working on starting them at a better time. I personally love to start a load of laundry before I start writing, and then when the timer goes off, I take my break and move it to the dryer, then write again until the dryer timer goes off. 

And on the mention of making social media content, go ahead and prep your content for social media NOW (if you’re a content creator/author). I personally like to go ahead and design my layout for my Nanowrimo updates now, so that I can have a template I easily fill in each day after I finish writing/meeting my goal.

Preptober is all about preparing yourself. Preparing your mind to dedicate space for your writing. Practicing your craft. Maybe write little short stories over this month. Write up details about your characters. Write up—

Wait. I’m getting ahead of myself. More on Preptober below!


Alright. I think, given what we’re going into, now is the time to talk about 4thewords. 

I have mentioned 4thewords before, on my Writing Blog Post and my Author Resources Explained Post, but…

I’m going to take 10 minutes of your time to really sit here and explain 4thewords to y’all, because Nanowrimo is all about sitting down and writing every single day, getting in the practice, getting in a solid word count, and 4thewords is how I make that happen. I am quite literally writing this blog post in 4thewords right now. And I will admit, 4thewords might not be for everyone.

But if it’s for you, if it’s something that will help you to concentrate and write and focus, it can be a true gift.


I’ve said time and again that I cannot be bought. I will not promote something I do not believe in. And because of that, I will never ever take money to talk about a product, a resource, a website, or anything like that. If I tell y’all that I use something, it’s because I use it. I believe in it. I succeed with it.

4thewords is where I write. It is where I thrive. It is where I vibe.

So what is 4thewords?

It is a writing game, more or less, where the more words you write, the more monsters you kill, the more quests you complete, the more rewards you earn, etc. You write directly in the program, although you can copy and paste if you don’t mind losing out on words that you end up deleting. You can organize your files into projects, create goals, have a timer, etc.

Different monsters have different words needed to kill them, with different times given. For example, right now I am working on a 1010 word monster and I have 180 minutes to take him down. There is a variety of different monsters, some only requiring 50 words, and some requiring 5000 words. Some of the bigger monsters you have over a day to take out. Some of them only a few hours. 

You reach your “writing streak” daily at 444 words, which, if you only write 444 words a day, is 50k words after a little under 3 months. So, if 1666 words feels impossible, this is another great way to practice writing daily, with a lower goal, but is still achievable to bust out a whole novel.

You also have quests you pick up, each of them requiring different monsters or different loot that is dropped by said monsters. There are different areas, side quests, connecting quests, repeatable quests, etc…

If this sounds like something you’re into, then yeah, like I said, it’s an amazing resource.

There is even multiplayer mode, where you can vanquish monsters with your friends, and the monsters increase in word count based on how many are in your group. And the gear! You can earn or create gear, each with different stats. Attack lowers the number of words you need to write to kill a monster. Defense increases your time to take down each monster. Luck increases the number of items dropped from each monster. 

(A personal note – I primarily use attack gear, but if I’m clearing 50 word 8 minute monsters, I like to throw on Defense gear, particularly if my kids are home and might be calling my name at any minute. I use luck gear when I am farming certain creatures for rare items or when they have a 1-2 drop rate so I always get the 2. But how you gear up is up to you.)

Within the game, there is also a whole community forum, where you can talk about things like Nanowrimo, plotting your books, editing, publishing, all of that. And, you can add friends on there. AND there is events throughout the year, adding onto the regular content.

Oh, and there’s house design and clothing for your characters! I haven’t really done much to decorate my house, but I do have a super cute character, if I do say so myself.

Now, all of that said, 4thewords does cost. It’s about $40 a year if you buy it without a discount, but you can purchase smaller time packages, and there are regular discounts throughout the year. The first 30 days of the website are free.

(Another random note I don’t know where else to fit – you write your book in the file, and then I copy and paste my work into word, but you can also export the file as a doc, txt, or pdf. How you go about using it is up to you.)

I love 4thewords, which is why I talk about it so much, and I recommend it. If you think 4thewords might be for you, give it a try! I recommend going ahead and starting to use it now, so you know and understand the website before Nanowrimo.

Check out 4thewords here!

And add me as a friend – melanoradroo 

… I should really change that from my fanfic name to my author name, but another time! Not today! One day soon! (And I’ll update this post if I do)

If you have any questions about 4thewords, the wiki page is a great resource:

But of course and as always, feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions! You can message me on 4thewords itself, or shoot me a DM/Email. I’m always happy to help! (as you all should well know by now)

Resources on my blog

And now, let’s go ahead and talk really quick about some of the resources I already have available for you guys, either on my blog directly or resources I have linked as a recommendation to check out while you enter Preptober/Nanowrimo. Just, a quick little list, so you’re not wandering my website trying to figure out where that one link you saw was!

All Links

All Author Resource Links

Author Resources, Explained

Blog Posts

Writing Advice

Journaling Advice

Journaling, Revisited

Prepping Links

Book Planning Spreadsheets

Romancing the Beat

Save the Cat

Butter Up Method

Links from Above



At this point, I will also note other resources you may want to look for, for yourself, as need be, but I have no recommendations of my own for this. This would be something like a way to keep from going to other tabs while writing, or phone locks for your phone so you’re not on social media. I also know there are other word tracker resources out there, including some which you can tell it you want to write 50k words and have different goals based on the days of the week or have a big day once a week and smaller days other days of the week. Again, I have no recommendations myself, but something to consider if this is something that you think would work for you!

How to Prep for Writing

Let’s talk preparing yourself to sit down and write a novel! Now, I have 100% talked about this and my own methods in my writing blog post, but let’s run through what you really need to lock down before you start.

1. How much do you want to prep?

Some people fully believe in pantsing a project, walking in without any sort of a plan, and seeing where it goes. They don’t know anything beyond a loose idea, and they see where the characters take them. Other people believe in fully prepping, knowing every last detail, every hair on every head, down to having an almost exact word count goal per chapter. But me personally? I like to plot to pants. And, that’s what I’ll be touching on below.

2. Plotting out the… plot!

Now, do you need to follow the four act or six act or whatever structure you decide to go with? No, not necessarily, but if this is your first time writing a novel, your first time telling a story, they’re a great guideline on how to write a story from beginning to end. I personally follow the four act structure of Romancing the Beat. This was something I was doing back in fanfiction, but upon publishing my first book and learning more about how it’s broken down with this method, I really try to stick with it. I like the four acts – introduce your characters, have things going good, have the conflict, have the wrap up. 

Of course, this doesn’t apply to every genre and every story, so you have to decide for yourself on how you want to go. But, once you do know your plot…

Plot it out! 

It doesn’t need to be broken down into chapters, although I personally love to break it down that far, but figure out your beginning, middle, and end. Have a paragraph first, and then break it into bullet points. It doesn’t have to be perfect, and it doesn’t have to be exact, but you need to know where you’re going and what general route you’re going to take.

3. Know your characters!

Maybe this should have gone above… but know your characters! I take my character spreadsheets and fill out as much as I know about them, and I have them ready to fill in as I go along. Fill out all of the important stuff. Know their goals. Know their motivations. Know what drives them. This will drive your plot, and push them through the conflict. Knowing your characters like you would your best friend is instrumental in not getting stuck halfway through the plot, when you don’t know how they’ll respond to the big bad conflict smack dab in the middle.

4. Research!

This doesn’t apply to everyone or everything, but for me personally, I like to have a general idea of locations, names of things, do research into side events. Research what might influence your book. Have the research done. Have a whole bookmark of links, so you can reference it later. Do your research now, so that you’re not wasting precious writing time later on google, trying to figure out what you don’t know.

5. Plan your writing schedule.

AND I DON’T MEAN WHEN YOU ARE GOING TO WRITE. We’ll get to that in the next section. I mean, how many chapters a day do you want to tackle, or bullet points. For me personally, because I go with the four act structure, it’s easy for me to break it down and say week one is act one, week two is act two, etcetera. But, depending on what you’re working on, some sections may take you longer. If you’re not confident in writing sex scenes or action, these sections might take a little longer. Chapters where there’s lots of breadcrumbs might take a little longer as well. The same with wrapping up plot points. Figure out about how much you want to tackle on which days, and set yourself a goal list, so you can stay on track.

Now obviously, if your manuscript will be longer than 50k words, say 80k, then you want to plan to write, in my case, three acts over the month. 100k novel? Then you’re aiming for two acts over the month. Set reasonable goals, so you can see if you’re staying on track.

How to split your goals for nanowrimo

And now to the real meat of planning your writing schedule. WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO WRITE.

For all of the Americans out there, there is a holiday coming up at the end of the month. For some people, this is extra writing time, while for others, this is a no writing zone. I personally do absolutely no writing on the day before the holiday, as I will be busy with school events. And then the day itself, after my family has passed out from eating the good food, I tend to get a few hours of good writing time in all by myself.

There’s also weekends to consider. If you work during the week, you’ll want to plan for more writing on those days, with more manageable goals during the week days. If you’re a parent like myself who normally doesn’t write on the weekends, you’re going to want to plan for writing less on the weekends than what you write during the week.

An easy way to break this up, and hang on we’re going to do some math, is to forget the 1,666 number. Sure, is that a great basic goal to stay on track daily? Yes, but I have multiple events going on during the month where I don’t want to be worrying about my word count goal, or falling behind.

Instead, I, like I mentioned above, split it into weeks. Note, this is a little bit wonky because the first is a Wednesday, but hang with me all the same.


50,000 words divided by 30 days in November = 1,666.67 words daily – this should be your “daily” goal if you are writing the same amount every day
1,666.67 words daily x 7 days in a week = 11,666.67 words per week – this should be your “weekly” goal if you have some days which are busier than others over your actual week

With the wonky start of the month… and please forgive me, I consider Monday to Sunday to be a “week”, so you might need to alter my math slightly if you prefer to go Sunday to Saturday for your own writing planning etcetera…

1,666.67 words daily x 5 days in the first week = 8,333.33 words for week 1
1,666.67 words daily x 4 days in the last week = 6,666.67 words for week 5

Therefore, my goal would be to reach:

November 1st-5th: 8,334 words
November 6th-12th: 11,667 words
November 13th-19th: 11,667 words
November 20th-26th: 11,667 words
November 27th-30th: 6,667 words

Now, I’m sure you’re sitting here wondering where I’m going with this… So let’s completely forget about the (established) daily goal moving forward, and only worry about the weekly goal. And, for the sake of keeping everyone sane, I’m going to break this down for the full solid weeks, and you can apply as needed for the other weeks.


If you are someone who only wants to write during the week, with minimal writing time on the weekend, your daily goal would look more…

Sat/Sun: 1k words a day
Mon-Fri: 1,993 words a day

Sat/Sun: 500 words a day

Mon-Fri: 2133 words a day

Sat/Sun: 0 words a day
Mon-Fri: 2333 words a day

As you can see, the number obviously goes up on the week days if you miss a day, but it’s not the end of the world, particularly if you have any sort of practice with writing regularly. If this is your first time, I would recommend actually STARTING your weeks WITH the weekend, so you can see what you get done over the weekend, and then adjust your week day goal accordingly.


Now, what if you are someone who words during the week? Now obviously, if you’re only writing on Saturday and Sunday, your goal number for those days would be… huge. Therefore, I’m going to strongly recommend NOT skipping writing during the week, unless you really want to burn yourself out.

But let’s say…

Mon-Fri: 800 words a day
Sat/Sun: 3,834 words a day

Mon-Fri: 1,000 words a day
Sat/Sun: 3,334 words a day

Mon-Fri: 1,200 words a day
Sat/Sun: 2,834 words a day

You can see, if you do just a little on the week days, the weekend number, while huge to those who are not used to writing daily, is still completely manageable. Any words is better than no words, and sure, you might have to go back and heavily edit later, but you know what? Editing should probably take twice as long as it takes you to write it anyways, so don’t stress about it!


And now, for my American friends who are going to want to skip likely Wednesday through Sunday of the holiday weekend…

30 days of the month minus 5 days for holiday = 25 days of writing over the month
50,000 words in the month divided by 25 days of writing = 2,000 words a day
2,000 words daily = 14,000 words for 1 week

If we apply some of the numbers above for either weekends off or less on the week days…

Sat/Sun: 1,000 words a day
Mon-Fri: 2,400 words a day

Mon-Fri: 1,000 words a day
Sat/Sun: 4,500 words a day

Now, do I recommend taking off the entirety of those five days? LMAO no. Because, depending on your writing time abilities, that looks ROUGH for the weekend writers, but…

it’s up to you to figure out how you want to tackle it!


One more small note that I want to throw out there, as this is my actually preferred way of writing, particularly because there are lots of no school days in the month of November, along with needs for grocery shopping and errands, and of course marketing my books and working on other things, and that is… PUSH DAYS. Some call it the MOUNTAIN, because you’ll have a giant mountain of a word count goal on one particular day, with lower days around it. This especially applies if you’re a week day writing person, with minimal days on the weekend, so it would look, if you put the numbers into a graph, as though you climbed a mountain on one particular day of the week and cruised around it.

On push days, I like to set my goal to 5k. I will typically do alternating weeks where one week has one push day, and the other week has two push days, so…

That stated, for the sake of Nanowrimo, and acknowledging that our weekly goal is 11,667 words a week, I’ll change that push number to 4k words.

(If you’re a weekend writer, you’re already doing push days bestie, so I’m leaving the numbers out of this one.

For those who take it easier on the weekend…

PUSH DAY: 4,000 words
Sat/Sun: 1,000 words a day
Other Days: 1,417 words a day

If you do TWO Push days in a week, to take the weekend off…

PUSH DAYS: 4,000 words each day
Sat/Sun: 0 words
Other Days: 917 words

And for those who plan to write the same every day other than push day…

PUSH DAY: 4,000 words
Other Days: 1,278 words a day

And if you do TWO Push days in a week…

PUSH DAYS: 4,000 words each day
Other days: 611 words a day

(I think it’s obvious from this why some weeks I do two push days, so I can basically cruise, or have a single day where I wrap up the rest of my word count goal.)

So, as you can see, it’s really very versatile on how you want to tackle this, but I will strongly recommend sitting down and looking at your calendar so that you can note the days that you won’t have as much writing time, and the days where you can really dedicate yourself. Falling behind for one day is totally something you can catch up on, but falling behind for multiple days? You saw what happened to the numbers when we removed five days from writing. It suddenly gets ROUGH.

Set a goal. Set a path. Set a plan. (Make a pretty bujo page tracker.) 

And stick to it.

What should be my goal?

Now, yes, the 50k word count IS the actual goal, but really, Nanowrimo can 100% be used as a way of holding yourself accountable and pushing forward and tackling a more manageable goal for you.

This can be time spent working on your manuscript. Maybe words come hard to you, but two thirds of the month, you sat down for one hour and did some writing. Look at you! Now, for thirty days, you’ve gotten into the habit of writing for an hour regularly. Maybe next month it will be an hour and a half. Maybe the 1000 words you used to write in an hour becomes 1500 words in an hour. Maybe you learn a better time of day for writing, like you struggle to get the words out before lunch, but everything flows after dinner time. This is still time spent, learning more about yourself and your writing, and PROGRESS.

This can also be simply maintaining your streak, like on 4thewords. No, you didn’t hit the 1,666 daily word goal for Nanowrimo, and you didn’t even put in a solid hour every single day, but you hit the 444 word count goal every single day of the month. Look at that! If you keep going, by the end of January, you’ll have a Novel! Or, if you’re going for a Novella, you’ll hit that in mid-December!

Purists will tell you that the only way to win at Nanowrimo is to write 50k words on a single project your started on November 1st that has a beginning, middle, and end. And to that I say, eat my raccoon shit.

Push yourself. Learn yourself. Trust yourself. Encourage yourself. Maybe drag yourself along some days.

So long as you are moving FORWARD, you’re not going BACK.

And that’s what really matters at the end of the day.

What if I don’t finish?

But what if I don’t complete Nanowrimo? What if I don’t finish? What if I don’t make my goals? What if I fall behind at the start with no chance in catching up?!

Babe. I’m not going to come after you with a ruler to smack your knuckles if you fall behind or don’t finish. It’s not like that.

Sure, completing Nanowrimo and writing 50k words in a month is amazing, but at it’s root, it’s honestly, at least in my opinion, not about that. It’s about setting healthy and manageable writing goals, pushing yourself to work even when you aren’t necessarily in the mood or feeling it, and getting words onto paper. Yes, even if you feel like the words are garbage. I have said it before and I will continue to say it again and again – you cannot sit down and edit and fix words that you never wrote.

Even if you fall behind week one, that’s okay. Just keep going. Yes, even if there is no chance of you catching up. That literally does not matter. At all. Doesn’t matter.

Because at the end of the day, any words is better than no words, and good habits and good practice will help you in the long term.

Be gratious with yourself. It’s okay if you didn’t finish. It’s okay if you fall behind. It’s OKAY. Just keep going!

You have a story to write, dammit! So get those words onto paper!