Hey peeps. So I decided I’m going to participate in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year, and so I wanted to share some of my thoughts on preparing for the month long of writing to come.
I just want to state now that I am by no means an expert at NaNo as this is my second year being a part of it, but it’ll be my third NaNo experience.
For those that don’t know what NaNoWriMo is it’s a non-profit organization that raises money to have creative writing in classrooms, while also being sort of like a competition to see if you are able to reach 50,000 words in one month. How much is 50k words? It’s essentially 200-230 pages of a novel, so think some YA contemporaries. It’s pretty much a short novel, but it’s still a novel! Cool, right?
So not only is NaNoWriMo a fun, engaging, and often exhausting event, but it’s also just a time to really see what kind of story you’re going to create. But that also doesn’t mean that you don’t need to prepare beforehand.
Here’s a few of the things that you should have before starting NaNoWriMo:
- An idea: Okay, there are two types of people: pantsers and planners. Pantsers like to go by the seat of their pants and just write whatever comes to them, while planners like to, well, plan. But I think that, even if you’re a pantser, you should at least have some sort of idea as to what you want to write: do you like fantasy? What about a person of color? Do you want them to be old, young, both? Do you want to time travel? Do you want to write an epoch or a really, really long poem? Really, there’s a lot to think of here, so try to at least have some idea as to what you want to accomplish during NaNo.
- A USB drive: Why should you have one of these? Well, not only do the people of NaNo say time and time again to SAVE YOUR WORK ON MULTIPLE DEVICES, but it’s also a good idea that if you’re traveling and you want to work on your novel while you’re away from your home computer, you’ll be able to by having a USB with you. They’re pretty cheap and you really only need a small sized one. Mine can hold up to 2GB. I also attached a string to mine so I can wear it around my neck if need be.
- A notebook: This one is more optional, but if you’re like me and you need to write at least some things out long hand, then having a notebook handy is really helpful. You can jot down ideas real quick, or you can draw your own rough sketch of a map or characters. It’s really a creative tool to help you visualize your story more.
- Food/snacks/water: Keep yourself fed! You’re going to be writing a crap ton of words in 30 days, so you really need to keep hydrated and fed. Sugar can be good to help in those times when you’re really tired, but beware of sugar crashes! Don’t be afraid to take ten minute breaks to stretch your legs, grab a bowl of fruit, some water or milk, and just relax for a few minutes. You might even think of a scene or two for your story!
- A laptop/computer: This is kind of an important one. You do have the option of writing long hand if you want, but that’s a lot of work for your hand, so I suggest finding some sort of computer device if you’re able. Because, you know, where else are you going to write your actual story?
- A writing program: Whether you use MS Word, Pages, Google Drive, or some other writing platform, this is the quintessential item that you need because where else are you going to write it? Just be sure that when you come to a point that you think you should save: SAVE IT. SAVE YOUR WORK. Some of these programs save automatically over a time, but some don’t, so be sure to save your work! And you can play around with however you want it to look and stuff, so a writing program is key.
So there are some of the top things that I personally think you should have before you even begin writing. NaNo doesn’t start for another week and a half (depending on when you’re reading this) so try to get all of your thoughts and supplies together before it’s here!
Now, don’t stress out. November can be a stressful month as is with just the writing process, but if you prepare with supplies then that’ll take some of the pressure off.
Another way to prepare for NaNo: writing exercises! Writing exercises are a fun way to get your creative juices flowing and to be able to even work on some of your ideas. So whether you do sprints with other writers, or you find different writing exercises and prompts online, just be sure to have fun with it!
It’s a lot to think about and do, but I promise it’s worth it.
Are you going to be participating in NaNoWriMo? Do you have your supplies gathered for the month, or are you scrambling to get things ready? Let me know!