10 Ways to Prepare for NaNoWriMo

Filed in Writing Tips by on October 13, 2020 0 Comments

Thousands have credited NaNoWriMo in helping them finish a writing project. Here are 10 ways you can get a jump start and be prepared for NaNoWriMo...

We’re a few weeks out from the biggest novel writing challenge of the year: National Novel Writing Month! Every November, writers from around the world dedicate themselves to cranking out a 50,000-word first draft manuscript in 30 days. Tons of writers have gone on to publish their books after the challenge, and thousands have credited the process to help them finish a writing project that’s been sitting on their hearts for years.

If this is the year you’ve decided to write your novel, you still have plenty of time to finish the first draft before the end of the year, and joining NaNoWriMo can help.

Here are 10 ways you can get a jumpstart on NanWriMo this month without padding your word count ahead of time.

1. Create an account at NaNoWriMo.org

All you have to do is create a username and password, and confirm your email address to sign up.

2. Set up your profile and join your region.

Next, you’ll want to add a photo of yourself to your profile, add a short, interesting bio about yourself, and join the dedicated group for the region you live in. NaNoWriMo has always been a virtually based experience, so not much has changed with the pandemic except for the fact that there will be no group write-ins around your city.

3. Leave an introduction post about yourself on the thread for your region.

Once you join the group for your region, make sure to add a post to your region’s thread to introduce yourself and make some fast writing friends. You’ll want all the support you can get during the month of November.

4. Review the Nano Prep section of the NaNoWriMo website.

This is a great addition over the last few years because it helps participants get a lot of the prework out of the way before the writing clock begins. Take some time this month to review this section.

5. Start the Nano Prep 101 course.

The prep course is technically six weeks long, and while there aren’t six weeks until November you still have plenty of time to work through the weekly breakdowns to set yourself up for success.

6. Add virtual writing sessions you’ll want to participate in your calendar.

Review the NaNoWriMo calendar and see if there are any virtual sessions you want to attend in the month of October. These are great practice runs for virtual events during November.

7. Write your novel premise.

A premise is the elevator pitch for your book, and it’s what you’d deliver to a potential agent or editor who may be interested in your book in the future. The premise must be short but succinct and must be attention-grabbing. Your premise also helps keep you on task during the novel-writing process because you don’t want to navigate your writing away from it.

8. Focus on character development.

It’s important to have well-developed characters and that takes time. Create character profiles for each of your characters so you can begin to understand their personalities, temperaments, likes and dislikes, and their motivations. Doing this work helps you avoid flat characters in your writing.

9. Get some preliminary research out of the way.

If you’re writing historical fiction, science fiction, or are heavily relying on a real location for your novel, then you need to do as much research and note-taking as possible.

For historical fiction, you’ll not only want to research a specific town during that time period to model your novel’s location after, but you’ll also need to research popular word choices for that time period, medical advancements, and technology—or lack of—to ensure that your book will be as historically accurate as you can possibly get it. There’s nothing worse than reading a novel set in the 1800s and seeing the phrase, “what’s up?”

10. Decide where you’ll get the time to write 1,667 words a day for 30 days.

Hitting 1,667 words every day for 30 days may not sound like a lot but also sound unachievable at the same time. Keep in mind that even at the slowest pace, a writer should be able to get 500 words on paper in an hour. So, if you stay on task for two hours (or less) every day, you can easily hit 50,000 words in 30 days. Also keep in mind that if you know you have specific days during the month that you will not be able to write at all, you will want to plan ahead and add that day’s word count to a few other days to spread out the work.

Then, come November 1st, you’ll be on a well-organized path to writing success because you won’t lose time to outline your story, develop characters, or do surface-level research. You can dive straight into writing on day one of the challenges.

Check out our other NaNoWriMo articles for more inspiration.

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About the Author ()

Erika Bennett is the Content Manager for Xulon Press. She has worked in the publishing industry for more than a decade and her passion is to make sure great books find their way into readers' hands. You can also find her writing on XulonPress.Substack.com.

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