As NaNoWriMo draws closer, you might be struggling with doing any kind of preparation for this mammoth task, especially if you’ve never partaken in this before. Don’t worry. I’ve got some tips in mind to help you out.
Outline is the most helpful tip I can you.
I know, an outline can be daunting and constricting, but nobody says you have to stick rigidly to it. Moreover, an outline can be a brief outline, with only the beginning or ending planned out. Or perhaps just a list of the characters you’ll use and their importance to the story. Perhaps you’ll feel better if you write down each chapter synopsis in detail, mentioning exactly what’ll happen when. Just make sure you leave room for spontaneity too.
2. Acknowledge what you write might be terrible
The point of NaNoWriMo is to write. Not to edit it as you go along, or continually start over because it doesn’t sound right. Just writing can sometimes give you gems you might not have written had you been able to edit it as you wrote, and your story might go in a completely different direction to the one you’d planned it to go in. You don’t know what’ll happen, so embrace it. Embrace the challenge of just writing and not editing.
3. Plan your writing schedule
Sure, writing 1,667 words every day seems easy enough, but that doesn’t mean it is. Planning out a chunk of time when you’ll write each day will train you into doing it and make it a force of habit, so each day you’ll be dedicated enough to write. For those who hate the idea of a writing schedule, trust me it’ll be a saving grace when you have those days where you don’t feel like writing, because if you wanna reach that 50,000 words at the end of the month, you’ve gotta write every day. Especially on those days when you don’t feel like doing so. It’s what all published writers say.
Although, if you really can’t write everyday for legitimate reasons (outside you just don’t feel like it), that’s perfectly okay too. There is nothing wrong with taking a day or two, especially if you’re forced to. Just be prepared, if you can be, by writing more on the days afterwards.
Additionally, prepare your writing tools. Are you writing in a notebook or on a laptop? Either way, make sure you have a version backed up, just in case. Have plenty of pens. Constantly charge your laptop. Create a writing playlist if you need one. Eat and drink what’ll help motivate you, and keep you healthy, and find the right environment for you. All of these things are pivotal to writing productively and keeping yourself going during NaNoWriMo.
Rewarding yourself is so important. It’s all good and well to sit down and write every day, especially on those days when you don’t want to, but planning little rewards for yourself is equally as good. Perhaps you’ll reward yourself with that TV episode you’ve been saving, or you’ll buy a brand new notebook, or you’ll give yourself some chocolate.
But make sure the reward is used at a reasonable time. Don’t reward yourself because you sat down and opened a word document and then stop writing for three days while you reward yourself. Instead, reward yourself for hitting 1,000 words, or finishing a scene, or for reaching halfway through. Whatever the goal and reward are, just make sure they balance each other out.
5. Stay healthy
Life can be harsh and definitely unpredictable. If your mental or physical health take a hit, take a break from writing. It might hurt to give it up temporarily, but your wellbeing is more important than writing. Don’t stress yourself out unnecessarily to complete a daunting challenge like this, especially if you can’t find the time to do so. Your writing can wait.
Find what works for you and NaNoWriMo will be more enjoyable. Do what you can and have fun. This is an experience just as much as it is a challenge. And other last inspirational messages here. I’m sure you’ve got a few tucked away in your mind. Hold onto them. Encouragement can be helpful during NaNoWriMo.
What are you doing to prepare to NaNoWriMo?