Heart Breathings

How To Plan Your Novel (For NaNoWriMo)

October 7, 2022 by Sarra Cannon

Writing Tips

It’s that lovely time of year where writers come together to start preparing for National Novel Writing Month. Even if NaNoWriMo isn’t your thing, I hope these new videos will help spark something for you as you prepare and plan your next novel!

Planning Your Novel

What Type Of Writer Are You?

The first thing in planning your novel is really thinking about your individual process. Are you a plotter, pantser, puzzler, plantser? Or something in between?

No one can really tell you the amount of planning you need to do for your book, because every writer and their process is different.

So, the first step is really to determine how much planning you feel is right for you.

What Can You Plan?

You can plan your characters, your setting, your “rules” of the magic system or world. You can pre-plan any research or decisions that need to be made about the world you’re writing in (or the city, time period, etc.).

Making some of these decisions, or at least having some idea of what you want to include, can be a huge time saver when it comes to drafting your novel in November.

My Process

Watch today’s video to see more of my own process as I plan my novels, like my plotting wall, my planner, and more.

I hope you have enjoyed this Preptober video. Don’t forget to grab my Preptober Planner by signing up for my newsletter now. You’ll also get instant access to my entire resource library that includes workbooks on plotting your novel, writing scenes, brainstorming ideas, and more.

Sarra Cannon


  1. Rachel says:

    Do you have somewhere you write your steps? I love watching your videos, but I was hoping to find something similar I could read on your blog. for when I can’t do the videos. Thank you so much for your content!

  2. Darcy Diamond says:

    I discovered your Youtube channel during the pandemic. Your clear, encouraging voice, the Hello Kitty!, your willingness to share notes from 1st novel to present planning your 26th-27th? Congratulations on learning strategies as you internalized your own process. I’m finding mine now. Life got in the way 2020, 2021, but so what? & I won’t be ready for Nano this year. I’m going to conceptualize & write on anyway. I’m puzzler, Save the Cat, and Dan Harmon’s Story Circle kinda girl. Moving forward and forever, partly thanks to you. Go, Sarra!

  3. Traci says:

    What do each of the colored sticky notes mean in your planner? I’ve been wanting/trying to color code things, but I don’t think I’m doing it right or how I should really do it. Thank you!

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Sarra Cannon

Hi, I'm Sarra!

I have been self-publishing my books since 2010, and in that time, I've sold well over half a million copies of my books. I'm not a superstar or a huge bestseller, but I have built an amazing career that brings me great joy. Here at Heart Breathings, I hope to help you find that same level of success. Let's do this.


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