I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo, aka NaNo, which starts
November first, for the first time. The goal is to write 50,000 words in a month. Here’s what I’ve done to prepare and what I recommend.
1) Cleared some tasks due in November off my plate, such as a writing column, to free up more time and brain space/energy to write.
2) Limited extraneous activities, while still making room for some social activities. I think some down time helps refill the well and lets the subconscious generate more ideas.
3) Chose the project to work on and did a bit of preparation, such as jotting down thoughts.
However, I’m sorry to say I’m still waffling on this. I wanted to write the second book in my new series. But I keep wondering if I should choose a more popular romance subgenre or another project I’ve been wanting to work on.
4) Plan to write with a friend or go to a few write-ins, where participants gather at a coffee shop or other location to help each other stay on task and feel less isolated.
5) Told family/friends I’m doing this and that it’s important to me. I still have a few more people to tell.
6) Signed up online to keep track of my word count and put it out there publicly that I want to do this. They say goals should be written down and shared…. And there’s a lot of helpful information and encouragement on the NaNo site.
7) Put writing appointments on my calendar, especially mornings because I’m a morning person, so I can reach the 1,667 word count early in the day and even get ahead if I make more time to write later in the day. This approach should help in case I have to miss an entire day or two because of paying commitments.
8) Decided to bring my laptop or use the handy stylus on my phone when I’m on the bus so I can get in more words and time.
9) Joined a Word War, in which groups compete to complete the most words. To some this may add a layer of pressure, but I think it adds motivation. I don’t want to let my group down.
10) Believe I can do it.
Something I learned that surprised me: While there are very successful books written/begun during NaNo, the vast majority of participants and winners (those who complete the 50K in time), never even finish their projects. I mistakenly assumed that most people did NaNo to get a head start on something they wanted to complete and sell, rather than participate (and succeed) several years, but not finish any of the books.
What’s your best NaNo prep tip?