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Preparing for NaNoWriMo Part 1

Sun Oct 7, 2012, 5:02 PM
We may only be one week into October, but November and NaNoWriMo is just around the corner.  If you've never heard of it, NaNoWriMo is short  for National Novel Writing Month. That means in the span of thirty days, participants will write 50,000 words.

That's:
:bulletblack: 1,667 words per day if they're writing every day.
:bulletblack: 2,273 words per day if they're only writing on weekdays.  
:bulletblack: 6,250 words per day if they're only writing on weekends.


Either way it's a pretty hefty feat, and not something to walk into unprepared.  Even if you're a "by the seat of your pants" type of writer.

So this year, instead of doing a basic what is NaNo and who's going to participate in it journal, we're gonna switch it up and give you some pointers on what you should be doing and what you definitely shouldn't be doing before and during NaNo.

The best place to get advice is from the people that have tried NaNo.  Notice how I didn't say "and succeeded?"  That's because this time around, if you didn't succeed, you still have valuable information that needs to be passed along.  Knowing how NOT to attempt NaNo is just as good as knowing HOW to attempt NaNo.

Let's not dilly dally any longer and jump right into it.

Where to start?


Almost everyone I've messages, noted, chatted with or talked to has said the same thing.  

PLAN AHEAD



That's right, even if you don't normally work on your plot in advance, when it comes to NaNo, you need to have at the very least a basic outline.  You'll need to know how you want to start and how you're going to get to the end.  It's best to start this as early as possible (I've been plotting since August and I know others that started even earlier than that).

What else should you be doing before and during NaNo?


Some of the grandest tips I've come across when it comes to focusing on your writing and motivating yourself to continue on even when you're having a brain fart. 

:bulletpurple: Have a story you want to work on.  Something you're excited about.  You're stuck with these characters for the month.  Make sure you like them. Or at the very least, like torturing them.

:bulletpurple: Know your characters.  Make them friends.  Even your villain.  You wanna know everything there is to know about your characters BEFORE NaNo starts.

:bulletpurple: Be consistent.  It's a marathon, not a sprint! 

:bulletpurple: Figure on not working Thanksgiving (for the Americans), and figure some off days for the rest of the world.  You're not gonna end up writing every day for the entire month.  Plan your time wisely.  Know what days you have doctor appointments or previous engagements and work around them.

:bulletpurple: Believe you can do it.  And have a good support system.  A critique group.  Local writing group, or bunch of friends (dA or otherwise) that will support you and push you to finish NaNo. 

:bulletpurple: Treat Yourself.  Write for half and hour and nom a small yummy treat.  Repeat.

:bulletpurple: Write on schedule.  Writing at the same time will train your brain to want to write and be most creative at that time.

:bulletpurple: Spend a little bit of time before NaNo starts figuring out how, when and where you're going to write.  Don't try and figure out your perfect setup on November 1st because it'll be too late.  Know where you're gonna sit, how you're gonna have your prep material.

:bulletpurple: Carry something (notebook, smart phone, iPod, iPad) with you at all times so if you get a spare moment, you're prepared to use it properly.

:bulletpurple: Have daily writing targets and try to meet/exceed them every day.  Getting ahead is not a bad thing.

:bulletpurple: A blog or side diary to track progress and keep your mind sane.

:bulletpurple: Keep an eye on the Twitter hashtags: #wordwars and #NaNoWriMo for others.

:bulletpurple: @ is your best friend.  When you're stuck on a description, dialogue passage, character reaction or pretty much anything just type @ and then what you want to include there.  Examples: description name dialogue.  Then once you figure out how you're going to handle that part just search for the @ sign in your word processor.  This works for both NaNo and regular writing.

:bulletpurple: Make sure your research is done before November hits.  Otherwise it'll be your excuse to stave off writing.  And that's bad.

:bulletpurple: Word Wars and Write Ins.  They're a grand place to get lots of words down.  I'll be running a few chat events in the CRLiterature chatroom.  So keep an eye out for the chat schedule which should be coming out soon.

:bulletpurple: Make sure the people you live with know you're doing NaNo.  This way they won't be offended when you're completely ignoring them.  If you have small kids, make sure you have a spouse to take care of them [if you don't, quick, you still have a couple weeks to snag one] or family/friends that are willing to help out.

:bulletpurple: And above all else, have fun.  There is no reason to stress over NaNo.  It's supposed to be fun and challenging.  Not heart attack inducing.

A HUGE Thank You to All the Deviants that Made this Feature Possible


TarienCole, WTFgirl, AzeeraTheNinja, kittykittyhunter, forbiddenhero, Thy-Robocop, damina, AeternusVotum, TMCanada, MeganLawler94, Loza-Muse, thorns, TheSkaBoss, SkysongMA, PinkyMcCoversong, Nekolai, ozzla, BloodrainFireDawn, The-Monoblos and AspiredWriter

Part Two will be coming out in the next couple days and will include all the things you SHOULDN'T be doing during NaNo



NaNo is right around the corner, and there's no time like the present to start preparing. Keep a look out for the second part of this which will include what NOT to do during NaNo.

:iconcrliterature:
Add a Comment:
 
:iconyesmymajesty:
YesMyMajesty Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
NaNoWriMo is a great idea but horrible in practice.
Reply
:icontheeffingjoker:
theeffingjoker Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2012
this was SO helpful! i was getting worried about whether i could do it or not (it's my first year, but i have finals midway into november) and this made me more relaxed. thank you!
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2012   Writer
:woohoo:

I'm going to be posting a chat schedule tonight for word wars and write ins that'll be held in the CRLit chat room.
Reply
:iconevelyntaliette:
EvelynTaliette Featured By Owner Oct 23, 2012  Student Writer
I'm tempted to cheat and start writing already xD
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 24, 2012   Writer
:shh: Me too!
Reply
:iconprojects-by-megan:
projects-by-megan Featured By Owner Oct 17, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
There are some helpful hints in here even for people that don't participate.
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012   Writer
:woohoo:
Reply
:iconmiss-sunshine-fairy:
Miss-sunshine-fairy Featured By Owner Oct 16, 2012
So so jazzed! November can't come fast enough! When are you posting the next one?? I wanna know what not to do haha I'm pretty sure I'd have done most of the 'what not's' last year :D
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 18, 2012   Writer
Me too.

:eager:

I just want it here so I can start writing already!!

[link] to the second part.
Reply
:iconmiss-sunshine-fairy:
Miss-sunshine-fairy Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012
Yay! :D
Reply
:iconc-puff:
C-Puff Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Professional Filmographer
I'm gonna try NaNo this year! I don't think I'll be able to finish but I'm gonna give it my best shot anyway :D I just don't know what I'm gonna write about! D8
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012   Writer
I would suggest that you start thinking about what you're going to write about.

Keep in mind that you don't have to set yourself the 50k goal. That's the official NaNo word count minimum. If you feel that's unrealistic, set yourself a goal that's a little smaller. 30k words. And strive for that. If you're defeated before November even hits, you're going to give up early. And that is NOT the goal of NaNo.
Reply
:iconjames--steele:
James--Steele Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I'll be attempting NaNo this year :eager: I was actually quite surprised to see a journal about this on the bottom of my page. :lmao: Thanks for the issue! :salute:
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012   Writer
We too! I can't believe the amount of love I got on this article. It's awesome!!
Reply
:iconbyakuyarox1:
byakuyarox1 Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012
Ooh good tips. I'm doing this again this year. I made it last year and it kicked up my love of writing more. I started planning awhile ago haha! I think I even typed a little on Thanksgiving. Good luck!
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012   Writer
I never get the chance to write on Thanksgiving, but that's because I'm cooking and we shop.
Reply
:iconbyakuyarox1:
byakuyarox1 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012
Lol yeah, I usually eat forever. I can't cook even though my mom asks me to help every year.
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012   Writer
My aunt buys the food and I cook it. Which is awesome, because it means I don't have to do dishes (unless I get roped into doing it anyways).
Reply
:iconbyakuyarox1:
byakuyarox1 Featured By Owner Oct 10, 2012
Haha that was me. We're starting to move to paper and plastic.
Reply
:iconskarbog-sketch:
Skarbog-Sketch Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
omg thanks for reminding me O_o time flies.. it is indeed almost november again.

Great article btw!
Reply
:iconthreshie:
Threshie Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Professional Traditional Artist
Great article! :clap: I haven never done NaNoWriMo before, and after reading this I am almost sure I want to commit to trying it...so congrats. XD

Breaking the word count down into days really helped make the task look less daunting. I've written 4,000 words in one sitting many times before, but never while working full time hours at a job, so...I suppose the worst I could do is fail to complete my story in the month. I mean, if I get a significant amount done, I'm gonna finish it one way or the other, so it's not a complete failure even if I don't end up making the deadline.

That said...it sounds exciting to finish a novel in a month. Good bragging rights if I can pull it off. :evillaugh: I already have a story idea vaguely clunking around in my head, complete with characters and some idea of world-building, too. Being exhausted from work and unable to write is my only concern. >>; Guess there's not much to lose, though...

~Threshie :heart:
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012   Writer
:woohoo:

Another deviant gonna give it a go! That's what I like to hear!
Reply
:iconcapi-cappuccino:
capi-cappuccino Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012   Digital Artist
ASlkfjdkfgjfgj
everywhere I go
I am reminded how fast NaNo is coming up and just how unprepared I am for it. @_@

And this was the year I swore I'd actually seriously outline something too...
Reply
:icongrabyourshovelanddig:
GrabYourShovelAndDig Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Aaaaaaah NaNoWriMo is coming again. I WILL NEVER FEEL READY ENOUGH. :fear:
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012   Writer
Your avatar suits your comment so well.
Reply
:icongrabyourshovelanddig:
GrabYourShovelAndDig Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:bow:
Reply
:iconselahdenoctiluca:
SelahDeNoctiluca Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Last year was my first attempt and NaNoWriMo, and now I really do wish I'd planned ahead. I decided I want to try it the day before it started and I only got to about 25K. It was so much fun, and cannot wait to start this year! I'm going a lot of planning!
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012   Writer
25k isn't bad for no planning. And it's still 25k more words than you had before you started.
Reply
:iconselahdenoctiluca:
SelahDeNoctiluca Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Yes it certainly is more than I had when I started. This year I'm basing my novel off of a short story I wrote not long ago.
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012   Writer
:iconrlyplz:

Me too! I wrote the short because the characters wouldn't get the hell outta my head, and now they still refuse to leave. So I'm using NaNo to write their WHOLE story.
Reply
:iconselahdenoctiluca:
SelahDeNoctiluca Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I know right! I can't stop writing about them! Filling up their outlines. It's crazy! I'm kind of glad to see I'm not the only one doing that!
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012   Writer
:highfive:

We are not alone!!!
Reply
:iconselahdenoctiluca:
SelahDeNoctiluca Featured By Owner Oct 11, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Yay! :highfive:
Reply
:icontmcanada:
TMCanada Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Student Writer
I'm definitely trying this year, but honestly I would be happy breaking 20,000 words. Between a more than full course load (warning never become a senior in college with a major in English) and an internship that take up the rest of my free time, I'm not sure if I will get to write much. I have a basic plot and am doing an outline right now, but... I guess we will just have to see how it goes.
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012   Writer
20k is still a lot of words.

And good luck. You know I'm always rooting for you to succeed!
Reply
:icontmcanada:
TMCanada Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Student Writer
Thanks! I hope I can do it. What is your NaNo user name? Mine is the same as my DA name.
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012   Writer
I'm GrimFace.

I'll search you now and add you to my list.
Reply
:iconeldr-fire:
Eldr-Fire Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
I'm not doing NaNo because I'm already over 100k into my book and November is finals for me, but I really like some of the tips. I hadn't heard of using @ for passages you skip and come back to. I like that! Thanks for posting. I've never done NaNo, but I know plenty of people who have, and it's important to support them!
Reply
:iconaj333:
AJ333 Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Biggest do for NaNoWriMo is reading "No Plot? No problem!" By Chris B, founder of NaNoWriMo. I've read it every year for 7 years and won 6/7 of my NaNoWriMo's as well as several summer NaNo competitions.
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012   Writer
You know, I've got that book, but never really found it exceedingly helpful. Maybe I'm reading it wrong.
Reply
:iconaj333:
AJ333 Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I don't know :shrug: I usually read the first half of the book in October and then read the 2nd half week by week during November like suggested. It's not just reading it though, it's reading and applying it that's key :)
Reply
:iconloninn:
Loninn Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
<3 I was going to do this last year then completely forgot and only remembered in the middle of November when someone else posted their stuff. D:
Lonin shall have a go :eager:
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012   Writer
:nuu: I hate when that happens.

So you're participating this year? :woohoo:
Reply
:iconloninn:
Loninn Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:D Yup yup if I remember :happybounce:
Reply
:iconchadleephilander:
ChadLeePhilander Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm a first timer this year! Been planning my story, its killing me thou, kinda happy to find other people who are in the same situation. Good luck to all :)
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012   Writer
:woohoo:

There are lots in the same boat as you. I was honestly amazed at the feedback I got when I asked the Lit Community about NaNo, and these are some of the best tips out there when it comes to writing in general but especially for NaNo.
Reply
:iconchadleephilander:
ChadLeePhilander Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Read all the comments and got so excited that I ended spending my whole day laying out my story, got so much planning done and I'm really excited for NANO
Reply
:iconinknalcohol:
inknalcohol Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012   Writer
:squee:

Me too! :giggle:
Reply
:iconnuenagi:
NueNagi Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2012   Writer
It's kinda supportive in itself to see journals like this - I don't have a supportive network so it's nice to read through other writers preparing for NaNoWriMo. And it's nice to have a target to make me write.
Reply
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