Want to get through the first seven days of National Novel Writing Month? Start here.

Day 1. If you haven’t declared your novel’s title, excerpt and premise on the Nanowrimo website, do this. Use the first part of your first chapter and your working title. You can finesse this later. And write. Blitz 1667 words. If your enthusiasm drives you to write extra words, just go for it. Forget that ‘leave something to write tomorrow’ nonsense. Write it now and give yourself the promise of a day off later in the month if (when) you need it.

Day 2. Find buddies in the Nanowrimo community. These are people whose progress you can follow to motivate/cheer yourself, or to console yourself with on bad days. When you write more than them, feel a bit smug and send them encouragement. When they have written 14,000 words in two days because they do not have, presumably, a full time job, use your rage to spur you on. Buddies are a must for Nanowrimo.

Day 3. Join in on the forums. If you are stuck already on some aspect of your novel, cry for help in the plotting or character forums. If you are that person who’s done 1,000 words then brag in the I can’t believe it’s going so well area. (You can probably tell that the 14000 words thing is not a random example, but actually happened to me. How did she do it? I still don’t know. Kudos. Annoyed, slightly grudging, kudos.)

Day 4. Find your local Nanowrimo forum and see if there are any physical meet-ups or write-ins as they are known. Writing need not be solitary.

Day 5. Once you have completed your words for the day, find and fill in a Nanowrimo progress tracker. I always use a spreadsheet, as I have since, ahem, 2001.

Day 6. When today’s words are done, back up your work with an email or printout or some means which will preserve them when your computer inevitably dies on day 28.

Day 7.┬áMost people have dropped out by now but not you. Feel good. You have written every day for a week, and not three words, but 1667, minimum, every day. The average ‘real’ novel is 100,000 words long, so in eight weeks you’d have a full first draft at this rate. You’re only aiming for fifty thou here, though, so congratulate yourself and celebrate with a long, leisurely browse of your favourite time wasting website. This writing lark is a piece of cake.