National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is just around the corner. If you haven’t heard about it, it’s a month dedicated to writing with the goal to write 50,000 words in the 30 days of November.
You can so do this and because we believe you can, we’re going to provide some tips here to help you prepare for November’s month of writing craziness.
1. Sign up on the NaNoWriMo website. This site gives you writing tips, motivation, a link to your local regional NaNoWriMo chapters, and ability to reach out to other writers who are going through the same thing you are – no reason to be tearing out your hair alone.
2. Plan a kick off party, or find one to attend. Last year BookFuel hosted a kick-off party on Halloween for the local chapter of NaNoWriMo. It was enjoyable to meet some of the chapter members and hear about their projects. Since it was Halloween we threw a costume party where people came as their favorite literary character. If you’re hosting, have fun with it. Pick a theme. Have some food & some fun party favors (chocolates, pencils engraved with NaNoWriMo, wine, specialty coffee, erasers). Have your guests share about their NaNoWriMo tips, successes, and failures.
3. Prepare your family. Organize car pools – if you have to volunteer all of October for football and ballet taxi services do it so you can have November off. Plan simple meals for November and pre-prepare dinners now for later. There are a ton of Pinterest posts on freezer-to-crock-pot recipes. Teach your kids to make their own lunches – or prepay for a month of school lunches (I have two teen boys, so this would cost us a couple hundred, so we do the former). Give your husband or wife carte blanche to watch as much TV, hang with friends, and to take the kids out to those crazy trampoline places with out you. Invite yourself to someone else’s for Thanksgiving dinner.
5. If you are an outliner – outline now. That way you are ready at 1201 AM on November 1st to start writing.
6. Develop your characters. Know who they are, their wants, their goals, what they look like, what they do and what their motivation is for the story you are writing. Write their back stories now.
7. Don’t just pencil your writing time into your calendar – put it in INK. Make sure your writing time is sacred. Figure out if you’re going to do a few hundred on week days and ramp in up on weekends, and put those word goals into your calendar. I do not suggest just writing 50,000 words on November 30th (you procrastinators know who you are).
8. Organize your writing space. Make sure you have the supplies you need. If you’re a visual person, create your story board. Do whatever you need to do to create that space conducive to creativity.
9. Make sure you have some writing tools to take with you for those stolen minutes to write, or if you have a great idea you need to jot down or you’ll forget.
10. Prepare to just write — edit later. Let the words flow and don’t worry about it. Writing is hard work and it takes many revisions. To get 50k words in a month, you can’t worry about that perfectly placed comma, or the absolutely best word to use. For instance if you can’t think of the words ‘foul ball into the crowd” and you can only think of the words “errant ball into the audience” write that, go back later to correct your momentary loss of memory (and yes, this actually happened to me; I sometimes wonder if I should get a prescription for Aricept for some early onset Alzheimer’s). Your goal is to get a basic, solid, first draft. Do your first edit in December.
You can do this! We know you can.