By Eliza David
October is here – Halloween, Indigenous People Day, and pumpkin spice everything happens during this month. What rings most important to writers everywhere is one word: NaNoPrep!
This month is the time to gear up for NaNoWriMo, which can be both refreshing and excruciating! All writers know about the stressfest NaNo in November tends to be. Crossing the 50K word finish line is enough to send even the most seasoned scribe running for the hills. I won my first NaNo in 2014. It launched my indie romance writing career with the release of my debut novel, The Cougarette. In subsequent years, I’ve come to learn that what you do in October can make your November a little easier.
Here are my tips on laying down the groundwork to make your NaNo experience a thing of beauty:
Become BFFs with your MC
Even if you don’t have a plot mapped out in your head yet, NaNoPrep is the perfect 31-day period to get to know the person in the center of your story. One of my favorite ways to get to know my main character is by completing The Proust Questionnaire. Answers to these unique questions tend to spark ideas for the novel – an added bonus!
Block Your Beats
When I’m not noveling, I’m learning as much as I can about screenwriting. One of the cornerstones of script worldbuilding is capturing the beats (or your story’s key scenes). If the idea of a formal outline sends a tiny tremor of fear through your body, try a simpler beat method. Save The Cat, a phenomenal book about the art of screenwriting, has developed a similar beat method for novel writing. You may find that beating out your story now will make for a smoother writing experience in November.
Update Your NaNo Page
Come October 1st of every year, the NaNoWriMo site is scrubbed and the words ‘Announce your novel!’ are boasted on the homepage. Take heed to that calling and get to boasting about your soon-to-be written masterpiece. No worries if you don’t have a title – I find that simply using the space is a great motivator for what’s to come in November. Bonus Tip: announce your participation to your family and friends (both on and offline) by using the cool NaNo swag you can download from the site!
Get Away Before You Get Obsessed
Have a book you’ve been dying to read? Want to go on a daytrip with your significant other for a relaxing weekend? Do it now! As a mother of two, I liken NaNoPrep time to the second trimester of pregnancy. Go out and have all of the fun before the baby (or, in this case, the noveling) arrives. Remember to take time away from your prep to have fun. Once November arrives, your world will become that of your characters. Commit to some you-time before you dedicate all of your time to writing.
Find Your Tribe
I’ve given this tip before in a previous post about career advice, and it applies in the world of writing as well. Make no bones about it – being tasked to write a minimum of 1,667 words a day will need at least one accountability buddy. Find out who among your writer buddies is NaNoing this year and make a literary pact to get the words. Check out the NaNoWriMo site to find participants in your area. Don’t face NaNo hell alone!
For more NaNo encouragement or some funny stories about my trials and tribs in NaNoWorld, you can visit me. November will be here sooner than we know. Try a few of these tips out to make sure you’re ready!
Eliza is part of the Contributing Writer Network at Thirty on Tap. To apply to become a Contributing Writer, please click here.
Featured image via Unsplash