Thursday, October 13, 2016

How to Prepare for #NaNoWriMo Now (+ FREE Printable Planner)

It's almost time for NaNoWriMo! What is NaNoWriMo, you ask? It stands for National Novel Writing Month, the spree in which brave writers go for 50,000 words during the 30 days of November. It's quite the feat, y'all.

This fast drafting technique certainly doesn't work with everyone's style, schedule, and preferences. But if you're going to be brave enough to attempt it, here's how you can start preparing now:

Flesh out your story idea. Even if you're not a natural plotter, developing a general idea of where you want your story to go can give you a makeshift roadmap and keep you from getting stuck. As more threads of the story reveal themselves, write a short summary of each from beginning, middle, to end for scene inspiration.

Get to know your characters. Employ your favorite character sketches, interviews, personality quizzes and the like before you start drafting. They probably won't be fully fleshed out until you get into the thick of the story if you're like me, but if you know who your characters are, then you will have a better clue of what they will do in certain situations to keep you on pace with your NaNoWriMo goals.

Prepare for real life. Are there any events going on in your real life during November that will take up significant amounts of time? Trips or visits planned? Work deadlines? Be sure to budget your daily word count for these days. If you can work ahead to make those commitments as seamless as possible, start now. If you're in charge of the cooking at your house, I would also recommend devoting a weekend in October to stock your freezer with dinners you can throw in the crockpot to save time and money. {Check out 20 Healthy Freezer Meals You Can Prep in Three Hours from Stockpile Moms}

Plan your writing logistics. Incorporating a significant chunk of time for writing is an adjustment for many, but with a little discipline and planning, you can do it. It may require some early mornings or late nights, but if you look at it as an addition to your routine and set aside a specific time to reach your goals, this will help you stay consistent.

For me, this last step meant going against every natural inclination in my body by setting my alarm early and then squeezing in a few words between answering work emails and kids waking up from their naps. But it taught me that a sustainable writing habit is possible in the midst of the craziness -- one word at a time.

I come bearing gifts! Download my printable 30-day NaNoWriMo planner for FREE by clicking here. I'm no designer, but this tool helped me write 30,000 words last NaNoWriMo before I got revision requests back and had to shift my focus to editing. 

Are you typically a fast or slow writer? How have you been intentional about incorporating regular writing time into your busy schedule?


Laurie Tomlinson is an award-winning contemporary romance author and cheerleader for creatives. She believes that God's love is unfailing, anything can be accomplished with a good to-do list, and that life should be celebrated with cupcakes and extra sprinkles. 

Previously a full-time book publicist, Laurie now serves as a virtual assistant and runs a freelance editing and PR consulting business called 1624 Communications

She lives with her husband and two small children in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where they are eagerly awaiting the release of her debut contemporary romance novel in May 2017 from Harlequin Heartwarming.

You can connect with Laurie on her website, Facebook page, and Twitter


kaybee said...

This is good, Laurie. Don't know yet if I'm doing it this year, but I agree, it's better with a plan. I did it last year and used a setting from another of my books and a couple of minor characters from that book, so I didn't have to invent everything from scratch.
Kathy Bailey
Still unpublished, but not from lack of organization

Ashley Clark said...

Laurie, you are always so organized! It amazes me! Great ideas/tips!

Unknown said...

I've never done NaNoWriMo before but have really been considering it this year, so this was really helpful! LOVE your suggestion about making some freezer meals ahead of time!