NaNoWriMo Prep: Plan, Tool Kit and Motivation
Next week literally starts off October and I couldn't be more prone to biting at my nails at the thought of November being around the corner. Thankfully, just as the year before and the year before that, there's a system I've developed to get me ready for November. That being said, the most important thing is to not let the nerves of getting ready for NaNowRimo get to you.
There are three main things I focus on getting under control before November rolls around: a plan, a ready tool kit, and your motivation--and no, motivation isn't something you just have, its having the ability to keep yourself motivated. More on that later.
Let's start with a clear-cut plan. Yes 50,000 words, but what's going to make up that word count? Here's an example, two years ago I used the challenge to get myself to write the first draft of my novel. Not completely, since I only got through what would be a "part 1" of a novel, but it was the first time I was actually trying to flesh out the concept I'd come up with. My second year of NaNoWriMo ended up being a complete rewrite of that very same "part 1." You know what my plan is for this year? My "part 2" of the very same novel. This is obviously going to result in shaving a LOT of words from my manuscript when I eventually get to that "part 3," but who cares! That's what editing's for.
Start with a clear-cut plan of what to write. Maybe a section of your book, or its very first draft---whatever it ends up being, don't worry about it being perfect. Just decide on what needs quantity for now and worry about the refinement later.
A Tool Kit
Next comes your tool kit. This is your desktop computer, laptop, notebook, pen, pencil, quill pen, etc. This is also your headphones, your music, your ambient-mixer environments, your coffee or tea, your energy boosting snacks. These are all tools that populate your tool kits. Get a playlist of music that corresponds to your characters or story. Or, get the focus music that helps you focus. Get good headphones that block out all of the background noise. Buy all your favorite snacks, buy packs of tea, or refill your coffee containers. Whatever it is you need to keep yourself still and focused on your writing.
This one is about as easy as it is difficult. Part of this is discipline, part of it is meditation, and another part is commitment. Let's start with discipline, because this one's the easiest to discuss and put into play. For starters, get into a routine where you start leaving your phone anywhere but where you write. No notifications, no social media, no electronic device. Developing this as a habit both gets you to start separating your phone from your writing time and gives you a taste of a distraction-free writing zone. On your computer (or laptop), free apps have been developed nowadays that help you block out notifications and distractions of your choosing. Install one of these and forcibly make your computer a writing-focused machine.
Let's go into meditation. This one I think is the most important of the three, maybe because for me this was the hardest to overcome. It's crucial that you meditate on it being ok to not be perfect, to invest time in yourself and to have faith in your writing. Its ok that your draft is far from perfect. NaNoWriMo is about quantity over quality, you can edit later. You are a writer, you deserve to have this time to work on your talent, you work so hard to put your life together, this is time for you to invest in what's important to you. Trust in your writing because it came from you. If you're even considering undertaking a NaNoWriMo challenge, then you obviously have faith that you're writing something that's worth the effort. Don't doubt those thoughts or your inspiration
Commitment is another one that's easy to discuss, but is a little harder to keep to. Commitment means putting the two former into play and sticking to them. That's one of the main reasons why October is NaNoWriMo prep month. You have a month to get yourself used to the new schedule that will be required of you in November.