If you have been dabbling with the idea of participating in NaNoWriMo, make sure you read to the end to know how to prep for NaNoWriMo, I will also gift you a free workbook filled with tips to help you survive Nanowrimo, the workbook will show you how to scale NaNoWriMo unscathed.
The first step is;
This is where you decide what to write about, I like to call this the idea generation stage, if you don’t have an idea to start with, now is a good time to create one, there are ideas all around you, you only need a nose to sniff them out. There’s a saying that “you can’t get water out of a tap unless you turn it on”, in this case, my guess is, the water inside you is the idea and turning it on is writing 😁.
In other words, be open to these ideas around you. Chimamanda is a Nigerian bestselling author and in one of her interviews she describes herself as a chronic eavesdropper, she says she likes to eavesdrop on people’s conversations. Now, I am not telling you to eavesdrop but to pay attention to details! you can get story ideas from real-life scenarios by being a good listener, you don’t need to sit down and think up a storm for a special idea, it’s all around you. All you need is an open mind and a listening ear, another way to get inspired is to read, read any literature you can lay your hands on, read wild, from genres you consider writing to genres you have no interest in writing, this will give you a sharpened writers instinct. Don’t copy ideas from these books but rather gather inspiration.
Character Building or Development
To get started with character-building the two most important steps is to establish your character internal motivation and create a character profile. Your character internal motivation basically tells us what motivates your characters to do whatever they do, to do this you need to nail their fundamental goals first. The next step is to create a character profile, this contains all the details of your character in one place. For more information on this, start here.
Write your Synopsis
Your synopsis helps you grab the attention of your readers, so I strongly advise you to always write your synopsis down.
Outlining and Story Structure
Your outline process depends on if you are a plotter or a pantser, pantsers don’t do much of outling, if you are a plotter there are a lot of outling processes you would love to use but the three act story structure is my all time favourite, It is widely known and very easy to use. It contains three acts which is the setup, confrontation and resolution.
World-Building and Research
When doing research and world-building, ensure you build your world before you write, this helps you stay efficient during NaNoWriMo. When world-building, remove elements that have no importance to your character’s journey, don’t infuse things because you liked the sound of it, you need to create a balance between the things that are important and things that you like how they flow with your story.
The uniqueness of a world is focused on the direct impact on your protagonist, so if it has no impact on your protagonist I don’t think you need to infuse it in your story and don’t get stuck in a research loophole. A good practice is to time yourself when you’re doing research, so you don’t get lost in 20 tabs on your computer.
Plan Your Writing Time
This concerns your writing schedule and routine, before NaNoWriMo you need to set out the time of the day that you are most productive to write! This needs to be set up before Nanowrimo begins for maximum benefit; you also need to prioritize your writing and get a calendar to map out your schedule.
Productivity Tips For NaNoWriMo
- Deep Clean Your Writing Space: I don’t know about you but, I am most productive when my writing space is organized, It helps me write better and there’s a better flow of ideas when you are enjoying your writing.
- Organize Your Notes, Journals and Documents: if you have ideas scattered everywhere containing your work in progress, you need to organize it, so everything is put together for when you start writing. This removes the back and forth in search of anything.
- Clear your to-do List: Get non-Nano task out of your calendar, anything that is going to take a lot of your time during Nanowrimo, take out time to do it during preptober season, this will help you write efficiently.
- For more tips on your writing productivity, start here.
Don’t Neglect Self-Care
There are a lot of things that will enhance your self-care during NaNoWriMo, firstly; change your scenery, get out of the house when you can, don’t sit at a place forever, if you write at a desk, get up and move! You can go out for a stroll and enjoy the fresh air, go for a drive, anything but being stuck at a place during NaNoWriMo. Always have your self-care survival kit to prevent exhaustion and burn out,
- Stuck up on goodies such as healthy snacks, fruits and nuts because you’re going to be sitting down for a long time.
Test Run Your Tools & Schedule
If you have never done it before it’s going to be really hard to form a habit of doing them immediately, so if on your schedule you want to write every single day between the hours of a certain time, try doing it for a few days to test run your new schedule and if you’re using new software or tool, test it out too, whatever medium you are using to write ensure you test it out, and lastly test run your writing patterns, try out different patterns that would work for you during NaNoWriMo.
Some Tough Love Along The Way
- Don’t edit as you write.
- Ignore your inner critic, let the ideas flow, remember it’s the first draft, not a novel this means you’re writing your first draft, not your novel! You have enough time to revise & edit after NaNoWriMo.
Some Writing Tips To Take Note
- Avoid the use of info dumps.
- Use dialogue instead.
- If it doesn’t advance your story don’t include it.
- Simple is always better, avoid the use of dramatic words when simple words would convey the same meaning.
Tackle Writer’s Block
Writer’s block is not your friend! a good way to tackle it is to skip a scene when you lack words to write, you don’t need to write in a chronological order every time, you can move on to the next scene that you have an idea about, start working on it and come back to the previous scene later, If you are concerned about your ideas scattered everywhere, you can always organize it into one solid piece afterwards, and be kind to yourself, writer’s block can be draining so don’t be too hard on yourself.
Tying Loose Ends
- Don’t obsess over the quality of your manuscript, write now, revise later.
- Simple errors are bound to happen, see it as an experiment.
- Don’t intentionally write fluff, don’t be careless with your writing even if the goal for NaNoWriMo is quantity.
- Lastly, the Nano-experience is all about the process, the discipline and connecting with your writing ability to create a story.
Create A Reward System
A reward system will keep you motivated to surge ahead, but don’t set overly large rewards. I don’t know your preference, and I can’t recommend anything but a good place to begin is to create a list of things that nourish you and start from there. Don’t forget to hype yourself, get excited you are writing a book, hype yourself always!
Join A Writing Community
A writing community creates a sense of accountability knowing that thousands of people are writing with you, that is a huge motivation, are you excited? You can join a writing community on the NaNoWriMo forum or join Facebook groups where daily wins are celebrated.
Prepare A Good Playlist
The thing about music for writers is that it sets the mood for writing right away, at least for me, NaNoWriMo runs for a whole month and listening to only one song can take the fun out of writing; take out time before it begins to curate your own playlist of your favourite writing music. Several writers like myself write with music on, sometimes in the background or on our headphones or whatever medium we like. If music helps you write, prepare a playlist that will help you during NaNoWriMo.
Set your personal goals for NaNoWriMo, the goal for NaNoWriMo is 50,000 words but if you have a different goal for NaNoWriMo that’s cool! See it as an experiment not a competition.
These are all my tips to fully prepare you for NaNoWriMo, I hope you start & finish your novel and achieve all your writing goals, and just as promised, below is your free Nanowrimo Workbook, have fun with your writing and don’t forget to drop your feedback here after NaNoWriMo, Goodluck!