SCBWI Canada East Blog

December 4, 2018

6:45 PM 0
NaNoWriMo Take-Away
A Guest Post by Sarah Sambles

For NaNoWriMo this year, I set myself the ridiculously small challenge of spending 15 minutes per day on my work-in-progress. 

Why? Partly because I was editing rather than drafting a manuscript. But mostly because the goal wasn’t word count but to rediscover confidence, renew a connection with my story, and find some creative solutions for my ms. 

So, how did it go? 

Well, I worked on my story nearly every day. On average I spent about 30 minutes per day on my WIP, double my original goal. That feels good! 

But more than that, working on my story daily made me more confident, creative and excited about it. By the middle of the month, I’d worked through the tasks I’d set myself and I had more clarity about the revisions I’ll make. (I spent the second half of the month brainstorming a new story idea. Naughty, I know!) 

Fifteen minutes per day won’t get me to a completed middle grade ms very quickly, but for this season, it was what I needed to dig me out of a hole. 

My take-away is to set my goals based on where I’m at in the writing process. 1,666 words per day is a great challenge, but don’t get pressured into thinking word count is the only thing that matters. There are other elements to the story-writing process, so set your goals based on what you need right now. The important thing is to keep going. 

Cheering you on, wherever you’re at!

Sarah Sambles is a writer of middle-grade fiction, a blogger, and a communications coach. Read more about her at or say 'hi' on Twitter: @Sarah Sambles