October 7, 2013

Preparing for NaNoWriMo

    It is October and with November the first fast approaching it is time to begin preparing ourselves for NaNoWriMo.  This of course means something different for each person.  I have participated in NaNoWriMo for four years now and have even participated in some of the sessions they have run during the summer months.  Camp NaNoWriMo is great for anyone who is too busy in the month of November or for  those who want to take more than one crack at the challenge per year.  Of course, you can challenge yourself anytime you like.  However, there is much fun to be had with the widgets and the silliness and chatting, online or in-person, with other wrimos.  Today I would like to take some time to talk about how we can prepare for NaNoWriMo.

Sign up for NaNoWriMo

    The first step, most certainly, must be to go sign up for NaNoWriMo if you have not already.  Once you have signed up you can update your profile, put some info up about you novel if you have any yet, and find you regional forum.  It is free to sign up and there is a wealth of knowledge on the NaNoWriMo site.  The forums are another great source of support and information.  You can also see if your region is having any in person meetings or parties.  If you are interested in NaNoWriMo and haven't signed up yet, click here.

Writing Game Plan

    Are you going to research, plot, and plan ahead of time?  Or are you going to just start typing on the first and see what happens?  Here are some articles about planing and pantsing as they are called in the NaNoWriMo community.  The Great Debate: Are you a planner or a pantser? is a piece by Sarah Mackey that talks about the difference between the two methods.  Writing excuses did a pod cast about Pantsing.  Another great article to read is Grant Faulkner's Pantser? Planner? Percolator?.  How do you plan on going about your novel?
    In your game plan think about your month.  How many words do you need to write each day.  For many people in the United States of America Thanksgiving can be a very difficult time to write.  If there is a large event of family gathering that will keep you away form your writing perhaps you should plan to write extra before that time so you can stay on track.      There are several other things to think about in the process of creating your writing game plan.  When will you write?  What time of day do you write best?  What time of day will you have time to write?  These times do not always coincide, but that is no excuse to not write.  You would be surprised with how much you can write in a small space of time when you dedicate your mind to it.  What program or method will you use to write?  If you are not typing on a program, that you can copy and paste your novel to validate the word count, I have seen NaNoWriMo suggest using a random text generator to validate your novel.
    This all brings us to another question.  Where will you write?  

Writing Work Space 

    It is important to find at least one place that you know you can work at.  It is nice to have a desk with a computer, but not everyone has that.  There may also be times, even if you do have a desk or table to work from, that you might want to take your writing to another location.  Whatever or wherever counts as your primary work space, determine what it is ahead of time.  If you like to work in a clean space clean your desk or organize your traveling kit before November hits.  Jessi wrote about the distraction of Perfecting My Writing Workspace.  So, get your space perfected ahead of time.

Being Social During NaNoWriMo

    Another area to consider for NaNoWriMo is the social parts of your November.  Will you still see friends and family or will you turn into a recluse for a month?  Are there events you need or want to go to?  Are there things people expect of you during this month?  Don't try to only write when no one is looking.  Let people know what you are doing.  Let them know that you are participating in this great challenge.  Not only will they now be aware of why you may have forgotten to call them back for two days, but some of the people you tell are sure to ask you how it is going throughout the month.  It can be fabulous to have a friend who encourages you to write.  Or perhaps you will find out one of your friends already participates.  Or you could convince a friend to join the challenge.  Also remember that your NaNoWriMo region may have meeting, write-ins, or other events planned.  Do you want to attend any of those?  

Food and Supplies

    When it come to writing, as with any task, you need to fuel your body.  What can you do to make fueling yourself in November not cut too deeply into your writing time.  Maybe you'd like to use paper plates and plastic utensils so you don't have to wash so many dishes.  What meals can you prepare quickly or ahead of time.  Think about snacks.  Also think about your health.  Ramen might be quick and easy, but it isn't very nutritious.   
    Think about the items you may need to buy and if you can buy them ahead of time.  Toilet paper, paper plates, cleaning supplies.  Are there foods you can stock up on that won't expire during the month?  Maybe you could even write a list of regular items you plan to buy each week.  Then you can just add the extras on to for each trip.    

    There are a number of ways to prepare for NaNoWriMo or any writing challenge.  It is going to be different for each person.  Make your plan and write on.  

    So are you going to participate in NaNoWriMo?  What are your plans for success?  Do you have any suggestions?  

    Due to the chaos and exhaustion of volunteering for Realms con I will be posting my response to last weeks writing exercise next Monday along side the next writing exercise.  


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