Preparing for NaNoWriMo

22 October 2015

It's that time of year. November is coming, and NaNoWriMo is upon us. After taking part in NaNoWriMo last year, I learnt a lot from the experience and decided to offer some advice to the newcomers taking on the task this year. Writing is such an intricate task, and everyone's writing process differs significantly. There's no set way of writing a novel. Some prefer to create outlines of everything they've ever written. Others prefer to write the whole story in chronological order. And the rest? Well, we tend to write the whole thing out of order and pray to God is comes together - sooner rather than later!

I truly encourage every single one of you to take part in this -  weather you write 50,000 words or even 5000. There's a real spirit and dedication that comes from taking part in this event, and it's so worth the pain and tears. I encourage you to make this time your own, and use it to your advantage. So my fellow writers, without further ado, here a few ways you can prepare for this year's NaNoWriMo!

1. Have a story outline in mind
It is pretty difficult to write 50,000 words if you have no idea what you're going to write about at all. Or even in what direction you want your story to go in. Try to write an outline that you can loosely follow throughout the course of the month. And of course, it doesn't have to be one you stick through line by line, as stories do often change throughout the course of the written process. But it'll help give you some guidance when you feel a little lost.

2. Give yourself treats!
After completing your daily writing for the day, give yourself something wonderful to have. That can be some of your flavoured ice cream, rewatching your favourite scenes from your all time favourite television show. Once you've rewarded yourself for all your hard work, you'll start to feel incredibly accomplished. This may even help you feel more motivated to write more in future. 

3. Attempt to set a specific time for writing ...
I remember Jennifer Niven, once mentioning at a book signing, writing a novel is all about discipline. Creating a routine of some kind - a schedule - can help set a structure that can give you the opportunity to write as much as you can. So maybe after you've finished college or work, sit down and just start typing. Then when you've finished, grab a snack. Watch your favourite television show, or even get ready for bed. Happy and content.

4. Feel free to make up for lost words on others days.
On some days you feel as though you can write a mountain of words, on others you may just drag out a few on the tip of your tongue. But that's okay. Go at your own pace. This isn't a race to get to the word limit. It's about trying to get together a story of your own. Rome wasn't built in a day - or even a month. Take your time with it.

5. Create character profiles

Taking some time out of your day to create profiles of your characters can be utterly beneficial in the writing process. Not only are you getting to know your characters intimately, but you are starting to create a picture in your head of their personality - their internal make-up. Who they are, where they've come from and what they want to be in the present. Their ambitions, their hair. Sure, maybe not all these details will make the final cut, but they'll help you draw together scenes and scenarios that will impact your stories in more ways than you can imagine.

6. Find people participating
Getting involved with the community can be an incredible feeling - a great motivational tool that can help inspire you to keep going when you feel like giving up. Feeling the moral and sense of keen spirit may also give you some form of encouragement during your darkest hours.

But don't pay attention the word count comments. Yes, celebrate your fellow NaNoWri-ers achievements. But don't beat yourself up about not having the same amount of words as the don't feel the pressure of beating others with word count. It's all about doing what's best for you and your story. Just do the best you can, and the rest will follow!

7. Listen to playlists to inspire
At some point during the month, you may find yourself so uninspired - especially once you've written out a few scenes that sound so incredible. And now you feel like you have nothing to give. Listening to music playlists may help you feel more inspired during this time. Check out a few playlists I've created in preparation for the month here.

And lastly, just enjoy it! Reach 50,000 words - that's awesome! Got less than that - that's great too! Just do the best you can, and enjoy writing on this beloved month of writing.

Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo this year?

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