Arya’s Tips to Surviving (and thriving) while writing a novel

Very soon, it will be the start of Camp NaNoWriMo round number two this year.

Naturally, I’ll be taking part in this. I’ll be working on my novel, My Life as a Mayonnaise Jar, which I have already written multiple drafts for but have never quite felt it was really completed. However, I recently figured out a way to give the story that extra push I’ve always felt it needed, and I am extremely excited to write it all out.

So in honor of camp starting soon, I’ve decided to compile a list of my advice to not only surviving but thriving as you write your wonderfully brilliant novel (whether it be during Camp NaNo, regular NaNo, or just on your own)! Let’s get started, shall we?

1. Have some sort of order

So, you have this idea for a novel. And obviously, you want to get to writing the exciting parts with the action or the drama or whatever interests you, really. But, from experience, I’ve learned that jumping around too much can lead to you not knowing where your plot goes anymore. The very first draft of My Life as a Mayonnaise Jar (let’s just call it MLAMJ, that’s much easier) was basically me jumping around from scene to scene, and then one fine day I realized that the story just wasn’t going anywhere. Now, for this re-re-re-rewrite, I’ve made a vow to myself to actually write the story in order of the events that happen instead of writing little one-shots all over the place.

2. Stick to a plan (or at least try to)

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from writing, it’s that things change over time. New ideas happen, storylines shift. The story becomes different. But writing a novel definitely becomes a whole lot easier when there is a backbone to build off of- trust me, I know from experience. I’ve tried to get through novels without bothering to make an outline before, and those novels were never finished (I’ve actually decided that I will finish them sometime in the near future though, so keep your eyes open for that 😉 ).

3. Don’t give in!

Here is a typical outline of my novel-writing process:

Day 1:


Day 15:


My point here is, even if you would rather bury yourself beneath fifty-billion miles of sand than finish writing that novel, DON’T! Push yourself beyond your limits. Join in on writing sprints with others- they help loads. You can do this!

4. Give yourself a break

When you’re feeling down in the dumps about your story, don’t feel bad- just relax! Take some time off to go do something else, whether it’s doodling, listening to music, or making a sandwich. Try to make sure that you don’t give yourself too much leverage, though, because that’s just procrastination.

5. Love your story

I personally think that one of the most important things with writing is to love what you do. I mean, what’s the point of doing something if you’re not having fun? In the end, that’s what this is all about- you’re writing a novel because you want to write a novel. You enjoy writing, and you want to create something. So embrace that! Befriend your characters, enhance your plot- and never feel like something is “ridiculous”. Remember that before anything else, this is your story, and yours to tell. You can do whatever you want to do. 🙂


Hopefully you guys will remember these things while you’re writing your awesome novel (or play or poetry or whatever you’re doing for camp, actually). Also, if anyone ever feels like doing a word sprint but doesn’t know where to start, let me know- I’m always up to one. I wish you all the best of luck with your stories!

Remember to have fun, nerdlings,


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