Oh dear. It’s time to pay the piper.
I have not finished Secret Book, so yet again, I shall hijack NaNoWriMo to do this. I plan to use the NaNo widget and not the Secret Book one on my blog currently (I’ll plug in the starting number I have right now).
I’ve been thinking about posts—do you really want me to write a post every day in addition to my NaNo obligations, or do you just want a word count? A couple of years ago, I posted word counts and a funny video each day. I was thinking about doing that again. Thoughts, anyone?
Whatever I do, like everyone else who plans on doing NaNoWriMo (we’re all mad, I tell you), I need to do some prep work first.
Image: countryfolkcollection.com / Sir John Tenniel, 1865
Below, I have listed below some things writers can do to make this month-long journey easier, in no particular order.
Clean the shit out of your house
Do all your autumn cleaning now, folks. You won’t have time to give it more than a lick and a promise after you begin writing. If you’re lucky enough to have a significant other who is 100% behind you on NaNo, then know that I hate you. No, just kidding—enlist their help.
Besides getting your house/flat/shed/garage shipshape, cleaning and a bit of rearranging will freshen up your space, and this can clear cobwebs from your mind. Get rid of clutter. You’ll spend less time dusting before you sit down to write. Move furniture around. A new arrangement feels like a new room.
Organize your meals
If you’re like me, you work full-time and write after you get home. I plan to cook and freeze a bunch of soup. I also have a small slow cooker, and recently, I saw an article containing pre-made slow cooker recipes. All I have to do is throw one in before I leave for work and pray the damn cooker doesn’t burn my house down before I get home.
If you don’t cook much, you can put your favorite delivery places on speed-dial. You’ll have to plan around this one, however, since a delivery constitutes an interruption. The last thing you need during your writing time is a pizza courier banging on the door and scaring the living crap out of you. Not like I’d know about that, or anything.
Let people know what you’re doing
Got friends/neighbors/service people who drop in on a regular basis? Let them know what’s going on. If you want to hang a sign, that’s fine—make sure they know that when they see it, they’re not to disturb you except in cases of imminent catastrophe. Arrange to pay them virtually or drop it where they can find it when they’re done.
Image: Jeff Kolakowski, West Chester, Pa / philadelphia.cbslocal.com
Create an outline
Finally, you say, she’s got to the writing bit of this. This is my best tip. If you already have an idea, you should have started outlining by now. No? Shame on you. Get busy.
An outline, much like your primary school teachers told you, will help organize your thoughts. It can be as elaborate or as simple as you like—chapter-by-chapter, or a series of notes. Outlines provide a rough idea of where you want your story to go.
Don’t live and die by your outline. It can and will change as your story does. You may not have an idea and you might decide you’re just going to wing it. Go with it, you rebel.
Image by Elizabeth West
Your first week, write ahead of your word count
U.S. NaNo-ers will have to contend with the Thanksgiving holiday. Four days of family, sport (NFL games and ISU Grand Prix competition), Black Friday shopping (if you’re completely mad), and enough food to put you into a coma. If your family is cooperative, you can slip away to get a few pages in while everyone sprawls in front of the TV like a pod of beached whales.
Image: Ambro / freedigitalphotos.net
If not, you’ll have to make it up before the holiday arrives. Write extra toward your word count. Even if you do nothing Thanksgiving-related, you will have built up a reserve in case any unforeseen events keep you from writing.
These are just a few suggestions to help you prepare for the onslaught of wording you’re going to sail through like a boss. Good luck, Wrimos!
An interview with Chris Baty, founder of NaNoWriMo
Emily Wenstrom’s prep for NaNoWriMo steps
More prep tips from Robbie Blair at LitReactor
Make-ahead meals from Buzzfeed (ideas—your mileage may vary based on your diet and budget)
As much as I would like to see a new post everyday, I think you should choose the option that doesn’t leave you an exhausted pile of goo (whichever that may be ). Either way I wish you luck and productiveness! :)
Hahaha, pile of goo–that’s basically how I feel at the end of NaNoWriMo anyway!
I’ll probably go for the tinypost/word count/video thing. There are TONS of hilarious vids out there. I have friends who post them all day long, so sharing will be easy. :D
On Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 9:43 PM, Graphomaniac – Elizabeth West wrote:
As ever, Liz, you manage a seamless weave of education and wit. I’m not proud to admit it, but I ghosted three novels (60,000 words each) between 2013—2015, and for each I would have sold my spleen to have 30 days of uninterrupted writing. Why would any writer do this? $$$$$, and the necessity of having it. These days, I’m more discerning about which projects to take on. HOWEVER: NaNoWriMo is a tremendous way to really stretch yourself, see how much you actually can do, and come away from the challenge with 50,000 words. Reward yourself if you pull it off—big-time. Sit back and say, “Man, I did it! And lived to tell the tale! Here’s proof, naysayers!”
Heh, thanks William. :) You can get along without your spleen just fine; be careful not to let them take anything important along with it! D8
I’ve done NaNo before–but since I’m always in the middle of projects and usually forget about it until practically the last minute, it’s never a start-from-scratch endeavour. As a way to force myself to finish something, it works brilliantly, however!
Uninterrupted writing time….what’s that? :P
On Wed, Oct 14, 2015 at 10:40 PM, Graphomaniac – Elizabeth West wrote: