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  • Karina Sokulski

NaNoWriMo Prep: Before You Start

It's the 27th of October. November starts next week. Breathe that in for a second. We're finally here and November's not going to wait for you to be any more ready than you already are.

This blog post is not intended to freak you out, just prepare you. Get your take-out menu's on the fridge, your writing workbooks at the ready and your coziest clothes in your closet ready because NaNoWriMo's about to start!

Before that though, here's a bit of advice for prepping this final weekend before November officially starts.

1) Clean up that battle station!

I can usually work with a cluttered desk, but like last year, I intend to only have on my desk what is necessary to get me through this month. Get your outlines, novel writing books and coffee mugs ready!

2) Unplug the devices

Just like last year, I'll be leaving my cellphone in the kitchen and closing my office door until my word goal of the day is completely finished. I know it's hard with work and all, but if you're seriously considering this challenge, you'll know how to make it happen.

3) Quiet your inner editor

Believe me, this one's a stressor. My final weekend of October is usually spent meditating on this one. I'm not even kidding, as I write these very words my inner editor is already haggling me about NaNoWriMo project. Remember that NaNoWriMo is about quantity over quality. No editing, just crunch out those words.

4) Think on it

Before we get to the more thorough advice, think on accepting the challenge long and hard. It's never a sin to back out of what you can't commit to. You'll feel worse if you do and find life just keeps getting in the way. Look at your calendar (work and home) and make sure you can actually accept the challenge.

5) Be more forgiving

Sounds dramatic, I know. As you ignore your inner editor and crunch out those words, you'll need to also take the time to remember that this is all just one big first draft. Don't kick yourself for the possibility of a redraft by day 20 of November. This happened to me last year, and guess what? Post NaNoWriMo that redraft has been done, now I have a better idea of what my book is about. Whoo! It's no big deal if you're not in love with what is on the first draft, get it out so you can figure out what needs fixing later!

6) Find your pacing, or figure out how to pick it up as you go

If you've been writing for a while now, this is a no brainer. The only challenge really is to remain persistent (something I have to do myself). If not, learn as you go. Its a NaNoer's practice to type 1,667 words a day so that they can total to 50,000 by the last day of November. It's a nice little number that isn't too overwhelming. Use this as a training tool to figure out what's your daily word count!

7) Stock your writing toolkit

If you're like me that involves scented candles, books on writing at the ready and a nice sound environment from ambient-mixer. Whatever you need to get your creative muse going. There are books on writing that are specifically targeting writing a novel in 30 days. If that sounds like something you want to get your hands on, now's the time to do it!

8) Free time is writing time

That's NaNoWriMo for you, you're relinquishing all your free time. Got a minute while sitting in your carpool vehicle? Get your journal out!

9) Over achieve if you can

Sometimes I like to get ahead on my word count, typing double what I'm supposed to. If you're feeling up to it, steal the opportunity.

10) Hit up your tribe

Are you hitting up some cafe's with your fellow NaNoer's? Do it. I'm the anti-social type when it comes to community writing but NaNoWriMo has a lot of write-ins this year. I would check them out.

11) Write bravely

I talked on this a little already, but its being repeated because it is the most important lesson NaNoWriMo thought me. Don't be afraid to try.

12) If it's not working, don't force it

So many times crunching out my words was delayed because I began to obsessively try to write a plot point that just wasn't working. If you start stumbling like this, give up on whatever you're stuck on and try something else. Believe me, this isn't a place you want to get stuck in.

13) Start every session with everything you have

There's no shortcut here. You drink your coffee or tea, you don't skip your breakfast, etc. You go with the full intention of reaching your daily word goal and that's final. Keep yourself energized and rested, you'll need it.

14) Just start and don't stop

Exactly as the title says. No listening to your inner editor or your ego, you're just crunching out words. Its totally fine if your character's name has changed again or setting's layout suddenly took a strange turn. Editing starts after November 30th, not before.

15) Remember to pat yourself on the back

Little rewards for crunching out words is always nice. Every week I reward myself with a scoop of ice cream and a slice of cake. I made it through another week of NaNoWriMo...I deserve some praise.

I could go on and on, but you get the idea. NaNoWriMo starts in 5 days. That's 5 days to get all preparations in check! Take a breath, say a prayer and get those typing fingers ready. You can do it, I believe in you!

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