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Welcome to season five of Creative Lift: Dive Into the NaNoWriMo Challenge! I’m Naomi Kinsman, and you’re listening to episode 36, How to Choose a Project for NaNoWriMo.

In case you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo—it’s a challenge started by an organization of that same name, in which writers are invited to draft a novel in the month of November.

Now you may not be a novelist yourself, or you might be someone who doesn’t like to draft quickly—before you skip this season entirely, I want you to know that this season will be packed with tips and tricks for the art of drafting. Drafting takes a special mindset, one you can develop and fine-tune. Imagine if, when you next face the blank page, you didn’t have to cross your fingers and hope inspiration would strike? What if you had a mental toolkit to make slipping into the flow state easier?

Last season, we discussed revision and explored a variety of tools you can use to shape a story. But before you can do that, you need a story to work with. And to have that story, you need to draft. You can struggle through, or you can stumble through, or you can flow through. My deep hope is that more of us can flow through—and that is what this season is all about. So, if you are curious about drafting, about tackling the blank page, about flow, or about NaNoWriMo, this season is for you.

If you listened in last season, you met Alex Doherty, who is the editor for Creative Lift, and who is also a fellow middle grade writer. When I told Alex I planned to take on the NaNoWriMo challenge this coming November, he said he wanted to do so, too. So, we decided we’d record our conversations about planning for the challenge, and then record quick sessions along the way as we draft in November, to keep ourselves on track, and hopefully to inspire you to draft along with us.

If you’re listening to this episode when it releases, you’ll be tuning in during October 2022, and that means it is perfect timing to prep your novel writing plan for this coming November. If you’re listening at any other time, remember that there are no rules that you must draft in any specific month. You can take on a similar challenge at any time. If you’re ready to draft, by all means, don’t let the calendar or other people’s expectations get in your way.

In today’s episode, Alex and I will talk about how we’re choosing our NaNoWriMo projects this year. My hope is that our discussion will expand your view of what’s possible and give you permission to make the best use of November’s challenge, even if you aren’t currently ready to start a brand new project.

Here’s our conversation:


In every CL episode, our hope is that you walk away inspired and encouraged. As you consider today’s conversation, what question or idea might you take away?

Next week, we’ll talk about How to Set Yourself Up for NaNoWriMo. We’ll discuss how you can give yourself gifts ahead of time that make the drafting process flow more smoothly.

Until then, here’s to you and your creativity!


For this season, I decided not to make individual RGs for each episode. You have enough to focus on with your own writing project. However, I did create a little book of drafting strategies that you can use on days when you’re in need of a little extra mojo. You can download those drafting strategies by visiting the show’s webpage, scrolling to the bottom, and signing up for Creative Lift resources.

And since November hasn’t started quite yet, you may still be in need of some idea exploration. If you want to develop a brand new character, check out my Skillshare Class: Design Thinking for Writers: Create a Compelling Character. On this episode’s webpage, there’s a link for a free trial to the Skillshare platform so that you can take that class for free.

As we wrap up today, my question for you is: What project is drawing your excitement and enthusiasm? Might this be the year to try out the NaNoWriMo challenge?

If you know someone who might also benefit from listening to this episode, I’d be so grateful if you’d pass it along to them.


Design Thinking for Writers: Create a Compelling Character

Find me on Instagram: @naomikinsman 

 Find Alex on Instagram: @ag.doherty

You can also help others find the show by rating and reviewing it on Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to the show. Your words make such a difference for them—and for me, as I continue to create this show. Many, many thanks in advance. And of course, a big thank you to Alex for joining me in this conversation, and for editing the show.