Things to Do for Non-NoWriMos


With National Novel Writing Month fast approaching, writers all over the world are gearing up for 30 days of intense writing bliss. Coffee and energy drinks will be consumed by the gallons, tears will be shed, and fingers will be cramped.

However, if you’re like me, an ex-NaNoWriMo, or Non-NoWriMo, then you might have a lot of spare time on your hands in November while everyone else is tap, tap, tapping.

Do not fret! I am here to give you some options to whittle away your time that doesn’t include writing a novel in 30 days. Of note, I am a huge supporter of NaNoWrimo (I did it for 5 years), but these days I prefer to sit on the sidelines. So what can you do?

1. Cheerlead

If you don’t want to write a novel in 30 days, you can always support others who are doing it. Someone posts a hefty word count? Give them a digital pat on the back! Your friend reaches their goal for the week? Give them a “like” and a “Good job!” You don’t have to be actually involved in NaNoWriMo to be a boon for those who are working their fingers to the bone.

2. Sleep more

OK, so how does this help anyone? Well, sleeping more will probably make your healthier and you can wake up to all those glorious word counts your friends wrote while you were dreaming of cotton candy pixies.

3. Edit

Ah, maybe this is useful? If you’re not writing, edit. You probably have a manuscript you’re looking at right now. No? OK, then find it. Found it? You could edit that. For 30 days. 30 days of magnificent editing. Go on. Do it.

4. Take up a new hobby

All that time you’re not writing allows you to take up some new hobby. Always wanted to jet ski? Maybe November isn’t the best time to try it, but you can at least start thinking about it again! You might want to do something more indoors-y. I’m assuming if you’re reading this then you’re like me: an indoor cat.

5. Build something

Sure, you could build an awesome bird house or a rocking chair, but why not build your own world? This November you might be in a planning mood. What better time to get cracking on some world-building you’ve wanted to get done? The great thing is you won’t be aiming for a word count, but if setting goals is your thing, you could always try to do some new bit of world-building every day. Day 1 history of wars, Day 7 different types of unicorns, Day 23 varieties of centaur dance parties. Let (your) world be your oyster.

6. Write 8-12 Shorts

Writing 50,000 words is a lofty goal in one month, but breaking it up into smaller chunks might help. I’ve seen people suggest this before (this is not my original idea) but it still makes it a good one. Think of all the shorts you’ll have ready to submit to markets! Well, actually no. They’ll still be piles of dung, but at least you’ll have something to mold. Ugh, that’s an awful image.

7. Read!

Damn, you could get a full month of reading in! You’d be the envy of all your friends writing away while you’re working through your TBR pile like a champ. You could go into “Challenge Mode” and try for a certain page count every day. Feeling ambitious? Read a doorstopper in a weekend!

8. Brag About Your Free Time aka Troll

I wouldn’t recommend this option unless you’re just really, really bored. It could be a chance to finally get back at friends that laughed at you when you missed deadlines in the past. You’re not that kind of person though, so we’ll skip this one.

…Still here? OK, troll your friends if you want, but keep it friendly. No one likes someone with a ton of free time. They might siphon your brain for creative juices when theirs runs dry.

9. Outline Something Super Awesome

Outliners love outlining. Most people who dig outlines might make one before NaNoWriMo, but if you’re feeling that ambitious twitch, you can outline something completely new and sparkly. Then once you have some free time that isn’t in November, you can have a freshly baked outline waiting in the wings for you. Ah, the smell of freshly baked outlines.

10. NaNoWriMo Lite

What the hell is that? It’s the light beer of NaNoWriMo. This means participating in NaNoWriMo like others, but be an “unofficial” participant. Visit the forums, hang out with other NaNoWriMos, but don’t make the commitment for the 50,000 words. Write a little each day and enjoy you’re little snail’s pace of a novel. You can still have fun and do so without the hair-pulling stress.

So that’s that. If you can’t find something to that isn’t NaNoWriMo during November, then go back and read this list again. Surely something will spark your interest.

If not and you’re a fellow Non-NoWriMo, what will you be doing in November? Share below in the comments.

And for NaNoWriMos out there, good luck! I sincerely hope you make it!

Philip Overby can be found at and his weird, bloody, darkly humorous Splatter Elf stories are available at Amazon.

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Hywela Lyn
4 years ago

I agree there should be National Novel Editing month! I have done (and won) NaNo four times but this year I am going to attempt to revise the novel I did for last year’s NaNo, which I have been sadly neglecting and should have finished editing by now!

A.S. Akkalon
4 years ago

I will be editing current WIP and planning next WIP. Is there a national editing month? There should be. Maybe two – editing takes a long time. 🙂

Kathy Frost
Kathy Frost
4 years ago

I had reconstructive surgery on my right hand Oct. 19. At the moment, the caast and bandages look like I have a cave man’s club on that hand.
My NaNo experience for 2016 will be whatever I can dictate with Dragon since I can’t type 50 words much less 50,000 with my left hand. LOL

A. Howitt
4 years ago

Love these suggestions! So funny, as expected, and though I have signed up, I have low expectations for my word count. Well, since I’m gearing up for a spectacular nano-fail, I might as well find a new hobby… HA! Thanks for the fun article!

Brian DeLeonard
Brian DeLeonard
4 years ago

I think the best thing to do for us non-nowrimos is to think about all those words we could be writing and then sit in the corner, feeling inadequate. 🙂

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