There’s one last step for my brief series on preparing for NaNoWriMo, which starts tomorrow—Whoohoo *throw the confetti, sound the horns, the party is about to begin!*
#3 – Clean Up, Stock Up, and Feet Up
First things first, clean your house/apartment/tent/camper van, wherever it is you will be living, working, and writing for the next month. NaNo is a busy time, and you may not really have time to clean over the next 30 days (though, if you’re like me, you’ll use cleaning a finely-honed method of procrastination). But, if you clean now, there is less to clean later, and hence, less excuse to put off writing those 1, 667 words a day.
Once everything is clean, do a run to the grocery store. Shopping is another one of those things that can get in the way during November, so it get it done now while you still can. Pick items that will last a whole month but also provide some nutrition (like frozen burritos-my fav). Then, as it is Halloween, get some candy for daily rewards and instant energy rushes which may or may not carry you through your daily goal. Feel free to obtain said candy by robbing kids/cousins/friends/sisters/brothers/partners candy stash. No one really needs all that candy anyway.
And then, once your space is sparkling and your cupboards stocked, sit back and put your feet up for a few hours. Watch a movie or a show or just enjoy not being busy. This may be your last chance to sit still for the next 30 days.
So I was supposed to post about how to prepare for NaNoWriMo a couple days ago, which leads me to step #2: DO NOT GET SICK! Okay, you can’t help this. I couldn’t help this. But I’ve spent the past couple days curled up in bed feeling close to death (why does being sick always feel like that?), and getting pretty much nothing done in regards to the approach of November 1st EXCEPT, that I’ve actually been able to do a lot of thinking. So really, maybe step #2 should be THINK. Play around with your story in your mind. Whatever you write prior to November 1st doesn’t count towards the end goal of 50,000 words, but it does help sort out where you what your stories to go, and where you want your characters to go.
Personally, I believe that whatever story you tell, character is the most important part. No one will care about flying dragons, dark cafes, or restaurants with blue tables unless you have a character your readers can relate to and want to hang out with with. More importantly, that YOU want to hang out with. I mean, you’re going to be spending the next 30 days with this person/animal/thing. Whatever your character, make sure it’s a good one. Get to know him/her/it. Ask your character questions. What do they eat? Where do they sleep? HOW do they sleep?
What songs do they sing in the shower (or do they want to shoot all people who sing in the shower)?
How do they feel about Christmas?
What is their best memory of Halloween ever?
How does your character react when they smell vomit?
If your character suddenly inherited a private island or a small kingdom, what kind of ruler would they be?
Who does your character call when sick?
How does your character feel about Trump?
How does character feel history?
If you were sit down and have lunch with your character, what would be the first thing they want to talk to you about?
What kind of blankets does your character sleep with? Hard mattress or soft?
Take the time to get to know the one you’ll be spending time with for the next month. You won’t regret it. The more questions you ask your character prior to writing your story means the more enriching details you will have to carry the plot.
Today was finally the day. I made my way over to the National Novel Writing Month website, NaNoWriMo.org and signed up for another year of novel writing insanity. I’ve been doing NaNo for a long time now, because I find it to be a great motivational tool for sitting down and getting my stories on paper. This week, I’m finally sitting down to start preparing for the month-long marathon which begins on November 1st. Some years I have more time to prepare than others, and this year I have about a week.
So the first thing I did after signing up on the website was find a notebook.
I primarily write on my laptop, but I still use a pretty notebook for things like character development, notes, maps, side stories, history, flowcharts, etc. All that stuff that doesn’t easily translate into MicroSoft Word of Pages. Plus, pretty notebooks are another form of motivation for me. After notebook selection, I brainstorm a novel title, hopefully one I won’t change, because I write it in big, colourful letters on the first page of my book.
And now I’m on my way.
Tomorrow I’ll be posting a bit about character brainstorming, so be sure to check in.
In my previous post, I described my September New Year goal of writing 365,000 words in a year (or 4-6 books). I’m going to accomplish this goal by writing 1,000 words of fiction a day (no, these blog posts do not count), which will take me approximately 30 minutes a day (excepting those days which I struggle and must wrestle with the mud covered monster called Writer’s Block). As I’m sure I will have some days where writing 1,000 words will feel impossible, I will need days when I can pound out 5K or even 10K (the 10K is likely to be saved for vacation or my favourite month, NaNoWriMo (also known as November)).
So, on those days when you really need to write 10K words—or for the entire month of NaNoWriMo—here are some tips to fuel my creativity, increase my word count, and Write Like A Caffeine Fueled JackRabbit Without Losing My Mind:
Find a really comfortable chair (I do mean chair, not upright bed, there is a difference).
2. Decide upon your drink of choice and keep it near by. I find a slightly caffainated tea works the best, since it doesn’t cause my hands to shake when I drink it pot after pot.
My Favourite Cream of Earl Grey Tea
Raw Coffee Beans
3. Write the first sentence of 8-10 scenes you want to finish that day.
4. Buy an amazingly cute kitchen timer that you can’t resist playing with. Set it for 5, 10, or 30 minutes, and do nothing else until it buzzes.
5. Pick your favorite motivational song, when you start dropping off, play it loudly, dance about for five minutes, and envision yourself hiking to the top of that insurmountable mountain of 10 thousand words (it only FEELS insurmountable).
6. When your self-doubt success sucker shows up, close your eyes tight and say “I CAN DO THIS” five times loudly. Soon, you will see that Self-Doubt Success Sucker pushed right back into the ground (inevitably, he will pop up again, so be sure to repeat this step whenever necessary).
7. Keep easy to fix food nearby for a quick fuel-up.
8. Find a buddy to check in with, be it a fellow writer, a friend, the NaNoWriMo Forums or the Twitter Universe. Be accountable to someone.
9. Think about the worst job you’ve ever had, picture yourself going back there. If that isn’t motivation to finish doing something you love, I don’t what is.
10. Pick a reward for when you reach your goal, and don’t allow yourself to have/do it until you’ve accomplished what you need to. Whether it’s a new journal, a pretty photo from Stockphoto that you want to use for your cover art, going for a run or out for a drink, hold off until you’ve accomplished your “work” for the day.
11. Once you reach your goal, stop. Everyone deserves a break. Especially you. By getting some rest in between mad-dash sessions, you’re much more likely to do it again the next day.
Good luck with your writing goals! Whether it be the next book in your fabulous serious or 2016 NaNoWriMo. Do you have any other tips you would like to share?