“There are some things you can only learn in a storm.”
So, it’s finally here! There is literally one FULL day until NaNoWriMo begins. Jeez.
Starting Thursday, writers across the globe will be taking part in writing a minimum of 50,000 words on their novel in 30 days. I’ve noticed an awful lot of panic and last minute preparation on social media over the past week, and I too am getting a little fidgety. It’s good to know that no matter how much I’ve stressed over getting everything ready over the past few months, I honestly feel ready to jump in with everything I’ve got!
So, what have I prepared?
Well, I’m definitely a planner. Pretty much everything you could have planned for…I have planned for. Being my first NaNoWriMo, I wanted to be as prepared as possible – my worst nightmare is being 1 week in with absolutely no ideas!
I’ve written around 20 chapter plans in detail now, and I think that’s more than enough to give me a little breathing space if needed. I’ve realised (after a little advice from the NaNo community) that it’s okay to leave stuff out to leave room for any inspirational boosts that may appear throughout November.
Next, I’ve settled on 4 significant characters in my novel. I may be swapping and changing who I focus on throughout, but the majority of my story will follow one particular character. I’ve written a character overview for each person, then gone into even more specific details in my character profiles. There’s also a few other minor characters that appear in the odd chapter, such as my MC’s mum, sister and niece. I don’t need to write about these people in detail though. I just hope the amount of significant characters I have isn’t too many! I’m sure we’ll soon find out…
Okay, next thing is that I’ve created a couple of ‘motivational boards’ if you like. The first is a NaNoWriMo board to track my daily word count. Looking at this each day will show me what my target word count goal is for any particular day and also the exact number of words I write. This will be updated daily so it’ll be easy to see my progress, either good or bad! Alongside this, I’ve also made myself a little motivational corkboard, including some prompt, some of my favourite pictures and just some funny ones to get me through. Both of these will be on show in my writing space, alongside my lovely new cacti (which I had to buy some fancy pots for, of course).
What’s left to do?
In the time I’ve got left until kick off, I’ve got my survival kit to buy, e.g. hot chocolate stash, food goodies and maybe a bottle of wine for the bad days. I also want to prepare a Spotify playlist of music that gets my mind and imagination working a little. Not sure if I’m going to separate this playlist into songs for characters, chapters or scenes, but I’m sure a random mixture of both will do just fine. I’ve left it a little late to be going into too much depth! Whoops. I tend to use video game soundtracks to write to. Games with a great story behind the music tend to work really well for me.
And…that’s it. In my head, I thought there was a longer list than that, but just seeing that typed on screen has made me think that there’s really nothing left to worry about…apart from the word count!
Things to remember.
I can’t dish out advice on NaNoWriMo like it’s second nature because I’ve never done it before. However, for all those taking part this year, newbie or not, I can give some words of wisdom and encouragement!
If there is one piece of advice I really took away from those chats on the NaNoWriMo Facebook group, it’s that you need to ignore the editing. Okay, you’re allowed to fix some typos here and there if you must, but try to stay away from editing. This wastes time, and as a fellow writer once told me, it’s all about quantity not necessarily quality for NaNoWriMo, which is true to an extent.
Look after yourself.
We know it can sometimes be easier to lock ourselves away and turn into hermit when we need to write, but it can actually do more harm than good. NaNoWriMo posted a really helpful article about self care tips for November, mentioning things such as getting enough sleep, remembering to feed yourself and knowing when to take a break. Your health is always more important than anything else!
Didn’t hit that 50k?
Honestly, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, many people choose to set their own targets of a much lower word count. It all depends on where your comfort zone is and how far you can risk expanding it (whilst also keeping it achievable). As I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo this year on behalf of Cancer Research, a charity extremely close to my heart, I’m going for that 50k, and I’m confident I’ll smash it.
Just do your best.
Don’t stress yourself out over typing some letters on a screen. If you’re behind one day, that’s okay. You can catch up the next day, or the next week. Don’t become so caught up in forcing yourself to stick to a particular word count. If you get half way through and think that you’re not going hit your target, just do as much as you can. You’ll more than likely have got a big chunk of your novel done, which you wouldn’t have got done before, and hopefully, you’ll feel much more inspired to write more in future. Just do the best you can and no one can expect you to do more!
Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo on Thursday? Do you’ll think you’ll smash your target word count? If so, how are you preparing and how much have you planned things out? 🙂