How to prepare for NaNoWriMo

That time of year is coming near again. That’s right: NaNoWriMo!

Now, it’s possible that, for a lot of you, that sounds like a made-up gibberish word. NaNo-what now? Well, if you haven’t heard of NaNoWriMo before, allow me to explain.

NaNoWriMo stands for “National Novel Writing Month.” It is a month dedicated to writing. Participants write a 50,000 word novel in the month of November alone (that’s about 1,667 words each day). Anybody can join the challenge. It’s a lot of work, but it’s really rewarding if you stick it out and challenge yourself to meet the goal. 

Especially if you’re not a writer, you might be asking: Why would I want to write a novel in a month? And that’s a fair question. It’s a huge endeavor and there are no “real” prizes for winning. You don’t get a publishing deal or a cash prize. You just get a cool graphic to post on social media and the satisfaction of knowing that you accomplished something great. Oh, and a novel. You also walk away with a novel, and that’s a pretty big deal.

Perhaps there is an idea that you’ve been wanting to put on paper (or computer screen) for a while now. NaNoWriMo gives you the opportunity to do it once and for all. At the end of the month, you can say that you have written a book.

Aside from that, it’s a great way to learn to discipline yourself and make friends who are writers from all around the world through online communities. 

Are you up for the challenge? Me too. Let’s get started!

How to prepare now

  1. Make time for writing in November. Complete all other projects you have on your plate that must be done. Plan things ahead of time so you know when you will be able to write.
  2. Get into the habit NOW of writing every day. You will learn which times are best for writing, and it will make the upcoming month much more manageable.
  3. Create your own workspace! Clear your desk, get rid of all clutter and distractions. Then make it yours! Post some art, quotes, or portraits of people who inspire you. Remember, the purpose of this place is to be creative and be you.
  4. Plan your novel. Unless you’d prefer to write on the fly, this time can be used to consider ideas, make plot charts, and give yourself guidance that will come in handy later if you get stuck. Don’t worry, there are plenty of resources to help you plan that novel.

During November: How to keep yourself going

  1. Sign a contract with yourself, committing to complete a 50,000 word novel within the month of November. Committing to a goal in a concrete way will keep you accountable.
  2. Let others know what you are up to. If you use social media, post your plan to write a novel. It keeps you even more accountable, and others will know that you will be busy. Then get off social media altogether, because nobody needs that distraction.
  3. Join the community of writers. Have writing buddies who can cheer you on and help you when you’re stuck.
  4. Speaking of stuck… it’s easy to get frustrated when your novel isn’t as good as you’d like it to be. Remember, it’s only a first draft. Silence your inner editor and it will be much easier to write freely.
  5. Make no excuses. It’s a waste of time when there is a novel to be written.
  6. Take necessary breaks to let your brain relax. You can go on walks, do simple tasks, or meditate.
  7. Have something to look forward to. Say, “If I write a novel this month, I will…”

After writing your novel

You did it! Now is the time to breathe and treat yourself. Let your mind take a much-needed day off. You can worry about the rest later. For now though, celebrate!

Now you and I are both ready. Go, prepare. The Internet will be here when you get back. Good luck!