In one month, NaNoWriMo begins. That’s National Novel Writing Month, brought to you by the kooky folks at the Office of Letters and Light. I’ve been doing NaNo since 2009, and only skipped last year because I was still recovering from chemo. This year, I’m not sure I’m going to do it because I have no idea what I would even write about. Of course, that shouldn’t daunt a true NaNo-er, but it kind of should. NaNo is fun, but for me, it’s never a throw-away. I need to get something out of it, even if it’s the worst draft ever. And that brings me to the things I (or you, if you’re going to try it) need to do to prep for the November 1st start date.
1. What’s your idea? Do you have something nagging in the back of your mind begging to be written? Is there something you’ve always wanted to research? Is there a crazy story that you’d never in a million years waste your time writing? That’s what you’re going to work on in November.
2. Outline or Pants? I’ve done both. I’ve worked out outlines and failed, I’ve written by the seat of my pants and failed. I’ve also succeeded doing both. So it’s up to you. I say this: if you have a good idea of what you want to do, start jotting things down now. Maybe it will turn into an outline. Maybe it will turn into a character sketch. Maybe it will turn into a really awesome doodle. Does it matter? No. This is NaNo. Nobody is watching.
3. Carve out some time. If you’re going to write 50,000 words in 30 days, this is a no brainer. It takes a lot of dedication. The children will want to eat. You need to prep some easy to un-freeze meals. Work needs to get done. Catch up on things now. People will ask you to make a dish for Thanksgiving. Practice saying, “no.”
4. Prep some “you” time. Because it’s taxing, and somewhere around the middle you feel like everything you write is a turd, you need to schedule some fun time, particularly around weeks 2 and 3, just to get you past the doldrums. Try something totally new that might help you get inspired.
That’s it. If you’re doing NaNo, let me know and we can be buddies! It always helps to have friends who are in it with you. That always keeps me going.