Who else is excited for Preptober? Hands up if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this year! I was totally bitten by the bug last year and I am so psyched for this November. Even though I write every day, every month, all year long, it’s great to have one month a year where you kick it up a notch and take on this epic adventure alongside thousands of other writers.
As we prepare for this adventure, it might be a good idea to think about the things we need to take with us. Your characters wouldn’t enter the mysterious cavern without a torch to battle the dragon without a sword, would they? Just as you shouldn’t walk into this adventure unprepared and unarmed.
If you’re not already following @Preptober on Twitter, go do that! Rachael Stephen is awesome so reward yourself by also subscribing to her YouTube channel. In addition, that advise you keep getting about having your story and characters ready and planned out before November? That is good advise and you should follow it. Outline, do character profiles, map out your world, watch a shit-ton of NaNoPrep videos on YouTube, write more notes than you possibly know what to do with.
Here is how I am preparing for NaNoWriMo 2017 – and how you can, too.
I cheated a little with this one because I’ve been outlining this novel for about three months and should hopefully finish it this weekend. Since my book for NaNoWriMo is the first of a trilogy, I also want to have a rough outline of the entire series written down before November to use as a guideline and reference if needed.
There are so many outlining methods out there and I know it can be confusing to figure out exactly how you should do it. Rachel Stephens uses a plot embryo method which I find intriguing and I will try it out for my trilogy outline. There is also Jenna Moreci’s very informative videos on her outlining system. Both of these are worth a look because with all these options it’s useful to see what other people do in order to figure out what will and will not work for you.
My personal method involves note cards and cork-boards – pretty much backwards of the way Jenna Moreci does it. I dump all of my thoughts and ideas in a word document, organize them, flesh them out, and then after a lot of refining I transfer it to my cork-boards. This was really easy for my NaNoWriMo 2017 novel because that story is about a journey, so I outlined what will happen every single day of their journey – even if I won’t be writing all of it in detail. I am also going to do a rough chapter outline before NaNoWriMo.
It’s never too early to jump into the NaNo community, and it is one of the best parts of the whole endeavor. Follow NaNoWriMo on Twitter, YouTube and wherever else you hang out. If you haven’t participated in any of their virtual write-ins during camps etc. I seriously recommend it. I think there is going to be another NaNoPrep webcast one on the 20th and a write-in on the 31st, so write that down in your calendar!
I love writing when other people are doing it, too. It’s why I go to my Writer’s Group every Saturday and sit at a table with a bunch of other people, all typing away at our computers. We don’t talk, we just work. Knowing someone else is getting things done makes you want to do the same, which is why the virtual write-ins are so great. Some people are sitting on your screen typing away, and you know all the other viewers are, too. It’s motivating! You want to join in!
There is also some action already on the NaNoWriMo forums. There is a lot of good stuff and interesting people, and even if like me you’re not good at participating in forums it can still be useful to look through them. There are all these other writers out there facing the same problems as you. That’s what the community is all about.
Goals and Rewards
Something I didn’t do last year but am trying this year is to set myself specific rewards for certain milestones during NaNoWriMo. Last year I simply wrote down when I reached 10K, 20K and so on on pretty little note cards and hung them on my wall. This year I’m thinking of going a little further.
I’m starting early; if I complete all my NaNoPrep stuff by the 29th October, I get to go see Thor: Ragnarok in the cinema. One of my goals in November is also going to be Justice League. I love going to the cinema and usually don’t allow it for financial reasons, so for NaNoWriMo I am going to treat myself to it.
There are all sorts of ways you can reward yourself for big and small milestones. How about if you update your word count every day the first week of NaNoWriMo, you treat yourself to a nice dinner at your favorite restaurant? Or spend Sunday morning wandering through your favorite museum exhibit and gathering inspiration?
I haven’t settled on all of my rewards just yet, but considering the fact that I will also be moving into a new apartment in November, a lot of my smaller rewards are probably going to include things like organizing my bookshelves and DVD collection – yes, these are things I enjoy and get pleasure from. I love organizing things, okay?
So those are the main things I’m doing to prep for November. Also re-doing all my character profiles, trying to fix some plot-holes and fleshing out the sub-plots, but those things go hand in hand with outlining and therefore don’t get their own sections.
It has been a rough and dark week and getting my 1000 words every day has been like pulling teeth with rusty pliers. I still have a lot left of draft two of my WIP which I want to get done before putting it aside in November, and if this dark mood persists that might become a problem. I am determined to at least not stop writing a minimum of 1000 words a day, no matter how hard it is and no matter how shitty they are. Hey, who said this was easy?
I wish everyone the best of luck with their NaNoWriMo prepping, or anything else you are working on with passion and enthusiasm even when it feels impossible.
Happy writing, happy productivity, and happy Saturday.