Here we go again.
NanoWrimo season is creeping upon us. Last year, I won NanoWrimo by writing 50,000 words in one month. If that sounds insane, it’s because it was. And just to prove to you all I have remained crazy, I’m going to do it again this year.
Last year, I did a fairly traditional Nano- I had a very rough first chapter written for a novel, some outlines, and a lot of determination going in. I wrote a full 50,000 words in the parameters of the month.
This year, I’m doing things a little bit differently. I’m hoping to edit the novel that I wrote in the last Nano, as well as working on some smaller projects. Considering that the purpose of NanoWrimo is to write one book without editing, I guess I’m breaking almost every rule, but I am staying true to its spirit- I still want to have written a collective of 50,000 words by the end of November, and I want to do it in a fit of stress and excitement with all you other writers!
In preparation for NanoWrimo, I’m putting together a survival kit. In it are things that helped me win last year, as well as items I desperately wished I’d had!
So, with no further ado, I am proud to present…
1. Some form of a back-up
All right. Story time. Last year, halfway into NanoWrimo, when I had 27,000 words written, I thought I’d lost my manuscript. I hit a button on word, my admittedly old laptop froze, and when I was able to restart my computer, I was missing a huge chunk of words. I panicked. I went through everything my 6th grade computer apps teacher taught me. After several frantic calls in the near middle of the night to someone with great computer skills, (Thanks Mike!) I realized that I had just created a text box, and that’s where the words were. I was able to get my writing back. But I learned a valuable lesson that day. For goodness sake, KEEP A BACKUP OF YOUR MANUSCRIPT! Update it every day. More than once a day. Put in on google drive, put it on a flash drive, just make sure you save your work! Save yourself a midnight panic of almost losing the most precious thing you’ve created.
2. A journal
By the end of November, my eyes were twitching. Staring at the computer all day isn’t exactly healthy, so take a break from the screen and keep writing by using a journal. I never wrote scenes of my novel by hand, but I did plot, character develop, and more inside a trusty notebook during Nano. It really kept me organized!
3. A fun cup/mug to keep hydrated
I’m not going to lie: I’m not really a coffee fan. I don’t like tea either. I sort of feel like I’m breaking a long, unspoken pact that all writers must be obsessed with caffeination, but I am stubbornly a hot chocolate lover. Regardless of your beverage choice, make sure to keep drinking with a motivational/literary cup or mug. Who knows? You might even try water one day. 😉
4. Crunchy Snacks
Keep crunchy snacks by your writing desk. This serves two purposes. Number one, when you’re hungry and angry that you just found a plot hole, you can viciously bite down on a carrot pretending it’s all those who have ever opposed you. Number two, it eliminates the procrastinator’s habit of getting up and going to the kitchen instead of writing. (Or is it just me who does that?)
At this point in my life, I confess I am pretty committed to smelling like a Marshmallow Pumpkin Latte. I was just going to buy the hand lotion, but then the saleslady said it was a 3-for-one sale of perfume, lotion, and soap, and then there was a black blur, and now I smell like Pinterest.
5. Good-smelling Hand Lotion
Okay, so hear me out. If you are doing NanoWrimo, you are preparing for a month of looking at your hands. 30 STRAIGHT DAYS OF LOOKING AT YOUR HANDS. By some nice lotion. It’ll make them smell pretty, it’ll make them look pretty, and also, if you think your hands won’t be sore at the end of this, you’ve got another thing coming. Just buy some lotion.
Writing is often an isolated act, but in this case, you’re going to need your friends and family. Having such a strong cast of people supporting me was one of the reasons I won. There are going to be ups and there are going to be downs so deep it’ll seem impossible to ever climb up again. Tell the people who love you what you are about to do. You are going to need them. You will need their guidance and sympathy, their advice and support. Make friends with people who are attempting to do Nano as well. You’re all in this together.
I usually use the timer app on my phone, but if you’re feeling fancy, try one of these spiffy watches.
50,000 words is a huge goal. Make it smaller. Get a timer and set it for ten minutes. Tell yourself that in that ten minutes, you are going to write 200 words. Take a break. Then do it again. Take another break. Do it again. Pace yourself, and take it a couple of words at a time. This is how you win NanoWrimo. This is how you write 50,000 words- by taking it goal by goal.
If you like listening to music, this one’s an obvious, but even if you don’t, I suggest buying earbuds and putting them in. Just a couple of sentences ago, I was talking about how amazing your friends and family are. And they are spectacular, and they love you, but they love you so much they’re going to want to talk to you while you’re writing. That’s a no-no. Guard your writing time. Be prepared to give up social obligations in November. Know that in this month, your writing comes first. And also know that you are going to be baking a lot of thank you cookies come December.
9. Left Over Halloween Candy
To be honest, I had five king size Crunch bars left over from Halloween, and I ate one every time I reached a 10,000 milestone. Reward yourself. Writing’s hard.
10. A Calendar
One thing that I wish I’d had last year was a calendar to better plan things out. So this year, I made one! I am by no means a graphic design artist, but I tried my best to create a November 2016 calendar with the daily word counts that you should follow in order to reach 50,000.
You can use it to track your word count, plan out your events for November, and scribble notes about your writing in the margins! If you want to use it, right click on the image to save it, put in a word document, or program like word, and print it out- it’s free.
So, how many of you are participating in Nanowrimo this year? Are you going traditional or nontraditional? Are you just as crazy as I am? Tell me about all your writing plans in the comments.