Tips for Preparing for National Novel Writing Month
National Novel Writing Month is fast approaching and we are already in October, or what some of us call Preptober. This is the time to make sure we have done everything possible to make our NaNoWriMo experience the most successful it can be. Every writer is different, but there are probably a few tips from the list below you can use this Preptober to help you reach your 50,000-word count goal for NaNoWriMo.
1. Outline Your Story
The somewhat obvious tip is to take the month to complete an outline during the month of October. Even if you are a Pantser – that is one who writes without an outline – should take some time to get to know your characters and settings. If you don’t know your characters, you may write something which goes against their character, and then need to edit later. Those edits may not just be the one or two scenes, but every scene after since what happens in one scene can affect what happens in later scenes. Then you may spend more time in the rewriting and editing stage than the writing stage if this is something you are looking to publish later.
2. Meal Planning
If you are an adult, living on your own or with family, you may want to plan meals for the month. When I am successful at sitting down to plan meals, I find this also helps plan what I will need from the grocery store; meaning the grocery list can be written in advance. Then you just need to take a few minutes to see what food your family or housemates have gone through you weren’t planning on them going through, add those to the list before heading out to the store or entering the order online for delivery or pick-up.
Part of the meal planning could be to make the food in advance. I’ve never really done this, but may be looking into doing so this round. I’m not sure how long certain items, or some pre-cooked food items can last in the freezer. Something else I’m interested in would be dehydrated food meals. I follow thruhikers on YouTube, they take on hikes that will take several months to complete. To prep for these hikes they dehydrate a bunch of food. While my husband would probably not love dehydrated meals, this would be something I can do for lunches, or have a few dinners for those nights he’s working and I’m eating alone. Dehydrated meals, only take a few minutes to rehydrate meaning plenty of time for writing.
3. Stock Up on Halloween Candy
At the end of October, comes a holiday not everyone celebrates. Even if you don’t celebrate Halloween though, odds are your favorite candy to give you energy or eat your feelings when writing is not going to plan, is now on sale. Stock up! Get the really big bag if your favorite candy is offered in a really large size, and hand it out for Halloween. If you track how many kids you get each year, the rule I use is to basically double the pieces of candy. This should ensure I have enough to give out. When the night is coming to an end, if you have more than you could possibly eat, you can always give it out by the handful. Then you can have some leftovers, of your favorite candy at the ready for the month of November.
4. Organize and Clean Your Workspace(s)
Are you the type of person who needs things around you to be organized before you can be productive? If you embrace chaos skip to the next tip, this one isn’t likely to be useful.
If you have a desk you will sit at, or a space in the Living Room you like to set up in from time to time, now is the time to make sure these areas are clean and organized. Also, make sure your family or other housemates know, these areas need to stay clean and organized for the month. This can be their holiday present to you. It’s totally free for them, if they can help you out and keep their junk out of these spaces so you can be productive. You can promise to remember them when you make it as a successful author 😉.
5. Set the Atmosphere
Do you need silence? Plan to write at your local library. Need some background noise, or people to watch, maybe plan to write at the coffee shop. Write to music? Start creating your playlist with your favorite streaming service. Think a certain smell will help? Time to explore scented candles, wax melts, incense sticks.
6. Set Your Schedule
Schedules are subject to change. Something goes seriously wrong at your place of employment and you may need to spend hours you hadn’t originally planned on, working through the problem. After all, for most of us participating in this event, our writing doesn’t pay the bills yet. We like eating, and having a roof over our heads, so the employment things are obviously a priority.
If you are trying to reach the 50,000 word goal, and have the ability to have the same amount of time each day writing, you can aim for the 1667 words a day goal. For the rest of us with changing schedules, more time on certain days for writing, and such, you may want to work out a more flexible daily goal. If you would like a product which can calculate your daily words for you, try Novel Pad (*this referral link will give you and me a free month if you choose to sign up). I switched to Novel Pad last year, initially signing up through the NaNo referral link. I was able to set the weekends as my best days to work, and days I needed to be in the office as low days. I believe this switch is the reason I was succeeded in writing the 50,000 words last year.
7. Don’t Forget to Register
Go to Nanowrimo.org to sign up for the NaNoWriMo event this November. Then don’t forget to update your word count as November and your story progresses. If you would like to add me as a buddy, you can find me by searching for PixiReads.