Are you Ready for NaNo?

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22 days and counting…

Is it too soon to begin plotting out your novel for November’s Novel Writing Month? Hell no!

Here are some tips to help you prepare for what may be the craziest, heart-pounding, gut-wrenching, pride filling month of your writing life:

So, NaNoWriMo, huh?  I loved it.  Why? Forced me to write everyday and write big chunks at a time. Used methods of writing I hadn’t used before, such as flashbacks, dream sequences, story-within-story and lots of scenery/setting.  I started with almost no preparation, which I strongly advise against. It’s much more difficult to write 1500 words a day when you have no idea what your story is about.  I used a novel outlining software which really helped along the way.
It was also FRUSTRATING: the highs and lows of writing like a madwoman and not being able to stop and revise along the way. I’m a perfectionist, so this was my cross to bear. SATISFACTION: Being able to say I wrote a novel, though I really just say I participated in NaNo (it doesn’t “feel” like a novel at its feeble state of a rough draft.) But having that satisfaction of completing something so challenging and knowing writers across the globe were doing it too, was amazing. I’ll definitely be at the starting line on Nov. 1 – what about you?

Things to consider: Browse around the NaNo site for chat rooms, discussions, and lots of tips. You can also find a local municipal liaison, who sets up regular meetings and “write-ins” throughout November for extra encouragement.

TELL EVERYONE you are doing this. Why? So they don’t bug you when you’re tapping away at the keyboard at 1am, or gulping down vast amounts of coffee. And, they can be your support system – a sounding board when you announce your growing word count.

PLAN. Plan your plot, plan your characters, most importantly: plan your daily routine: change deadlines if necessary or finish up early; don’t over commit in November; plan dinners (make and freeze or wing it, but don’t plan to cook 3-course meals every night – it’s not gonna happen.)

GO WITH THE FLOW: Go into it knowing you’ll be writing lots of crap, it’s the quantity of words you write that is the spirit of NaNo: sitting down to write a novel from start to finish. They say “December is for Revising!”

So, are you Ready? Share your tips with us! (and request me as your writing buddy once you do sign up!)


Filed under Believe, contests, Fiction, Novels

14 responses to “Are you Ready for NaNo?

  1. Ooh, I’m so tempted to do it…I just don’t want to spread myself too thin. I guess I have to make the decision soon, though!

    If you don’t mind me asking, what type of software did you use? And would you recommend it? Thanks in advance!

    And good luck on your next novel!!!

    • Sarah: I used the trial (free) version of – loved it! Character questionairres, plot mapping, chapter layouts, etc. However, I just paid for a lifetime membership and now cannot log back in. I’m disputing the charges thru Paypal, hopefully storyright will correct the error – or I’ll be getting a refund and looking for a similar program…
      Hope you join the mayhem!

      • Thanks for the info! Another question for you: what do you do to prepare for NaNo? I’m just wondering how much leg work I would need/want to do beforehand so that I would be prepared if I do it. Thanks!

      • I’d say have a story in mind. Character(s), their mission (or goal); their challenge to reach that goal, basic plot, an idea of where the story where go (plot arc) and end (climax). Best bet, sign up on NaNo (free) and tour their numerous links and forums. Google NaNo and you ‘ll find many others that have shared their experience and preparation. Oh! And on the NaNo site, try to find a local municipal, which would be a group of fellow NaNo’ers living nearby you that meet before, during and after November to act as a very helpful support group. Good luck! Look me up when you get there : )

      • Hello and let me just apologize again for the inconvenience. Please let me know if you have any further issues. I’ve fixed the problem the email forwarding for the support address, so I should be much more responsive to emails in the future.

        Good luck with Nanowrimo!

  2. I’ve been thinking about doing this…but I’m afraid I’d be biting off more than I can chew. 1500 words a day, huh? I’m a bit of a perfectionist too so I think this could be a good experience for me to just write, write, write and leave the revising until later. I love the idea of having a “writing buddy”. I’ve been wanting to find a group for a while now to help me get my rear in gear.

    But I don’t know. You think this is feasible for a sleep deprived mom who has a three and five year old?

    • Kelli: I’m with ya! Total control freak and perfectionist. It was rough, I’ll be honest (about the writing through without revising/correcting)But oh so freeing! About your time and young ones: there will never be a perfect time to start – so why not now?? 🙂

  3. Mary Jo, I get so jumpy thinking about it! I SO MUCH want to do it this year (last year we were in the middle of moving from British Columbia to Washington, D.C. in November so I couldn’t). But I can’t decide if I should try to do it this year? What do you think? If I attempt it, then I may not have any time to work on TMM. I get anywhere between 1-5 hours a day to work. Is that enough time for this novel writing challenge?

    • Kimberly, all you can do is try. Even if you set your word count goal at 30,000 – you’ll have accomplished something you didn’t think you could, which is winning in my book!
      I took out my calendar last year and blocked off days I knew I would not write and then divided the rest by 50,000 to determine how much I needed to reach on my writing days. Getting up earlier or staying up late, having your husband on “baby duty” for a set amount of time a few nights a week (or weekend.)
      You can also do timed “word wars” on the NaNo site: set your timer for say 20 minutes and see how many words you can write. Then beat your personal best next time.
      You have a few weeks to outline and get things ready…

  4. Oh, I’m getting nervous the closer it gets! I wrote out “30 plot points” and that helped. I feel like I could do one point/chapter a day now. I haven’t done the character sketches yet. And, I haven’t frozen any dinners yet! Oh, I have a ways to go! Will you be my buddy?!

    • : ) Ha-ha! Kristine, relax. You’ve done more than I have. You’ll be surprised how the momentum builds and grows once Nov 1 comes. Did you sign up on their site? You will receive encouragement via email every week – sometimes several times a week. You’ll see your word count chart grow as you enter in your new word count. You’ll get competitive as you see the word count growing for your buddies, too! Sign up and look me up! I’ll see you on the Novel side…

  5. I’ll be “there” — wherever there is, I’m at it. With laptop, coffee, inspiration.

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