With National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, just around the corner, now is the perfect time to start your writing preparation. I mean, you were going to prepare, weren’t you?
So what is NaNoWriMo? Throughout November, writers all over the world stock up on coffee, turn their phones off and commit to writing at least 50,000 words by the end of the month, and yes, it’s as tough as it sounds. It’s not all doom and keyboard-smashing gloom though. The official website is home to a fantastic community of writers, some of whom you can buddy up with to get you through the hard times. If you’re lucky, there might even be a local community in your area that you can meet up with during the month. Overall, it’s an outstanding experience that I’d recommend to anyone, and if you’ve decided to jump right in, then it’s a good idea to do some preparation beforehand.
Is preparation really necessary for NaNoWriMo?
So you don’t need to do any preparation if you want to take part. You can jump right in and do it whichever way you like, as long as you hit your word count. Although, it’s likely you’re going to have one of your most productive months of the year and it can be a great idea to capitalize on this bout of productivity. After all, how great would it be to come away from the experience with a workable first draft?
So what you can you do to prepare for NaNoWriMo?
If you’re going to be writing between now and November, it’s a great idea to get into the habit of shutting off the inner editor as soon as you can. That way you can hit the ground running come November 1st. The key to NaNoWriMo success is the ability to simply get the words on the page, and to do that you have to lock away the editor and throw away the key!
Tell your friends
It’s likely you won’t have as much time to socialize as you usually do, and it’s a good idea to get the word around now. I’m not saying lock yourself away for a month, but by letting people know that you’re going to have a commitment in November, they’ll have time to get used to the idea. You might not struggle at all when juggling NaNoWriMo with your social life, but if you think you might, then build up to it slowly, otherwise the added social pressure will just distract you from your goal.
Find a community
There’s no time like the present to start getting involved with the NaNoWriMo community. Head over to the website and sign up. Create your profile and start finding out about local events in your area!
Plan your writing process
Take some time to consider what has worked for you in the past. One of the best ways to succeed at NaNoWriMo is to stay ahead of your word count. Try your best not to slip behind because that word count will start to become unmanageable. Plan your process and do your best to create a daily writing habit.
If you can get to work on your ideas now and even start work on an outline, you’ll be miles ahead when you come to get started. The less that stands between you and putting words on the page, the better! Use this time to get as much outlining done as possible. Then come November, you’ll know exactly what you need to do each day.
Build the writing habit
If you don’t already write daily, then now’s the time to start. Even if you just sit down and write a few hundred words, it will carve out the time in your day that you’ll commit to NaNoWriMo and begin to build the habit that will get you through the month. It will be far less of a shock if you slowly work up to the word count now.
So that sounds easy enough, right? Well, it’s not. Don’t worry though, the coffee, the community and your creativity will go a long way to helping you achieve this fantastic goal. We’re all in it together, and nothing quite compares to the feeling of completing NaNoWriMo!
Good luck, and I’ll see you on the other side!
Like these writing tips? Check out these 12 Tips to become a better writer!
Peter Turley is a writer, editor, blogger and podcaster living in the North West of England where he grew up. He reads, writes and edits fantasy fiction and co-hosts www.thebookeditorshow.com with Clark Chamberlain. Follow him on Twitter @PDTurley