Creativity's Workshop

Taming and Training Your Creativity to Write Abundantly

How to Write By the Seat of Your Pants Through NaNo WriMo


A little girl squealing as she shoots down a metal slide.

Okay, we’ve had several posts now about how to prepare your novel, your Creativity and yourself for NaNo WriMo, but what if you’re one of those people who writes by the seat of their pants?

Well here are some suggestions for you on how to make November a success.

Set Aside Time to Write

Keep to a writing schedule as much as possible. If you don’t plan your writing time, it’s all too easy to just let things slide and end up realising it’s November 25th and you’re facing an insurmountable deficit.

Ideas will come if you have a consistent schedule. First you need to get into the habit of sitting down and facing the page.

Expose Yourself to Plenty of Writing Fodder

While it’s all well and good to keep your head down and dutifully pound out the words, don’t forget to actively look for ideas during the process.

  • Watch people as you walk along the street.
  • Pay attention to shops, houses and back alleys during your travels.
  • Notice different forms of employment – postman, window washer, air hostess, bank clerk. Perhaps even take the opportunity to ask your friends or acquaintances for more information on their typical day at work.
  • Read! Read articles you normally wouldn’t be interested in. Read classic books. Read new books.

Find time to get away from your computer and absorb some of the interesting world around you, then inject it into your story.

Select Music for Your Writing

As mentioned before, music can help your Creativity. Soundtracks are created to tell a story, with interesting changes in pace and emotion just waiting to fit your scene. Different tempos evoke different moods, so listen to a variety of genres to find the sound you feel fits with what you’re working on.

Each character’s choice of songs will reveal their personality, age, likes and dreams. Spend some time considering what kind of music would interest them.

Once you’ve got this collection together, why not create a playlist of songs you feel capture your story and characters. Listen to it during your day to provide ideas for your writing.

Keep a Notebook

Once you get into your story, it’s a good idea to have a notebook or a document on hand to record things. Okay, you may not want to write down your plans for your characters, but at least record the details you’ve already written about.

For example, if your character is an orphan, make a note of it so further down the track you don’t suddenly have him call his father asking for money.

Jot down descriptions and history in your notebook so you can refer back to the details easily, instead of having to scroll through your whole story trying to find them.

Enjoy the Process

Have fun while you’re writing, without worrying too much about the outcome. The beauty of writing by the seat of your pants is that you never know where you’ll end up. And if you finish up somewhere completely different from where you started, you can always go back and rewrite.

After all, this quote is very true:

If you haven’t got an idea, start a story anyway. You can always throw it away, and maybe by the time you get to the fourth page you will have an idea, and you’ll only have to throw away the first three pages. —William Campbell Gault

Author: Jessica

I'm a writer who refuses to pin myself down to one genre, hopping from science-fiction and fantasy through to literary and even the odd western now and then. Check out what I've written at or follow me on Twitter @jessbaverstock.

6 thoughts on “How to Write By the Seat of Your Pants Through NaNo WriMo

  1. I love your tips to watch and observe the world and people in it, and read things you wouldn’t normally read. I had an idea to mix the two: go somewhere you wouldn’t normally go. A museum, antique shop, laundromat, the ideas are endless!

  2. Also don’t forget to have FUN during Nano. It shouldn’t stress you out, that’s what rewrites are for! 🙂 Good luck to all in November.

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