writing nanowrimo

Nanowrimo (national novel writing month) is a great challenge that helps you focus on getting the words down… but where do you put them? I’ve played with a bunch of options over the years, so here are some choices of my favorite writing software and apps.

1. MS Word

A great standby, that most of us are already using. If you format your book correctly, it will look good in print and convert easily to ebook. And you can even drag and drop sections and chapters around (bet you didn’t know that!) However, there have been several times in my life where my computer or harddrive crashed and I lost the books I was working on. There’s nothing as painful, and it’s really hard to get up the energy to rewrite something you’ve already written.

2. Google Docs

I started using Google docs so that, at least, all my work would be saved automatically, and I could access it from any computer, which is a huge time-saver. It works great, until you start fine-tuning and editing, then it can be clunky to try to jump through your novel and find the part you want.

3. Word + Dropbox

This is what I’m using right now: I put my Word docs in a Dropbox folder, that I can still access on any computer, update and save. Almost foolproof. But if you move it or delete it accidentally, it’s hard to get back. Still, this is the safest method I’ve found.

4. Scrivener

A lot of writers love Scrivener. I’ve tried it a few times but apparently not enough to get hooked. I find the structure limiting and claustrophobic. I want my document to be open full screen (I know it has a “full screen” mode but then I can’t access other things I want). You can move things around, but I can do that in Word. It has handy reference and note areas, but I prefer to just dump data at the beginning or end of chapters and clean it up later.

How about you?

What are you going to use to write your Nanowrimo book? When it’s done, come back to DIY Book Formats so you can get it ready to publish!

Winning Nanowrimo (6 steps to an unbreakable writing habit)

I don’t always do Nanowrimo (national novel writing month) but it’s a nice way to “train” yourself to write every day, and get comfortable producing 50K of content in a month, which isn’t impossible but does have to be a priority. I made this video in Thailand and some people say it’s one of my best.


Check out my article on the Nanowrimo Blog: 9 Steps to Build a Strong Plot


PS I like Nanowrimo so much, or at least the principles behind it, that I got an #amwriting Tattoo.

#amwriting tattoo naniwrimo



I’ve also rented a few castles to use as writing retreats.


Derek Murphy
Derek Murphy

I'm a location independent book designer (and book marketing genius) working on my PhD in Literature and shopping for a castle to use as a writer's paradise. I write non-fiction and YA.

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