Here the long awaited NaNoWriMo prep list that I use to make it through the legendary challenge of writing 50k in just 30 days!
Yes, murder. I’m not saying you should go out and kill the annoying bird that always wakes you up in the morning, but to kill the biggest things standing in between you and writing.
Even if you love writing there is always something that can distract you from your true goal of writing. It can be worse than any side quest in a game!
That wonderfully annoying voice in your head, telling you the things you are writing are horrible and those pesky distractions need to go! Unhook the cable to your TV and add a sticky note to it saying “Have you reached your word goal?” if you have to!
And most importantly: use the function on you PC/Laptop to disable all notifications temporarily. If you don’t have interesting notifications popping up left and right, you have less chance of getting side tracked.
2. Set a time
Most of us have a pretty hard schedule as it is, so we need to plan ahead when and where we can write. When you try and figure out what time you can write best, you should not only think about where it would fit in your schedule, but what time you like to write.
I prefer to write either during the late hours of the morning, or at night. This of course doesn’t work for everyone, but trial an error can help you find the perfect time to hit that keyboard or paper!
3. Inlist friends and family
When you escape from reality for 30 days, it will make people wonder just where you are and why they haven’t seen you in a while.
Instead of letting them wonder what in the world is going on with you, tell them and make them your ultimate tool!
When you tell people what you have in mind, most of them will think you’re insane. Use that to make a bet with them or promise them something. For instance you can say that you’ll help them in something you really don’t like or bake for them, if you fail.
Who really want’s to bake a dozen cakes, when they could be holding their own book in their hands?!
4. Keep track
During NanoWriMo you can easily loose track of what you need to write. (Unless you are a math genius in which case I envy you). There are a tone of fun calendars you can choose from that will make writing down your achievement of the day a fun and rewarding experience.
Personally I use the following chart, because it let’s me visually see what I have done and how far I still have to go. I also add in little rewards as an extra incentive.
When I first started with NaNoWriMo I printed it out and laminated it, so I can fill it out every year and use it outside of NaNo as well, since it doesn’t have pre-set dates on it.
The little blocks for every day are in 500 word steps and I like to mark them in. 🙂
During NaNoWriMo you will find that at some point (usually to the end) you will have problems getting to your word goal, as that pesky thing called life catches up to you. To get through the rough patches, have a stable amount of caffeine ready and on hand.
For those of us that don’t like coffee and don’t want to drink huge amounts of unhelthy sugar, black tea is a good and healthy alternative. You can get it in a lot of flavors, it’s nice and warm for the colder fall nights and it’s cheap!
You could think that getting caffeine ist enough to keep you going, but you will also need food to get to your goal. Most people say to stock up on sweets, but I that is only half of what you need. Instead of pigging out on unhealthy food, try to prep some food for the week. There are really simple recipies online that can last a week in a fridge easily.
(A few sweets here and there are great too though) 😉
7. Enlist friends
If you enjoy writing, chances are some of your friends will/do too. Tell them about NaNo and see if they won’t join you for the quest of your personal book.
It’s fun to challenge them in their word goals and helps motivate you to actually do more than just the absolute necessary and meeting up with them to write on the weekends is fun.
Plotting helps actually being able to make it to the finish line. You can check out my previous post for some tips on how to do that.
Just remember that you need to make more points and plan more the further you are in the book, because it gets harder as you go along to really bring all those red lines together. For those of you who want to wing it: “Good luck!”
9. Make a comfortable place to write
This isn’t necessary, but it can make everything so much easier. It doesn’t matter if you make a desk more personal, find a favorite spot in a café or if you set up a pillow fort, as long as you feel relaxed, it helps!
10. Remember the goal
Always keep your goal in mind, and I don’t mean the 50k, but getting your story out there. No matter if you just want it on paper or to actually publish it, it’s what you should really be focused on.
And last but not least: Have fun. 🙂
I hope this list will help anyone going for the 50k and maybe we will see each other on the finish line!
Also, I would like to mention my event coming up next month. I am going to the Frankfurt Book Fair this year and one of their main themes is self publishing. Since I know a lot of people can’t go, I am offering to research any questions you have on the topic, while I’m there.