Monday, October 05, 2015

NaNoPrep Ten

With NaNoWriMo less than a month away, it's a good time to begin the prep for writing your November novel. To help you with that, here are:

Ten Things You Can Do to Prepare for National Novel Writing Month

Decide: Committing to take part in NaNo is a huge thing, and everyone should think it over carefully before signing up. Doing that now instead of on October 31st 11:59 pm gives you more time to weigh all the pros and cons and be sure you can swing it. But if you can do all that in sixty seconds or less, by all means, wait.

Declutter: Clean up your writing space. Leave only the things you absolute need to write a novel in thirty days and get rid of the rest of the ephemera. If you'd rather leave the creative nest intact, set up a new one just for your NaNo novel.

Dig for Supplies: If you want to use a notebook, notepad or other office supplies, and they're buried in some closet or drawer, go excavate and create a NaNo-ready pile. Or, if you don't have the supplies you need, buy them now.

Discuss: You need to write your ass off in November, and you don't need people railroading you with helpful input while you're trying to do that. So: if you must discuss your story idea with a crit partner, writing pal or other source of sympathy and feedback, do it this month. Or make NaNoWriMo like Fight Club and don't talk about it with anyone whatsoever.

Dive into Research: If you need to read up on a certain topic to prep your knowledge base for your November novel, now would be the time. Make it a weekend thing and take notes so that when you are writing next month they're right there and ready to be used.

Do the Outline: This will help you decide if your idea will stretch for at least 50K words. Even if you don't follow it, outlining can help you sort out the story in your head. Organic writers, you can skip this step if outlining kills a story for you.

Dole Out Responsibilities: Talk to your spouse, significant other, kids, parents, friends and anyone else who can mess with you in November and let them know you're trying to write a novel in thirty days. Ask them to help you by pitching in with housework, cooking, laundry, etc.

Dropkick the Doubt: November is National Novel Writing Month. Note the word doubt appears nowhere in the previous sentence. If you must torture yourself, October is the unofficial month of I Don't Know if I Can Do This. My advice? Spend the next couple weeks dropkicking the doubt out of your head. Do November for you, for fun. Screw the doubt.

Dump the Distractions: Weed out all the unnecessary writing-related tasks from your writing life. Put your blog on vacation. Shutdown Facebook, Instagram, and any other time-sucking online vortex. Twit your Tweeter pals and explain you're going to Antarctica for the winter if you have to, but take a break from everything that keeps you from writing.

Dwell on Your Ideas: Now that you've done most or all of the above, spend some time thinking about your story idea. Let it run in your head like a movie only you can see. Enjoy fleshing out your characters. Pick songs or color palettes for them. Assemble your novel notebook. Have fun building your world, laying out your settings, and otherwise visiting and polishing and refining your story playground. Because next month, when it's time to actually play in it? You won't have time.


  1. Anonymous11:57 PM

    Thanks for this... now to kick my butt into gear.
    Ron B

  2. Great advice. I'm not sure if I'm doing NaNoWriMo this year. I don't think I've ever done it now that I think about it. :/ Never was sure I'd have the time to write enough each day. But this advice applies to writing in general, so I'm applying it whether I do NaNoWriMo or not. :P :)

  3. I'm not ready! LOL, but I said that the last 2 years too