Writers across America are revving up for National Novel Writing Month! I heard about NaNoWriMo too late last year to join in the fun, so this will be my first time committing to writing a novel in a month. The great thing about NaNoWriMo is that you won’t be alone in trying to reach the 50,000 word count goal! There is a huge network of support available at the official NaNoWriMo website. I love the idea of having other writers joining together and encouraging one another to meet their writing deadlines each and every day for a month!
Since I’ve never participated in this challenge before, I’ve been doing a little reading up on how to best prepare for the writing madness to follow. While the “rules” state that you can’t start your novel by building up your word count, you are encouraged to prepare and I feel that the only way that I will succeed in meeting the 50,000 word count is if I do all the super hard work beforehand by sitting down and mapping out my outlining step-by-step.
Ways to Prepare:
Give your family a heads up. Let your spouse, family and friends know that you will need to have time to sit down and write. While working full-time/part-time, being a stay-at-home parent or daily life may not allow you to write so aggressively throughout the rest of the year, just remind your loved ones that this is important to you and it’s only for 1 month. At the end of the month, maybe bake them a treat or do something special to show them your appreciation of their support.
Set a daily word count goal. Since it is in November, we all know that Thanksgiving is going to take at least two days away from writing between cleaning the house for guests/friends/family and preparing appetizers, entrees and desserts, there’s no way around losing those two days without imploding due to stress of trying to do everything, so take a break and use this time to hit the refresh button and enjoy the company of your loved ones. Who knows, it may give you a second wind of inspiration that will fire you on until the end of NaNoWriMo.
50,000 words/28 days = 1786 words per day. Not too bad! WE can do it!
Outline, outline, outline! The key to success for NaNoWriMo is (hypothetically that is because I have yet to reach the testing phase to prove this as a theory) careful outlining!
Since time is of the essence, the only way I’ll make survive the rigid word count schedule is if I plan my story better than I ever have before. As a reforming pantser, I am getting better at planning my stories on the front end. To stop a “sagging middle” before it starts, check out my post on the 3-Act Plot Structure.
Character development. For a planner, this step may seem like a “duh” statement, but as I said, I’m a reforming pantser. Get to know your character inside and out and make a cheat sheet for yourself to review whenever you forget where they live, their backstory, their eye color, height or even nervous tics.
Research your setting. To set yourself up for success, research even the little things like what flowers are in season or what wildlife/insects/reptiles are near your setting etc. You never know what inspiration you make pick up along the way while studying your setting!
Soak in inspiration! Go for a walk in the park, people watch, journal, read books, watch a movie and listen to music. Fill your creative inspiration cup so you can pour it out come November!
Hope this helps you in your own preparation! If you have any tips on prepping for NaNoWriMo, please feel free to comment! Thank you!
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