National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming up this November. You could just dive in on November 1st and hope for the best. Or, you could be strategic and plan for a successful outcome!
I’m a huge planner. I participated in Camp NaNo last April and learned some valuable lessons on how to be successful with this challenge. I’m taking these lessons with me this November and sharing them with you. It’s time to take the month of October to get yourself ready to succeed in NaNoWriMo!
1. Get Plotting Out Of The Way
If you’re a plotter, you want to ensure that when November 1st comes, you have completed all the planning you need. The last thing you want to do is spend your time planning when you could be writing. Planning is important to your novel and can even help you stay on track as you write.
Do what works for you. Get an outline together. Create checkpoints for your story. Develop character assessments. By getting your mind wrapped around the major pieces of your story, all you’ll need to do is put it all together! Logging words will be much easier when you have this completed.
2. Get Organized
Figure out where you’ll be writing your novel. Is it at a desk? In your bedroom? Prepare the space to make it optimal for writing. Clean it up. Get rid of any clutter that will distract you. If you have notes or anything lying around that don’t pertain to your work in progress, put it away. You want your space to speak to what you’re writing. You don’t want your mind to become clouded by books you’re ready, working that has to be done, or other novel ideas you’ve come up with.
You’ll also want to ensure you have everything you need to write ready to go. If you have a notebook that you’ve kept notes in about your work in progress, have it handy. Have notes on your laptop? Get them organized so you can easily find what you need. I know there are lots of writers who use celebrities or the like as inspiration for their characters. Print out pictures or clippings from magazines to keep at your desk. Or create a folder with these images so you can quickly pull them up while writing.
The key here is to have a quick step to complete before writing that doesn’t take a lot of time to gather up. You want to try to spend more of your time writing than prepping to write. Getting all of this taken care of beforehand ensures you can get to writing much sooner.
3. Create A Schedule
Having a schedule for your writing helps you set attainable goals each and every day. It’s so important to take a look at your month so you can better prepare for when you have time to write. There are lots of things that could get in the way of your writing: work projects, appointments, parties, etc. Think about this: Thanksgiving happens in November. Will you be away for the holiday? Will it be difficult to find time to write? These are things you definitely want to take into account when planning out your schedule.
It could be easy to just assign 12,500 words per week and say you’ve made a goal. But, is it something that’s really achievable for you? Only you know what your schedule looks like, so really evaluate it and figure out which days you can write.
Here are a few tips on what to consider when making your schedule:
- Days off. Don’t schedule writing to be done each and every day. You will definitely need to take some breaks! Schedule at least one to two days off from writing.
- Makeup days. Schedule one day per week (or twice a month) where your goal is to play catch up. It is very likely that you will need this time! Instead of feeling behind on your goals and continuing to fall behind, you’ll have a day where you can play catch up and get yourself back on track. If you’re already caught up, you can use these days as a bonus to help you reach your goals even quicker!
- Over goal in the beginning. Bulk up your word goals at the beginning of the month. This is a great way to keep you on track to finishing early or in the event that something happens that makes you fall behind. In any case, you might want to bulk up anyway to compensate for the Thanksgiving holiday.
4. Utilize Your Community
The writing community is a supportive bunch! We all want each other to succeed just as much as we want ourselves to. Take the time during October to make some connections and get involved in other groups. I highly recommend finding a Facebook group to join. If you need advice or just need some motivation, we’re here for you!
Another great way to get involved and to help with your writing is to see when things like word sprints are happening. Word sprints are an excellent way to get those words out while having your community right there. Host word sprints or find someone that’s hosting them to get that extra bit of support you need to log those words! Now is the time to make those connections on Instagram or Twitter with other authors participating. Search the hashtag #NaNoWriMo to find others who are taking on this goal in November!
You Got This!
Have faith and confidence in yourself to take on this goal. You’re taking a huge step in getting that novel written and that’s a big deal. Don’t become discouraged if you fall behind, push through and see how much you can do. You’ll end up being so proud of yourself whether you reach 50,000 words or only get to 25,000.
I want to help you out so I’m offering something special for anyone who wants to take advantage. If you need assistance in creating a schedule and staying accountable during NaNoWriMo, I want to help! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about this service!