Thursday, October 23, 2014

10 Things You Can Do Now to Prepare for NaNoWriMo

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NaNoWriMo is to writers what marathons are to athletes: an exciting goal to have, but not always one that is achievable.

Perhaps you’ve tried NaNoWriMo in the past. Maybe you started out full of inspiration and determined to finish—but two weeks into November and you started to lag behind. 

Although NaNoWriMo is not an athletic competition, I don’t see why it shouldn’t require just as much preparation as one.

Just as a healthy diet is essential for the person who hopes to run a marathon, inspiration is essential to the writer who hopes to complete NaNoWriMo.  

Inspiration is the fuel that will bring us to the finish line. 

However--just like it is important for an athlete to run even when he is tired, it is also important for the writer to work even when we do not have the inspiration.

But wouldn't it be much easier for the athlete if he was full of energy?

Inspiration is to writers what energy is to athletes. 

And because of that, we need to make sure that we are filled with enough inspiration before we set out on this race. 

We need to prepare for the days when our inspiration levels are running low and we are tempted to give up. 

Here are 10 ways you can do this:

1. Make a poster 
of your favorite writing quotes.

Or fill the pages of a journal with your favorite writing quotes. Or pin them on a board on Pinterest.

That way, if you ever come across a writer's block, you can open this collection and be reminded of all the reasons why you love to write.   

2. Make a sign for your door 
that tells others you’re writing.

It is important that your family understands that you are treating this time to work on your book as if it were your job.   

3. Plan your rewards and consequences.

Many people reward themselves when they meet their word count. But why not give yourself a consequence when you don’t meet your daily word goal?

To do this, first write a list of rewards on strips of paper and place them in a container, then write a list of consequences and place them in a separate container. 

Every evening during NaNoWriMo, if you do meet your word count goal, randomly draw a reward from your reward bowl. But if you didn't reach your goal then draw a consequence from the consequence bowl. (And yes, you will have to actually follow through with them!)

4. Make your book cover.

Since I am a visual writer, it is easier for me to finish a book when I can picture the cover in my mind. Doing this reminds myself that I could some day see this book in print—but only if I continue striving forwards.

I recommend creating your book cover and uploading it to your computer desktop during the month of November. Click here for a list of free online picture editing websites.

5. Find latte recipes.

If you are a coffee-drinker, go ahead and print out various latte recipes. Tell yourself that the only way you can make these lattes is if you are writing at the same time. (In other words, no writing, then no sipping!)

6. Create a snack-stash pile.

Nothing is more frustrating than having your writing interrupted by your growling stomach.   

To prevent this from happening during NaNoWriMo, make sure that you have some snacks on hand (and not far from your writing space).

7. Clean.

You probably weren’t expecting this one! However, it has been proven that working in a tidy space enables us to think more clearly.

So go ahead and clean the area(s) that you will be writing in, then make sure that they remain spotless every day throughout the month of November.

8. Plan your writing spaces.

When you have a certain place in which you force yourself to write every day, it’s easier to become more disciplined.

Ask yourself: Is this spot inspiring? Is the chair comfortable to sit in for hours? Does this area offer any possible distractions?

9. Create a music playlist 
and Pinterest storyboard.

If you are like myself and have to listen to music as you write, go ahead and make the playlist for your story. Make sure that it relates to your book, is music that you enjoy listening to, and only allow yourself to listen to it when you are writing.

Also, I’ve discovered that creating a board for my book on Pinterest not only helps me to visualize my characters and setting, but it also inspires me to keep writing when I face a writer’s block. When doing this, remember that you have the option to make this board private instead of public. (Click here for the story board for my novel, Purple Moon.)

10. Plan your breaks, 
schedule, and word counts.

If you have a plan, then you will be more likely to stay disciplined and less likely to give up.

When will you write? How often will you take a break, and what will you do during that break?

And finally, what are your daily/weekly word count goals?

♡ ♡ 

The key to achieving a nearly impossible task often lies in the preparation that is done beforehand.

Don’t become the kind of writer that wings it without a plan; instead, go into November completely prepared, determined that your fingers will not rest until you have reached that 50,000-word mark.

♡ ♡ ♡ 

Have you participated in NaNoWriMo, and did you reach your word count goal? Are you participating this year? What are other ways that writers can prepare for this challenge?  

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  1. I'm trying it for the first time! I've started to create a playlist and the Pinterest board is growing. I've got my desk all set up, and plenty of nice tablets. I free wrote on the plot for days and figured out a lot of stuff about the characters, and I wrote out a fairly detailed, scene by scene of the whole story. I'd love to make the word count, but my life is busy enough right now that I won't be terribly disappointed if I don't.

  2. I have a book I started a few days ago. I have about 1,000 words right now. Would it work to work on that during November? And I ALWAYS have snacks in my room. My brothers devour everything into their bottomless pit stomachs, so I make sure I have my own stash. :) I'm not sure what kind of writer I 'am. Maybe visual? I don't know. I do know I CANNOT make a outline. Just doesn't' work for me I keep everything on Microsoft and then I have a binder with notes and ideas for that story and the inside is littered with small post-its. (I love small post-its) I'm not much of a writer having very little free time but ever since I was 8 and I saw an empty notebook I wanted to fill it with a story. Not drawings or journal entries, but a story. I was wondering. Are you going to write a sequel to Purple Moon? I wrote about your book on my blog and on Amazon. :) I may have told you about my blog already. I don't remember. I do know I had trouble with my post about your book and I FINALLY got it fixed so if you want to check it out you can.


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