NaNoWriMo is only three and a half weeks away. This year I thought I would share some of the things I have learned through my years as a NaNoWriMo participant. This post is about the stuff you will want to have prepped before November starts so you can slide right into writing on November 1st.
A NaNoWriMo Account
If this is your first year doing NaNoWriMo head on over to the site and get yourself an account. Signing up is easy and free. If you already have an account, you can head over now to create your novel for 2015. To create your novel login then click on the ‘novels’ tab.
Scrivener (or other Word Processor)
You will be writing your novel on your own computer, and I suggest using a program designed for writers like Scrivener. I have also completed NaNo using Microsoft Word. Whatever tool you use I suggest something with a word count tool. I also recommend, if you are using a new processor this year, you do a test validation as soon as validation opens on November 20th just in case your word processor gives a very different value than NaNoWriMo’s website. You wouldn’t want to find out on November 30th that you have 3,000 fewer words than you thought! For those who have never used Scrivener before, but want to, they have a special NaNo trial which won’t expire until December 7th, so you don’t have to worry about running out of trial time part way through the month.
In person and/or Online Support
Having a supportive friend, spouse, roommate or neighbour can make all the difference when the going gets tough. At some point in the month of November, you will likely come the realization that you are crazy for attempting this feat. This is especially true if it is your first year, or if it is the first year you are ‘in it to win it’. If you don’t have the support of someone where you live you might want to check out the NaNo forums to find some like-minded writers. You can add writing buddies on the NaNo site if you know others writing this year.
Well stocked Freezer
This won’t apply to everyone but is useful if you are usually the main (or only cook) in your household. Having a few meals prepped and stocked in the freezer can make a big difference on those days when you need to get in words around your homework, the kids soccer practice, or date night. I find I use my slow cooker more than usual during the month of November. A few of my friends swear by planning out meals for the entire month before Nov 1, so they don’t have to spend any extra time thinking about meal prep during a month filled with words, words, and more words.
While you can’t start writing until Nov 1st you can start plotting/planning anytime. If you are a plotter make sure you have your notebooks, computer files or note cards ready and waiting for Nov 1st. I plot, outline and keep notes with pen and paper. I like moleskin notebooks or I have a lovely leather cover for a classic blueline A19 notebook. I also like to colour code and always have my bic 4 colour pen ready and waiting in case those plot bunnies show up.
Are you ready for November 1st? I don’t have as much plotted as I would like, but I’m feeling pretty ready other than that.
Disclaimer: I don’t have an affiliation or get anything from the companies I have posted products from. I do have a full version of Scrivener which I bought with my winners coupon many years ago.