12 Steps to Prepping for Nanowrimo.
Nanowrimo = National Novel Writing Month.
Yuppers, it's that time of year once again, that golden, crazy month in which thousands of writers from all around the world toss aside their regular task laden days and focus on the book of their dreams. This is not for the fainthearted. The good news is there is lots of support out there for these brave scribes. Here are 12 easy, doable steps for prepping for Nanowrimo. Make this the year you get that book of your heart out into the world.
- Register with Nanowrimo. Google it; it's easy to find, easy to join. Find your region, join a local thread, upload a fun icon for yourself, and maybe a fun name. Hey, why not escape your regular life completely? Find a writing buddy! Encourage one another.
- Look over your work space. Cluttered with other stuff? Too small? There is no work space? Fix all this. A computer, some packs of paper, a stock of ink for your printer, a cleared space to spread out a bit, some good lighting, some scratch pads. That's all you need. The lucky ones will have a door they can close, but this is not necessary to your success. A dedicated space, even if you bring all your tools to the dining room each evening after the kids are in bed, and pack it up again in a plastic laundry basket after your writing session, will serve you just fine.
- Get your family on board. Explain what this means to you; make them valued members of “Team You”. Plan events, projects, movies, whatever you need to occupy your family members while you are M.I.A. Get them excited, get them involved in the process. Hint: Don't ask, “Would you like to watch Tangled while Mommy writes on her book?' Ask instead, “When Mommy is writing on her book, would you like to watch Tangled or the Lego Movie?” Smart ….
- Plan out your menu ahead of time. Lay in supplies. Make ahead meals in the freezer are great supporters of your muse. So are in-store roasted chickens and bagged salads. Think ahead, put aside, order in, farm out … You get the idea. Again, get your family involved.
- Brainstorm your ideas. Now sit down with a pad of paper and dream, brainstorm, imagine… Got some ideas? Pick out the most promising one, the one that makes your pulse quicken. Flesh it out, either alone or with a brainstorm buddy.
- Sketch out the main plot points of your book idea, dividing the rising, unfolding action into chapters that make sense to the arc of your story. Write a brief sentence or two about what will happen in each chapter to bring your vision to life on the page. Example: Chapter 4. Gerry finds the broken blade inside the pumpkin and realizes whoever carved this pumpkin could be the killer. Have Cathy let it slip she went to high school with Jill. Introduce Brent's dog here. Make him a goofy dog, easy to love.
- Decide which word processing software you will use. Word? Scrivener? You can download Scrivener for free and use it for 30 days. Google it; it's easy to find and use. Look over the tutorial that comes with it to understand how it works. You don't need to know it all, just how to set up your chapters and your outline for this year's Nano challenge. It's super easy.
- Create your basic outline with the plot points of your book where you can easily refer to it as your create your masterpiece. These could be detailed on a scratch pad, a stack of three by five cards, a sheet of paper on the wall behind your computer, or typed into Scrivener, if you're a fan – whatever works for you. There is no right or wrong.
- Word Targeting – Do the math. Work out how many days in November you will be free to write. Are you one of the lucky ones who can write every day? 50,000 words divided by 30 days means your word target for each day will be 1666 words. You can only commit to writing 24 days of November? That means you you'll need to hit 2083 words each of your writing days.
- Snacks. You'll need snacks. Lay in a few of your fav's and those of your family too. They are your supporters. Encourage them to encourage you!
- Now get some rest. Like a prize fighter, you want to arrive in the ring pumped and ready, in top condition.
- Nov 1st – Go get that book!! Remember – you're not going for perfect, you're going for 50,000 finished words. You can pretty it all up later. Right now, during Nanowrimo, you're going for the first, inspired, unvarnished, straight from the gut draft. See you on the other side! Good Luck!
Go to Writer's Resources for more free tips and tricks that can help you in your Nanowrimo challenge.