Prepping for NaNoWriMo?

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.

The 2012 NaNo tee. I get one every year that I participate. It helps raise funds for them, and it’s my reward for writing 50k words.

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.


10 thoughts on “Prepping for NaNoWriMo?

  1. Zen says:

    I’m pretty excited about NaNo! I failed last year due to work, so I want to make up for that. =D I already have my plot (or the gist of it, for I am a pantser) ready to go.

    My name there is “starrynightblue”.

  2. Tracey says:

    Woo hoo! My first buddy of 2012. I guess that means I’m doing it. Hmm. I should come up with an idea then…
    (Don’t say “fail” it’s so harsh! say, “still in progress.”

  3. Michelle Reynoso (@MichelleReynoso) says:

    Tracey- I’m planning on participating again this year and would love to buddy-up. You can find me as “michcarl”. I’m taking the next four weeks to ramp up to the writing schedule I’ll need to complete NaNoWriMo, which means completing revisions, and drafting character sketches and a rough outline of the story I’ll be working on.

  4. jennigreenmiller says:

    The kids need to eat… that’s always bothered me – Momma’s writing! November will also be “cold cereal” month. Seriously though, NanoWriMo has ALWAYS stressed me out! Love the advice you’ve offered. I have a question; in the years you’ve participated, have you done anything with the finished product? Found something in it, perhaps? Or did it ever feel like a waste of time?

  5. Tracey says:

    The first time I did it, in 2009, I thought it was a total waste. I had no idea what I was doing, and I pantsted it. So the next year, in 2010, I prepped. I drafted a sequel to something I was working on. However, since I did an extensive revision on the first story, the sequel no longer works. I am considering redoing that sequel for this NaNo because the original story is now complete and out on submission.

  6. emily wheeler says:

    Ooh, NaNo? I’m thinking about it. I did it last November and the November before and won both times (and then failed dismally at Camp NaNo), but this year I’m not sure that I have 50K left in me, for this story at least. And I don’t want to start a new one till this one is finished, or at least the first draft is. Maybe I’ll see if I can get my draft done during October, then use NaNo for something brand new. *puts thinking cap on*

    Meanwhile, this is your official notificiation that you’ve been nominated for the Creative Writing Blogging Award! Full details can be seen here: Congratulations! 🙂

  7. Tracey says:

    Thanks for the nomination, Emily! I’m honored that you thought of me. I’m also thrilled that you may be doing NaNo as well, but I am a little worried that so many people are using the “f” word–fail–about manuscripts they haven’t finished. I’ve heard it over and over today. There’s a big difference between having something that’s still “in progress” and something that has “failed.”

  8. TarinCrewk says:

    I’m doing nanowrimo this year again. I’m a pantser myself. I going to go for 75,000 this year since I usually get about 65,000 on average when I complete everything. Last year I fell on my face for word count.

  9. Tracey says:

    Those numbers are impressive. I struggle to make it to 50k every year I do it. I really admire pantsers. It’s a real leap of faith.

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