My mother is a "pantser." There, I said it. You know: the ones who always fly by the seat of their pants. I finally got her on the NaNoWriMo bandwagon this year, but entirely too late for her to do any real planning. If, like her, you didn't get a chance to really plan, don't despair. I've got some last-minute NaNoWriMo prep tips to help you cover all your bases.
Despite what the naysayers my think, it's entirely possible to write a novel in 30 days. Your 50,000-word goal translates to only about 1,667 words per day — just more than five pages. Every college procrastinator knows that is totally doable.
But what happens when you have no clue what you're going to write about? Sure, putting out five pages every day is easy when you know where you're headed. Writing in the dark is a different story, though, right?
Not necessarily. In fact, most of the books that can help you win NaNoWriMo are geared toward pantsers, including NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty's No Plot? No Problem!. You might need more help than a seasoned plotter, but that doesn't mean it's impossible for you to finish your novel in the same time span.
So, as we count down to NaNoWriMo, check out these 10 last-minute prep tips to make sure you're ready. And remember: You're gonna do great.
Find Your Tribe
I hope you've already signed up on the NaNoWriMo website. If not, get thee hence! NaNoWriMo.org is your one-stop shop for everything you need to get started and stay on track. Select your regional affiliation and genre, then hit the forums to find other writers who share your geographic location and interests. You've got to have a good support system to make this work, so get in networking gear now.
Pick a Time to Write
You will never write unless you make the time to do so. We'd all like to romanticize the craft and make it seem as if it's something that just happens, like breathing. But it isn't. Before the clock strikes November, take a look at your schedule for the month and decide where you'll carve out the time to write those 1,600+ words every day.
Gather Your Resources
It's up to you to decide exactly what you need for this challenge. If you have no idea where to begin, try a writing prompt to get yourself going. Do you inevitably name all of your characters John Smith and Jane Jones? Find a good website where you can mine for new character names. Bookmark all the links, or set your books on your desk, and get ready, because next you're going to...
Prepare Your Workspace
You might not have a dedicated writing space, and that's OK! It doesn't take much to make a comfortable niche where you can work in peace. Turn your bedroom into a she-shed and don't come out until it's December! Or, if you expect to do most of your writing at your kids' soccer games, buy a sweet new folding chair and some noise-cancelling headphones. Those headphones are important, because you know you've got to...
Prepare for Distractions
I could watch that gif for hours, and Ryan Gosling isn't even moving in it. Oh, sorry, what?
Right. Distractions. Distractions are bad, bad little monsters that will derail your writing plans faster than you can say "Pinterest." Some authors disconnect their writing from the Internet entirely by using word processors, typewriters, or a pen and paper. Others like distraction-free apps that prevent emails, texts, and Facebook from competing for their attention. How you choose to combat distractions is up to you, but having a plan is essential.
Make Plans with Friends
Yeah, you aren't going to be seeing your squad as much this month, so go ahead and make time for them while you can. Of course, if you can get them on the NaNoWriMo bus, you can totally hold your own writing parties or...
Go to Write-Ins
Write-ins are local events where WriMos come to work near each other in a set location. If you aren't mobile, NaNoWriMo.org offers virtual write-ins throughout the month, so there's no excuse for not surrounding yourself with creativity while you're working toward 50,000 words.
Go Grocery Shopping
And go to the post office. And the bank. Do all the errands you've been meaning to do for the last week, but haven't gotten around to yet. You don't want to have to waste your time doing the mundane when you could be writing.
Make Some Playlists
Every writer has different sound needs. Mine range from absolute silence, to lite jazz, to familiar sitcom playing in the background. Whatever your needs are, go ahead and pick out movies, playlists, and podcasts for at least your first week. You can change them later if they wind up distracting you or fail to get you in that certain mood...
Writing. The writing mood.
Give Yourself a Pep Talk
Most important prep tip here, folks! You have to believe in yourself in order to win NaNoWriMo, so just one pep talk may not sustain you until December. Make sure you continue to encourage yourself throughout the month, and turn to your tribe for support if the going gets rough. Above all else, remember to be kind to yourself.
May the odds be ever in your favor, WriMo.
Images: ♥ jules/flickr; Giphy (10)