NaNo Prep

So who’s doing NaNoWriMo?

I’m so excited to start my newest WIP and I have been hustling to get everything ready for November 1st. I’ve done NaNoWriMo three times — I’ve won twice and lost miserably once. I also won Camp NaNo this spring which I spent editing. I have won both pantsing and planning, but I’ve also only won while unemployed or employed part-time. Thanks to editing a NaNo novel for the past year that I had thought was fairly well planned, I can see from the back-end how much was still missing from my prep.

This year I’m doing it differently… again.

This year, I found excellent resources over at shesnovel.com to help me tease my plot bunny out into an actual workable idea. I looked at Eva Deverell’s one-page novel plot formula and compared it to my plot structure (hero’s journey) and may still incorporate that into my outlining. But the real epiphany for me occurred when I found Rachel Stephen (rachelstephen.com) and her videos that recommend you start everything from your characters and their motives. Something clicked, and I’ve been using her method ever since. With a heavy emphasis on brainstorming, I know that this will work with how I write. See, some people have a tendency to write too much and have to cut later. I, however, have a tendency to short my novels, and then resist the urge to pad them with nonsense later when my word count is barely out of novella range. Not that novellas are bad, but word count is a consideration when you hope to publish. But I digress.

Anywho, not only does she have freakin’ awesome videos that explain the meaning of life, Rachael is also hosting preptober activities on Twitter @Prep_tober. I realize this month is almost over but you really should check it out and join in on the fun.

Okay, so what about calendars? I’ve used word count spreads and calendars in the past and they turn out to be a discourager for me especially when I get behind. I printed one off that kind of helps you calculate visually what you’ve done and how you may need to adjust your writing schedule to meet your goal. We’ll see if that helps or hurts this year. 

Don’t forget about the forums on the NaNo site. It’s a great resource for every little question that may be running through your brain as you prep. You can even search for accountability partners which leads me to…

Accountability Partners! I had one during the editing process, and she really helped me. We communicated through the mywriteclub.com site and were able to update word count goals right on the site and cheer each other on. It’s a nice thing to have someone in your corner who “gets” it.

And finally, a note about scheduling … You can never be too prepared and you have to be realistic going into NaNo. Some of the things I’ve considered this month include:

  • the fact that my son’s birthday and Christmas are in December. I’ve already begun shopping so I don’t have a time crunch when I come up for air after the month of November
  • calendaring events in November so you can build up your word count on other days when you have less going on. Thanksgiving is a biggie. It always seems like you have oodles of time because you’re on holiday, but it never quite works out that way.
  • I analyzed my word count trajectory from previous years to see at what point in the month I tend to fall down. One year it was the end of week one. Another it was middle of week two. And yet another was somewhere in weeks three. So, although my analysis didn’t give me a whole lot to go on, I’ll be building rewards into my calendar on a weekly basis so that I don’t get caught in a slump again. And preparing for rewarding yourself is FUN!

(Reward spread – under each milestone sticky is a reward for myself, populated from my Amazon wishlist and already ordered so they can haunt me into meeting my goals)

  • I am also taking the time to time myself. How many words can I write in an hour? This will help me schedule my time. And I’m timing both handwriting and typing because I haven’t decided which I’m doing this year yet.

I hope your October has been fruitful and that you are as excited about your current project as I am about mine. Until next time!

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