#NaNoWriMo interview with Rene Mullen


What is your NaNo account name? rene.mullen

How many times have you participated and what years? 5 times, five years running. This is number 6. First year I was under a different acct name. But I can’t remember that name.

How many times have you won and what years? 2009-2013 Trying to keep the streak going

Are you participating this year? Um, YES.

If so, what will be the genre? YA, my first ever attempt.


Unconventional NaNoWriMo Tips


I’ve read bunches of tips and tricks. Even gave a talk the last 2 years on tips to succeed the NaNoWriMo crazy fest. I like to change things up a bit. So here are 3 less than traditional tips to prep for November.


First: Find a writer buddy. This is one I fought against as an introvert. Hey, some writers write well in groups. And for those who don’t, like me, there’s another benefit.

Turns out competition is a strong instigator.

I was first in my writing circle to give NaNoWriMo a try. Did it by myself for three years. When I broke and told my group, they all jumped on board. Soon they were beating my word counts. Being the veteran WriMo, I had to push even harder to outdo them. I had a reputation to uphold! Even when the chips were down (whatever that means) and I was behind by 10k due to a family emergency, I came back with both the support of my writer friends and the competitor inside me.

Who knew an introvert like me could have a competitive edge?!


Second: Tell the world! Sure, you should let people know you’re about to embark on an insane journey that will take up most of your time, a lot of coffee pots, and take a little of your sanity.

What I’m talking about is bragging. Brag like you’re voting in Chicago: Early and Often. Tell the world you’re about to write an entire book in November and nothing’s gonna stop you!


Well, on November 20th when your friend comes up to you to ask how your novel’s coming, with a giggle and a smirk, you want to be able to say “10 days from DONE, punko!” And you certainly DON’T want to have to say, “I, um, well, I almost have a first sentence.” Those days are done.

This is your personal booby-trap. Set yourself up so that as you fall behind, you have that motivation built in.

OK. So these 2 tips seem a little painful. But they’re like New Year’s resolutions. You gotta get a kick sometimes to keep yourself moving. But once the momentum is built up, you can’t really slow down. Which brings me to my final tip: Write a lot the week before NaNoWriMo.


Third: That’s right, I went there. Before you write your crazy 50k in 30 days, write a TON the last week of October. Write until you’re sick of writing.

This tip is loosely (and I mean LOOSELY) based on something Chris Baty (founder of NaNoWriMo) said during a talk. There are two main laws of physics that work during November.

  1. Things at rest stay at rest unless acted upon.
  2. Things in motion stay in motion unless acted upon.


So, how do you ensure writing 1667 words A DAY for 30 days straight????


You get your fingers in motion. That gets your brain in motion. Your imagination is already churning about your story, about stories in general. Your fingers are used to slapping the keyboard. Your butt is used to being in the chair. OK, our butts are very used to being in chairs watching Netflix or Hulu, BUT, what our butts don’t know won’t hurt them. What a pain in the neck.


Want proof this works? Ask your typical NaNoWriMo participant what they did AFTER NaNoWriMo was over. Go for it! Ask. I’ll wait. …

9 times out of 10 they’ll tell you what they did December 1st was: WRITE. OK. Not entirely true. December 1st they cried in a corner and slept the day away. December 2nd though, they were back at it. Sure, they might not crank out 5k like they did to catch up, but they’ve got new ideas. Their fingers can’t handle sitting still. That one and only story they thought they had in them became 2, became 10, became, well, NaNoWriMo after NaNoWriMo.


About Rene:

I’m an avid WriMo participant. I’ve been part of dozens of writing groups where people ask a bunch of questions on how to write their novel. I always give a one word answer: NaNoWriMo.

I have 3 short stories published in literary journals and one poem coming out in an anthology. I have 2 NaNo novels out in the world looking for agents. For money I’m a copy editor for a PR firm. To keep my soul at ease I volunteer as an advocate for differing underserved groups.

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