November (and National Novel Writers Month or NaNoWriMo for short) is coming faster than you think. Sure, it’s July and warm weather calls you outdoors, but November is the month in which many writers get their official start – it’s looming just a few short weeks (17) ahead. Have YOU begun to do the prep work for a killer Nanowrimo? What can you do to prepare? Here are some good suggestions on prepping for Nanowrimo.
1) Commit loud and proud.
In high school, the pressure and expectation of peers might not have been good… but here it might be what motivates you. So, let everyone from your online and real life communities know you’re sitting down to put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard.)
2) Connect with the Nanowrimo Community
Whether on social media or through the Nanowrimo website (http://nanowrimo.org) WriMos are out there ready to encourage and support you. You’re not alone with characters who fall flat, plot twists that fail to launch and all the other problems you’re about to face – so build up a team of cheerleaders, peers, and mentors (and future beta readers!)
3) Brainstorm Your Plot!
Whether you’re a pantser (also called Discovery Writer – in case you didn’t know) who reads their story as it pours out their fingertips onto the screen or plotter who outlines every twist and turn early on – you need some ideas. Start playing “what if”… “What if a car hits the main character?” “What if the supporting character loses their job” “What if genetically engineered gorillas took over the planet and forced everyone to worship kittens?” Some ideas will be great, others will suck… but write them all down. You’ll know when you truly find that one story which you can’t wait to write.
4) Discover your Characters.
Even pantsers need to know who their main characters are. So take some time to think about your characters, their names, their backgrounds, their dreams and goals, and their greatest fears. Remember, the best stories are full of characters who need challenges to overcome and fears that have to be faced. Mary Janes and Marty Stus are BORING in their perfection. So let them float out of your mind… or better still, take Mary and Marty and put them through a little hell in your mind. On the other side of your wicked imagination the two of them will be far more interesting than when you started, I promise.
5) Plan for success.
While it’s true that some keyboard heroes will sit at a desk for 8 straight hours a day and write 5,000+ words a day every time they sit down… not everyone does. If you have an internet connection, tv, day job, kids, or a life outside of writing at all, then the chances are excellent you’re NOT going to write only in the first week or only one weekend. Success generally comes to those who set smaller goals each day so that their time at the keyboard is shorter per sitting. They also plan to limit their distractions (asking family and friends to stay away, turning off the tv, and staying off social media.)
ONE FINAL NOTE: The Goal Is Habit Forming
Obviously, we all want to get the total word count that NaNoWriMos shoot for – but the best takeaway of all is this: writing regularly. If you want a career as a writer, it’s important to know that writers all share one thing in common almost daily: THEY WRITE. The goal of 50K in a month isn’t set to push out a pristine finished and final copy of your book to send off to an editor or agent, it’s to get your butt in a seat and writing that book you keep saying you’re gonna write. And, ideally, help you form a habit to keep coming back, again and again, every day. Remember, even if you don’t hit that 50K, you can still walk away a winner if you form a lifelong habit of writing daily. The book will come if you do this – promise.