It's October, which means NaNoWriMo is right around the corner, and I couldn't be more excited.
This year I'm going #nanorebel by working on a novel that's already in progress. You may remember me writing about my WIP, Love & Hysteria. To be honest, I haven't made that much progress.
I take that back. I have made more progress on this novel than any other just in the fact that I created an outline, character backstories and arcs, and made a list of chapters, some of which I made brief outlines for.
This is the first novel I've ever outlined and it's made a huge difference. I always considered myself a panster (someone who writes by the seat of her pants), but I'm more productive as a plotster.
So, NaNoWriMo 2018. Are you in? You can walk the rebel road with me by diving into a work in progress or start working on a fresh, new story idea.
Whatever you choose to do, now is the time prep, prep, prep. Think of October as your springboard, your chance to raise those novel-writing vibes so that come November 1, you'll be ready to...
ideas on how to prep for nanowrimo
Work on your plot or scribble down story ideas to help you move in the right direction. Even pansters need some kind of road map. It might consist of barely legible notes and character sketches, but it's something.
If you need guidance, I highly recommend K.M. Weiland's books. Her books, more than any other on the craft of writing, have helped me with plotting and outlining. She also has an outlining your novel computer program that takes you through the whole process.
Fill out your NaNoWriMo profile. Doing so is a way of announcing (even to yourself) that you're committing to writing a novel in one month. In addition to filling out your author and novel info, you can select fun, personal achievement badges like NaNo Rebel, Caffeine Abuse, and Procrastination.
Donate to NaNoWriMo. This is not only a way to support the cause, but it's a way of making a deeper writing commitment. When you put money behind a goal or endeavor, you're more likely to invest yourself in the process and follow through to completion. Donations range from $10 to $5000 and you get nifty gifts when you donate.
Participate in the NaNo forums. Get to know your fellow writers and get tips, strategies, and the support you need during November.
Gather your tools. Notebooks, pens, sticky notes, index cards, writing books, crystals, a mini fridge, coffee pot, whatever helps you get through your daily word count.
Set up your work space. You might not always be able to write in the same place everyday, but it's nice to have a dedicated novel-writing area to spend time in. My work space is a small office nook just off of the bedroom. I've filled it with writing tools, inspiring artwork, books, candles, crystals, and my altar.
Decide what writing program you'll use. Will you pen your masterpiece in Microsoft Word, a Google doc, Scrivener, or some other program? It's best to decide on one so that all of your writing is kept in one place. I purchased Scrivener a few years ago and find it much more useful than a Word doc. You might have read that it takes quite a bit of time to learn, but I disagree. Everything is pretty straight forward, easy to find, and work with.
Put writing time in your calendar. If you're anything like me you have to write everything down in a daily planner or nothing gets accomplished/remembered. So why not schedule in actual writing time? Even if you block off 10 minutes, by writing it in your calendar, you're acknowledging its importance.
Find a writing buddy. Accountability, please! Find a local writing buddy and schedule writing sessions. Can't find anyone nearby? You can find online buddies through the NaNo website and participate in virtual write-ins.
Get inspired. Loads of NaNo inspiration exists across the interwebs. Search Pinterest for NaNoWrimo and create boards with images of your characters, setting, etc. Participate in Prep_tober on Twitter and play with the Instagram challenge. Re-read your favorite novels and poetry. Post a writing affirmation in your work space. Put together a NaNoWriMo survival kit.
Create your novel soundtrack and/or listen to writing playlists. One of the fastest ways for me to get inspired to write is to listen to the novel soundtrack I created on Spotify. I listen to it even when I'm not writing because it gets me thinking and imagining scenes, which I can flesh out later. I also like to find writing playlists (usually instrumental), of which there are many. What kind of music helps you write? What's your novel's music vibe?
Work through your anxiety. This is a big one. You might start the first week of November feeling high vibe and ready to go, but find yourself questioning in the second week (what did I get myself into??!) and slogging through the third week. Your inner critic will probably snoop around your brain and throw out doubts. Life will inevitably get in the way at some point. Things just won't go as smoothly as you imagined them.
Prepare for these moments now! When the critic starts chattering, tell it you'll get back to it in a few weeks. When you feel uninspired and tired and like a sloth trying to cross the road, read a pep talk and use micro movements (write for 5 minutes and see how you feel). On days you feel especially on fire, write more than your projected word count - get ahead!
Writing a novel is no easy task, but the great thing about doing it in one month is that you have no time to overthink, edit, or make excuses. You just get the words on the page. That's the only goal. Get the words on the page, even if they're messy and ugly and everything looks more like a scrapbook than a novel. Get the words on the page, edit later.
Let's do this!!!