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My Plans for NaNoWriMo 2023

Updated: Nov 14, 2023

A person writing on a notepad with a pen.

It's October, or Preptober for the NaNoWriMo world. (If you're looking for advice on how to prep for NaNo, check out my blog article and video about that.) National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is a challenge to write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November.

Or, well, you could not do that EXACTLY.

I'm a NaNo Rebel. (Have been for several years running.) What that means: I won't be drafting 50k of a new novel.


So what AM I doing?

This year I'm doing "CalmWriMo," which I found on Tumblr. For this NaNo-adjacent event, you set A) a fun and achievable writing goal and B) an accessible and enjoyable self-care focus.

I have been so stressed about my many writing projects, and I need to take better care of myself, so this felt perfect for me.

My CalmWriMo goals for November:

  • Writing Goal: Spend at least 1 hour on Winner revisions, daily*

  • Self-Care Goal: Exercise in any way, daily*

*certain pre-planned days excluded

So let's talk about what those goals may look like for me.

CalmWriMo Writing Goal

I'm going to be working on my revisions to the first draft of The Winner Takes It All, book 2 in my Virginia Is for All Lovers romance series. My goal is one hour a day of concentrated revision work.

Why did I choose this goal?

A few reasons, actually.

  1. I promised these revisions to my publisher by 31 December 2023. So, y'know, contracted deadlines or whatever.

  2. I've been putting it off for months because I'm afraid, but the only way out is through.

  3. I can't write Rhiannon and Alex's story (book 3) until Yelena and Embry's story is finalized. And I really wanna write Rhiannon and Alex's story.

  4. One hour a day is a mild stretch (because, again, I've been being a chicken about it) but doable.

What's this book about?


Gym rivals Yelena and Embry team up for a tennis competition and learn they have more in common than they’d like to admit. Hope they don’t fall in love...


  • FF pairing (bi x lesbian)

  • rivals to allies to lovers

  • banter (derogatory) to banter (affectionate) pipeline

  • small town

  • queer ensemble cast

  • suffering together through bad karaoke

  • adult/strip Twister

  • what is Embry’s full name?? the world may never know

  • friendships!!

  • several steamy scenes hehe


After surviving the car accident that killed her parents, Yelena keeps a tight control over her life. She holds success close and any possible relationships at arm’s length; she certainly can’t let any potential partners close enough to lose them too. Her competitive spirit sends her to the top of her gym’s leaderboard, or rather, to a tie for first place. Tied with her least favorite person at the gym. With a 1,000-dollar prize and her pride at stake, Yelena will do whatever it takes to beat out her rival, Embry. If only Embry weren’t so damn pretty.

Embry needs to be the best. Despite her wall of diplomas and awards, it’s the gym leaderboard she has her eye on lately, but her number-one place has somehow become tied for first. Unacceptable. Worse, when her tennis partner gets hurt, the only person who can step in for the upcoming pairs competition is the last person she wants on her team.

Yelena and Embry begrudgingly team up for the tennis competition. As they spend time together, though, they find they’re more similar than different, and deeper feelings blossom. But will their fears—and the leaderboard—get in the way of what they both truly want?

The Winner Takes It All is a rivals-to-lovers, steamy, sapphic romance.

CalmWriMo Self-Care Goal

I'm aiming to exercise in any way, for any length of time, every day in November.

Why did I choose this goal?

Moving my body is an essential part of my mental health, but I've been neglecting that.

The point of this goal is not to lose weight or gain muscle. It's just to build a habit of caring for the activity needs of my body and my brain.

What might this look like?

Just a few options, because it can be literally anything:

  • Walking my corgi

  • Doing pushups during TV commercial breaks or between Netflix episodes

  • Dancing the entirety of "Cotton-Eyed Joe"

  • Doing calisthenics with Darebee RPG workouts

  • Cycling on the air bike for 10 minutes

  • Line dancing at the local pub

the world is my oyster babyyyy


For 2023 I'm being a NaNo Rebel and doing CalmWriMo instead of the traditional 50k.

My CalmWriMo goals:

  • Writing Goal: Spend at least 1 hour on Winner revisions, daily

  • Self-Care Goal: Exercise in any way, daily

If CalmWriMo (or NaNo Rebelling in general) sounds like a good fit for you, join me in it!

We can be friends on the NaNoWriMo site too; add me on my NaNo profile here.

Now go forth and do whatever you want for NaNoWriMo!

I believe in you!


For more writerly and adulty things, you can subscribe to this blog (below).

You can also follow me on TikTok (@AuthorIvyLJames), Instagram (@authorivyljames), Twitter (@AuthorIvyLJames), Facebook ("Author Ivy L. James"), and YouTube ("Author Ivy L. James")! I post about writing, writing romance specifically, adulting, my corgi Pippa Finn, and other fun things.



What Goes Up (mental-health poetry chapbook):

Make the Yuletide Gay (lesbian holiday romance):

Border Ctrl+Esc (queer m/f marriage of convenience romance):

Love, Lorena (sapphic matchmaker/princess romance):

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