I don’t usually do Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month–when you try to write a 50,000 word novel in November). Despite this, I wanted to help out anyone who is doing it. So I’ve made a couple of Nanowrimo bingo boards. Each bingo space contains a goal, like “Wrote 1,000 words,” “Wrote to music,” “Finished a chapter,” etc. Most of these were made in Canva mobile, which messed with the text alignment for some reason. If I have time before the month runs out, I’ll make some nicer-looking ones as well.

Feel free to use these bingo boards, edit them, post your remixes, do whatever you like. The photos don’t belong to me, they either come from Unsplash or Pexels. I’d appreciate a link back to this website (aomonk.com) but it’s not necessary.

Writing a novel can be challenging, and it often helps to give yourself little rewards along the way to keep your spirits up. A bingo board is a good way to give yourself a reward without eating anything or spending any money. And it can turn a frustrating challenge–a left-hand turn in the plot, an unexpected death, a horrible piece of dialogue–and turn it into a celebration. Hooray! You wrote the worst sentence in the world! Now you’ll never have to write it again. Finish the scene and go bowling.

A bingo board showing different accomplishments for writers to check off during nanowrimo.

“5,000+” etc. means that you wrote that number of words, or more, in a single sitting or a single day. “???” means you don’t know what’s going on. If you get a bingo–one row, column, or diagonal from top to bottom–then give yourself a treat that you’ve agreed on ahead of time. Maybe a scoop of ice cream, an extra-long shower, a nice walk around the park, or a damn fine cup of coffee. It’s up to you. You’ve earned it!

A bingo board

Below is the “fuck-up” bingo board, which you can use to celebrate some of your “failures” along the way. Remember, any problem with a manuscript can be fixed, so don’t despair when you write something horrendous, then just check off the correct bingo circle and keep going. It’s fine. It’s fine! It will all be fine as long as you keep going.

A bingo board containing fuck-ups.

“She’s not a doctor, she’s a plumber” refers to when you realize, mid-draft, that you need to make some major change to a character’s backstory, to an important relationship, etc. Maybe a character’s job changes from doctor to plumber, or the villain watched his dad die, not his mom, or two characters hate each other because they slept together years before the story began, not because they brawled in a Denny’s parking lot. Any kind of major change like that that has to be painstakingly edited into any future drafts. It’s usually best to just put a note in the manuscript, wherever you’re at, and move on as if the change has already happened. Trust me on this.

If you don’t know who Tommy Wiseau is, he’s the author (and star) of this masterpiece:

Thanks for reading! I’ll update this post as I make more of these bingo boards.

Feature photo by MILKOVÍ on Unsplash.

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