There are tons of articles about getting ready for NaNo, so I'm not going to share anything really new here. But I thought it would be fun to share what I've done to get ready, especially for interested friends watching the process.
For all you non-writers, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, in which novelists around the world accept the challenge to write 50,000 words in one month. That averages out to 1,666 words a day.
So here are some things I thought would be handy to have around:
1. Plot Notes
For all of August and September, and maybe even part of July, I wrote out plot notes using K.M. Weiland's Outlining Your Novel workbook and Structuring Your Novel workbook. It's too close to NaNo to go through those workbooks extensively, but they'll give you some great questions for your story, and you could go through a few of those. Or for a shorter list, you can go to this article here. I made a detailed outline, and then I also made a condensed outline for a quick way to see my story at a glance. All those outlines have been placed in my Scrivener research folder.
Just be sure not to tell your characters what's happening, or they might not come along.
Tuesday evening, I quickly divided up my favorite albums and songs into category lists for NaNoWriMo. (Well, it was kind of quick in between watching Studio C on YouTube.) When I'm discouraged, I shall play the Courage list. When I'm happy, I shall play the Fun list. When I need an extra layer of pathos and angst in my writing, I shall play the Feels list, and so on. Categories are Fun, Feels, Courage, Celtic, Worship, and Instrumental.
That way I won't be able to procrastinate by digging through all my music lists for just the right song.
3. Story Inspiration
I collected a poem and a song that mean a lot to me, and a novel scrapbook from friends that is a very precious thing. I also have a bunch of pins, quotes, photos, and articles on a secret Pinterest board to remind me of the gut-wrenching love I have for this story, as well as the fact that bad first drafts are OK.
I will be collecting some sermon notes and verses that particularly apply to my writing, as soon as I get a chance.
I'm hoping when I'm in the deep forest of Plot Woes and Writer's Block,
I can climb up to my inspiration board and see the butterflies. ^_^
I love treats. They're my new happy things. So I made myself an editing box, and here are the treats I chose to put in:
|I asked my sister to buy him for me if I gave her the money. She told me I must be brave and buy him myself. I love him the more for it.|
A writing buddy. He shall be my mascot.
The yellow sticky notes are smaller rewards for daily goals. The pink sticky notes are bigger rewards for chapter or week goals. The notebook represents procrastination writing in different short stories that are not NaNo related. If I have time, I'll reward myself with a bit of non-NaNo writing along the way.
I also keep these in my editing treat box, because they're my favorite music CDs ever.
|Character faces blurred on purpose, folkies. Sorry!|
It is the first candy bar I've ever bought for myself. This is a milestone event.
I really felt passionate about starting NaNoWriMo with some dedicated time to pray beforehand. Prayer is the cornerstone of the work, and taking time before the craziness of the month starts to lay it squarely in the hands of God, from whom all strength and inspiration come, is even more vital than all the plot notes and treats in the world. Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it. (Psalm 127:1)
I wanted to do half an hour, but I knew it would be hard to grab time just to sit down uninterrupted to do it. Yesterday morning I had some cleaning to do for Bright Lights in the evening, so I decided to do it while I cleaned. I broke it up into five minute segments, and prayed for a different thing each of the five minutes:
1. All the contestants.
3. Being a good witness/encouragement in the NaNo community.
5. Perseverance and discipline
6. That God would use the work of the writers beyond NaNo.
It goes pretty fast that way! But guess what: I don't want to stop there. I want to keep praying all month. With that in mind, I'll be tweeting a prayer prompt five days a week in November with #prayforNaNoWriMo. It's open to anyone who'd like to join, whether you're in NaNoWriMo or not, or even if you want to pray for a family member or friend who's doing it. Add your own prayer requests and praises with #prayforNaNoWriMo and let us pray for you! I'd love it if you'd join me!
6. Daily word goal
The last thing I did was figure out a couple of daily word goal scenarios in case I'd need some time off. I know for sure I'm not writing Sundays, so that takes four days out. I also considered either taking Saturdays off, or taking a week off in the middle for a trip. How that's all going to pan out I don't know, but I do have a basic idea what to get done if I want to be in good shape by the end.
If you're considering prep work for NaNo, you have a good chunk of today and all day tomorrow to do some prep work! Playlists take maybe 1/2 hour or less. Treats might take a quick run to the store, and prayer time can be your own personal choice. Plot notes and story inspiration might take a few hours, depending on how much you want to jot down--but even just collecting a few pictures and quotes and writing down a plot twist or two will get you far.
And hey, while you're at it, I'd love it if you wanted to buddy me on the website for some word wars and fellow support! I'm Irish Maiden. I can't wait to see you there!
Here we goooooooooo!