For those of you that don’t know, next month is NaNoWriMo. You can sign up or find out more information here http://nanowrimo.org/. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50,000 words in a month. Not a small feat to say the least. The idea is to write fast, not over analyze your work, not to spend hours revising, just to write.
NaNoWriMo is a huge event in the writing world, and can even take over the month of November. Groups I’m on will go all but silent during November as we all spend every precious moment writing towards that lofty goal of 50,000 words. It’s also a great way to meet other writers and aspiring writers through the NaNoWriMo chat rooms and writeins.
I've participated in NaNoWriMo for the last four years. In fact November is my favorite month for this reason. I love NaNoWriMo, the comradery, the goal focus, the productivity. Some years I’ve been successful and made it to that goal, some I haven’t. But every year I make the choice to try my best, no matter what else is going on at the time.
Over the course of the last several years of participating in NaNoWriMo I’ve learned a few tips for how to prepare for my favorite month of the year.
1. Stop writing. I take a few weeks break from writing in October to make myself hungry to write again once NaNoWriMo starts. I try to focus on revising and editing. This year I’ll be focusing on the release of Dirty Work, my last Naughty Holiday List story on October 24th.
2. Come up with a plan on how you’ll get to that 50,000 goal. For some people this might mean doing outlines, character sketches or plot maps. As a working writer I handle NaNoWriMo a little differently. I have finished several novels, and I know how to keep working towards that finish line that often intimidates new writers. I’m not as concerned with finishing something as I am just getting words down and moving forward on all the ideas I have running around in my head. So for me, my goal for NaNoWriMo is just to write. It doesn’t have to be all on one story, but it has to all be useable worthwhile words (no exploding goats or bizarre side plots just to get to that number that I’ll only have to edit out later). I’ve already picked out a few works I want to start on, I have a few scene’s already cooking in the back of my mind, waiting for November 1st.
3. Do everything preemptively that you can. Clean the house, take the cat to the vet, go grocery shopping. Once November comes you’ll want to spend all your time writing, so getting these things done now (or at least making them a little easier during the month). I try to clean the house top to bottom toward the end of October so I know I can be a little more lax in November.
4. Rest. Read. Catch up on your sleep. You won’t have time for those things once November hits, so get them in while you can. My biggest concern this year is exercising. I don’t know how I’m going to fit working out around NaNoWriMo, but I’ll figure it out.
5. Go on the NaNoWriMo site, explore the chat rooms and look for local writeins and meet ups. One of my favorite aspects of NaNoWriMo is being able to meet and talk with other writers. I like to go on the site, and scope that all out before November so I already know the lay of the land and can start making connections in my area before the month starts. There isn't as much time for socializing once November hits.
That’s what I do to prepare for NaNoWriMo. Is anyone else participating this year? What do you do to prepare for NaNoWriMo? I’d love to hear any other suggestions people have to get ready for this month long extravaganza. I’m always looking for ways to improve my NaNoWriMo experience. Please leave your suggestions in the comments below.