NaNoWriMo: Keeping Your Focus Tips by Allie Frazier

Posted by on Nov 15, 2013 in Blog, Craft Talk, Fresh Ink | Comments Off on NaNoWriMo: Keeping Your Focus Tips by Allie Frazier

Hey guys!  It is the end of week 2, so today I’m going to talk to you about making sure you stay focused!

With such a large undertaking as 50,000 words in such a short period of time, it can be difficult to keep a story going without finding yourself trailing off and away from your plot. Some of these detours can be helpful, but too many will just distract you from your ultimate goal: a novel.

One way to keep yourself focused is to make an outline of what you want to do. This is not a set plan in which you give all the details–you want to make sure that you have the room to change some things up–but if you give yourself a roadmap, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not you are following the same direction as before.

Some helpful questions to ask yourself when making your outlines are

  • What genre is your story? The tone?
  • Where is the story set?
  • What are the rules in your world?
Note: this is an important concept to keep in mind. If in your world, there are humanoid creatures that can fly, set up reasoning or science behind it and then stick with the laws of nature you set up.
  • Who is/are the main character(s)
  • What is his/her/their goal?
  • What is keeping him/her from reaching the goal?
  • What pushes the character to go forward after difficulties begin?
  • What do you want reader takeaway to be?
  • In the end, who succeeds? Why? How?
When you answer some of these basic questions, you create boundaries for your imagination; the outline becomes your safety net.
NaNoWriMo can feel like the time to just run out and do everything, but you need focus to make it to the finish line.
alliefrazierAllie Frazier is a Writing student at Point Loma Nazarene University. She is currently interning for San Diego Writers Ink and hopes to one day go into publishing.
 Note: SDWI is not affiliated with NaNoWriMo and the National Novel Writing Month site (  We are separate organizations.  SDWI simply has some members and instructors who participate in NaNoWriMo and want to support the efforts of other locals who are interested in that program.