Recipe for NaNoWriMo

by Gabriela Pereira
published in Writing


1 sparkly new writing project

1 outline that has been edited and re-edited at least 4 times

1,667 daily word count

1 journal filled with novel-related notes

1 pen case filled with favorite markers, pens, and other writing implements

3 different types of word-processing software

4 cups of caffeinated beverage of choice

1 bowl of sugary snacks (substitute salty or savory snacks if preferred)

17-song “I Am a Writer, Hear Me ROAR” playlist

1 (or more) to taste: cat on keyboard, dog on feet, bird on shoulder


  1.  Preheat your creativity to 450 degrees through NaNo prep sessions.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the writing project and outline together. Whip vigorously until fluffy new ideas start to form.
  3. Use the journal and writing implements as needed to add additional flavor. Slowly add in the daily word count, 1,667 words per day. Do this consistently for 30 days. If necessary, substitute a different type of word-processing software periodically.
  4. Mix remaining ingredients—caffeinated beverages, playlist, snacks, and writing companion—in a separate bowl. Mix gently.
  5. Fold the ingredients from both bowls together, being careful not to squash those beautiful, fluffy ideas.
  6. Carefully pour the combined mixture into a story-shaped pan.
  7. Bake for 30 days of November.
  8. On December 1, remove from the creative oven and savor the delicious experience that was NaNoWriMo.

Gabriela Pereira is the founder of, the do-it-yourself alternative to a Masters degree in writing. She is also a speaker, podcast host for DIY MFA Radio, and author of the book DIY MFA: Write with Focus, Read with Purpose, Build Your Community.

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