InWriting

How to Prep for NaNoWriMo 2018

So after attempting Camp NaNoWriMo back in April 2014, and again this year, and failing miserably. This time, I am going to make a great action plan and I am going to kick NaNoWriMo’s butt. If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, this is how Google describes it:

National Novel Writing Month, is an annual, Internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November. Participants attempt to write a 50,000 word manuscript between November 1 and November 30.

50,000 words in 30 days. Seems doable right!? Hahaha. Writing this big amount of words in such a short amount of time, calls for a plan. And that’s actually what I have been making the past couple of days. And I’m sharing it with you today. Of course, without the details of the plot.

FYI: The story I am writing for this year’s NaNoWriMo is actually a re-write. I have written the story back in 2012, 66.345 words to be exact. I still do very much like the main plot, but it is a horrible story with plot holes. And also, it was written as a One Direction fan fiction. I wrote the whole story on the fly, no plan, no outline, nothing whatsoever. This time around, I am going to outline, I am going to write the character’s backgrounds in detail. I am going to exhaust everything out this story to make it a full-fleshed out novel. Of course, in the hopes to publish it someday. Maybe I will just post it on Wattpad, or maybe I will send the manuscript to a publishing house. We will see. Let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

I am writing this blogpost as I go through the process of preparation, to make this blogpost a good tool for anyone that’s also thinking about joining NaNoWriMo but does not know where to start. I am not including the part of coming up with an idea for a novel, or non-fiction, novella, or short story. As this is a given and you can’t force yourself to come up with an idea. If you don’t have an idea in mind for NaNoWriMo 2018, join Camp NaNoWriMo in April or July 2019.

Create project on website and create a book cover.

To officially join NaNoWriMo, you can sign up on the organisation’s website. Create an account if you don’t already have one and then create your project. It asks for your novel title, genre, cover, short synopsis and then novel excerpt. I always leave the last one blank, don’t really know why. For the cover, I use Canva as they already have a template for book covers and it’s easy to use. Try to match the cover with your plot. But keep in mind, that it’s not final. You can always change it, which I definitely kept in mind when making mine. It’s nowhere near perfect and pretty generic. But I just wanted to have cover on my project’s page on the NaNoWriMo-website.

Create writing playlist

Creating a playlist solely for writing could really boost your productivity, as you get in the habit of writing while listening to these certain songs. I put a mix of movie soundtrack music (mostly instrumental) and just songs that I know I listened to when I wrote the story back in 2012. Also, some songs that I think will get me into the mood of the story, aka songs that could give me inspiration for a certain subplot or whatever.

Set goal and daily targets

It’s important to set goals and especially some realistic daily goals. On average, you should write 1,667 words each day to get 50K at the end of the month. But life happens and if you know that on some days you can’t write that much, try to plan higher word counts for other days to make up for those busy days. For example, I know that I will be staying with my sister the first 4-5 days of November and I probably won’t do much as my sister still needs to go to uni, etc. I know that I will be able to get a head start during those first few days, so that later in the month, I won’t have to worry about long days at work and what not.

I printed a calendar for the month of November, used Pacemaker.press to make a plan and then wrote the planned word counts in pencil in the designated places.

Prep writing apps

This really depends on what application you are using to write. I am going to use Scrivener. I am currently on my free trial for the new version, but I do have the licensed old version, probably will have to do with that. For the prep, I organised the chapters in their designated blocks and acts. (I will talk about my outlining method later this week).

Put together a survival kit

This could literally be anything. I will use my IKEA Raskog-cart to hold anything and everything that I will need to complete NaNoWriMo. This includes:

  • writer’s notebook
  • notebook for the novel I’m writing
  • a pot with pens, pencils and highlighters
  • some snacks
  • water bottle
  • my laptop
  • scrap paper
  • headphones
  • my favourite novels (for motivation)
  • and probably some more stuff

Bookmark useful websites / articles for reference

If you use any websites or blog articles frequently for reference, either tips for writing, or just things that are related to your story. It can be anything, but it really helps to bookmark those things. If you use the Google Chrome browser, add them to your bookmarks bar, it saves a lot of time. Time that is not a luxury during NaNoWriMo.

Work ahead

And then I don’t mean, write ahead. I mean, if you’re a student, work ahead on your school work as much as possible. This way you have more time left for writing. If you have to go to work and you sometimes have the tendency to finish work at home, make sure that you don’t have to do that this month. Prepare certain tasks in October to make sure that November will be a lot easier. This really depends on what type of work you do, but there will probably be something that can already be taken care of, to save time in November. If you work from home, same thing. Do the things that can already be done in October, and only leave the things that can only be done in November. Spend your time wisely. Both in October and in November.

Good luck!!!

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1 Comment

  • NaNoWriMo 2018?

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    November 1, 2018 at 1:08 pm Reply
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