Tuesday, October 25, 2016

NaNo Survival Guide: Preparation Week

This is the first post in a series that will start now and continue through November for National Novel Writing Month. I'll also be offering updates on my own writing. Happy NaNo prepping! If it's not for you, I hope you get a chuckle out of these posts anyways. If you're still on the fence about NaNo, make sure you check out this post. 

It's still October, but NaNo is coming quickly.

In fact, November will be here in just one week! To have a successful NaNo, I highly recommend preparing yourself for it. If you're a plotter, I would highly recommend the Snowflake Method. If you're diligent this week, you can probably whip out the better part of the plotting necessary.

Even if you're not a plotter, I've still prepared a list of things for you that can make writing those 1,667 words a day easier. After all, even though writers are superheroes, we still have to eat and do other responsible things.

Ready? Here we go!

  • Food:
    • If you have to be an adult and cook your own meals, Crock Pot meals are your friends. I would recommend hopping over to the NaNo website and checking out this thread.  
    • Stock up on granola bars, clif bars, trail mix, and other poppable, non-messy snack items. Keyboards and gooey foods don't mix. 
    • Is your caffeine stock adequate? In spite of how much we all try to not stay up late in November, inevitably, we all get behind and have to pull a late night or two to make word count. My favorite caffeine sources include coffee, Chai tea, Earl/Lady Grey, green tea (good for the immune system, too), and Awake chocolate bars. 
  • Planning Writing Time:
    • November is really one of the least convenient times for NaNo. There's Thanksgiving, Christmas shopping to do, exams, final papers, and gobs of other obligations. You can't get out of all of them (nor should you try). Nevertheless, try to plan out your word count goals so that you can work in time for family or other commitments. I personally make a weekly goal word count that puts me ahead for Thanksgiving and accounts for exam studying.
    • If you can, make a daily schedule of when you plan to write. I know that, if I have a novel well-planned, I can type out my 1,667 words in about 30-50 minutes so long as I'm not proof-reading as I go. Thus, I need to find about one hour a day to write on weekdays. I like to make a spreadsheet schedule and block off writing times. Even if they're only 15 minutes apiece, I can easily accomplish my goals without feeling swamped. 
    • Plan out where you want to write. I love the library. It's quiet, has tons of information, plenty of comfy chairs, and easy access to caffeine if I need a break.
    • Invest in a Facebook blocker. My favorite is Freedom. It's free and lets you choose one or two sites to block. You even get to choose how long it blocks the site. You can still log out of the blocker and use the site if you need to (I use Facebook for a lot of group messaging), but it's enough of a pain to do so that you don't want to do it all the time.  
    • I also plan in a day or two for re-evaluating my plot. It's helpful for when you need to re-charge your writing batteries. These are often good for days when you have other commitments and may not have much writing time. 

    • Encouragement:
      • Week three is the pits. If you're anything like me, all the prepping has hit the fan at that point and you're left wondering why you ever though this was a good idea. I have a jar of pep talks that I keep on my desk for such times. It may or may not have multiple quotes from The Lord of the Rings in it.
      • Set up writing times with friends now, before you get swamped. All day word war? Now's a good time to plan that. Katie Grace is the queen of these and puts me to shame. 
      • Find what threads you want to follow on the NaNo site and have them ready to access. As I said, I like 15 minute chunks, so I like to follow the 15 minute word-war thread.
    I hope you enjoyed this. Is there anything you would add to this list? 


    1. Thank you so much for these tips! I especially like your pep talk jar with LOTR quotes :) I'm getting really nervous now, so I'll have to use your tips :)

      1. I'm totally behind on planning because the last few weeks have been really hectic, so I'm right there with you on the nervousness! I'm glad you found it useful. Thanks for the comment!


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