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Tom Merritt's National Novel Writing Month Secrets - Issue #26

Tom Merritt
Tom Merritt
Hey folks,
The idea of NaNoWriMo as they call it is to set a goal to write 50,000 words of a novel (or more) in the month of November. I’ve attempted it every year since 2003. That year I got 678 words into it! I got a little farther every year until 2006 when I completed United Moon Colonies which I ended up self-publishing. (Available at
I fell back to 532 words the next year and didn’t hit the mark again until 2010 when I finished Lot Beta. (Also available at I finished the word count every year since then with the exception of 2016. That year I tried to write Project VERA and I feel short of hitting int he word count in time but I did finish the book and just published it as an audiobook this year!.
Right now, I’m barreling along at 31,649 words so far and looking good. It’s. Hard. Every year. The genius of it for me is it helps me overcome the fact that it’s hard. The gamification and the streak I have going really keep me dedicated to beatign that 1667 word count every day and watching that graph go down. Ands the key for me is to release yourself from the shackle of being good. You just need words. You can edit them later. And boy do I. But honestly I’ve found that the words make way more sense later than I think they will when I write them.
Over the years, I’ve got into the following habit. Around December I start coming up with an idea for a new story. I usually think about it as I’m going off to sleep. It helps me fall asleep actually. Throughout the year, I’ll occasionally play with that idea, putting down parts of it during the daytime in a Google Doc that flesh out bits and pieces. By the time November rolls around I usually have the bones of a novel. And NaNoWriMo helps me flesh out those bones. This year I had a lot of the story done ahead of time. So much that I wondered if this was the year that the NaNoWriMo training wheels might come off and I find I’m just writing year round and don’t need the nudge.
This is not that year. Even with all I had done the NaNoWriMo boost really turbocharged development. That deadline, artificial as it may be, focuses things and really helps.
So keep an eye out on for The Bookmobile by Tom Merritt. Assuming I finish it on time by November 30, I’ll start testing edited bits of it there for patrons to get a sneak peek at. It involves a space cost, a witch, traveling through book portals and more.

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Tom Merritt
Tom Merritt @acedtect

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