It’s nearly what for many writers is the most wonderful time of year – NaNoWriMo!
This will be my fifth go at NaNoWriMo, and hopefully my third win – fourth if you count CampNaNo in April. Thanks to the power of NaNo, I’ve drafted two novels in the last year, so here are my tips for making the event a success:
1. Clear your plate
Prepare to concentrate as fully as you can on your new novel in November. This week, clean your home, book in appointments and chats with your friends, finish or park your other projects, meal plan – whatever it is you can to minimise distractions in November.
I wouldn’t plan to do nothing else but write in November, you are a fully-rounded human who is more than their word count, but if you can plan your other tasks now, you will have to think about them less when you’ll want to be concentrating on your novel (or whatever other form of writing you will be indulging in).
2. Plan your writing routine
The ‘ideal’ daily goal for NaNo is 1,667 words per day, however, that’s not a suitable goal for everyone. Some people set themselves lower targets on weekdays and higher at weekends, or vice versa. Personally, I expect to write more at weekends, but I also like to try and ‘front load’ NaNo and write extra during the first week, so that if there are any slowdowns later on, I don’t need to worry too much about reaching my goal.
It’s also helpful to think about when in the day you’re going to write. Before work, on your lunch break, in the evening, or all three?
Lots of writers also like to take this time to set up their writing space in their home and make sure they’ve stocked up on snacks!
3. Plan what you’re going to read
Yes, read! I am a firm believer in filling the well of words to keep your writing flowing. But what helps you write is very personal. Some authors like to read in the same genre or to work their way through a pile of research books that will directly feed into their writing. Others have to read books that are completely different from what they’re working on.
Whatever approach works for you, make sure your To Be Read pile is stacked!
4. Find your community
On the NaNoWriMo website you can find people near you who are taking part, as well as virtual write-ins for those of us who would rather write from home.
But that’s not the only way to find support for the month – you could reach out on social media to find friends to write with and/or cheer on.
5. Plan your novel…unless you’re a ‘pantser’
I think this one goes without saying, really. If you are someone who benefits from having a plan to fall back on, this is the time to put it together.
Even if you’re a pantser, you might like to jot down some notes about characters and themes and the direction you want the novel to explore.