NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, is an event that takes place during November each year. The goal of the event is to write a 50,000 word novel over the course of 30 days.
As you can imagine, a lot of preparations are involved for many of the participants. I’ve thought of 9 ways to prep for NaNoWriMo.
These 9 ways are broken down into 3 categories:
Planning preparations are the kind of thing you do to prepare your novel for the month.
Outlining Your Novel
One way you can plan for NaNoWriMo is by creating an outline for your novel.
There are many ways to plan out a novel, and I have a blog post about 8 Ways to Outline a Novel. So start there if you’re not sure how to outline.
Unless you know for sure that pantsing (seat-of-the-pants writing, or making things up as you go along) works for you, then I would recommend creating an outline for your novel. You can always deviate from it during November, but if you do need it, you’ll save a lot of time by creating one before November starts.
If you’re a last minute planner, I have a blog post coming out on the 30th on How to Outline a Novel in 1 Day, so stay tuned for that.
Making Mood Boards
A fun way to solidify the visuals and aesthetics of your novel is to create a mood board.
A mood board is a collection of images that can show the feelings, settings, themes, motifs, and characters of your story.
I use mood boards to understand the aesthetics of my novel and characters, as well as get images in my mind’s eye of the recurring themes and motifs in my story. It also helps me get into the proper mood and energy for creation.
Creating a Survival Kit
A survival kit is a collection of items that will help you on your creative journey throughout NaNoWriMo.
You can add all sorts of things to your NaNoWriMo survival kit, such as:
- Tea satchels
- Halloween candy
- A writing totem
- A notebook
- A word processing program
- Writing prompts
You can also add items that represent your story.
I’m going to working on two stories during November, both of which involve urban fantasy. So things like crystals or candles would be fun to have in my survival kit.
Life preparations are what you do to get your life in order before NaNoWriMo starts.
Getting into an Exercise Routine
Many people find that exercising during NaNoWriMo helps them write more quickly, and helps clear their head when they get writer’s block.
More intense and rigorous exercises such as dance and running help with writer’s block. Exercises such as yoga and stretching are good for preventing injury while writing.
Even though Halloween candy goes on sale during November, it’s still important to stay healthy and eat properly (and enough).
A way to make sure you eat healthy during NaNoWriMo is by preparing meals and meal plans ahead of time.
Create a list of meals that you can make in bulk and then freeze for about a week. Then every weekend during NaNo prepare some meals and freeze them.
Or you can create a list of meals that are healthy, but easy and quick to make. Then, whenever you’re hungry, just take a look at your quick list and prepare an easy meal or snack.
The most important part of NaNoWriMo prep-work for me is working on my time management, so that I’m not super busy or distracted during NaNoWriMo.
I usually have to work extra during September and October, to get November’s usual work out of the way, so that I can focus on writing.
One of thing things that I absolutely know I need are blog posts prepared ahead of time. While I have won my last attempt and NaNoWriMo, and my last attempt at Camp NaNoWriMo, I didn’t have blog posts already prepared for the month, which pushed me over the edge and into full burnout afterwards.
This year I’ve been focused on making sure that I have all my blog posts prepared for NaNoWriMo, so that way I can focus all of my writing energy on my novels.
Writing preparations are what you do to get prepared for doing lots of writing during November.
Getting Back into a Writing Groove
One of the things I’d suggest you do during October is write! If you’re not used to writing throughout the year, the first few days of NaNoWriMo will be more difficult, since you’ll be clearing out old cobwebs from your mind.
Get a few writing prompts, sit down, and do some writing. It’ll help you get used to writing again.
Practicing Word Sprints
I find that word sprints and word wars are some of the easiest ways for me to boost my word counts during NaNoWriMo.
A word sprint is an activity where you set a timer and write as much as you can before the timer goes off. This can be done alone, or with friends.
A word war is like a word sprint, except you do it with others and compete to get the most writing done before the timer goes off.
Practicing word sprints before NaNoWriMo starts is a good way to get used to typing quickly, and can help you prepare for productive word sprints and word wars.
Every time I do NaNoWriMo during November I get writer’s block during the third week. So I find it prudent to stockpile some inspiration before that happens.
One of the ways I do that is by getting some relevant or inspiring writing prompts to use when I’m out of ideas.
Here are few other ways I get inspired:
- Watching video essays and analyses about TV shows and movies
- Revisiting works that have inspired me in the past
- Looking at artwork
- Creating concept art for my novels
There are a lot of ways to prepare for NaNoWriMo, and I would highly recommend doing some prep work before November begins. It’ll save you the hassle later during NaNoWriMo.
If you’re interested in participating in NaNoWriMo, you can sign up on their website for free.
If you enjoyed this blog post, please leave a like or share it with someone else who would enjoy it. I blog about writing every Wednesday, so check back next week for some new content.