NaNo Prep: The Last Gasp

We’ve been preparing for NaNoWriMo all month, and now the event itself is in sight: Friday you start working on your NaNo novel. If you’ve been following along, you have a protagonist, some goals and obstacles, a list of potential scenes to write, and you’ve done research on a few of the details you’d like to include in your story. So what next?

The truth is you now have more than many authors do when they begin a book, and that’s because your goal is to write fast. 50,000 words in 30 days is an achievable goal, but having a bit of a road map will certainly make it easier for you to just plow ahead and write every day. So now I’m going to offer up a few ideas for how to get ready for NaNoWriMo that have nothing to do with your actual book.

Eliminate unnecessary distractions

Are you the type to waste time on the internet when you should be writing? Check out software such as Freedom that will allow you to block your internet access for a set period of time while you get your words down. Daydream too much because your desk faces the window? Turn it around for the month of November so you’re staring at a wall.

Reschedule unnecessary appointments

Do you have a visit to the dentist or your annual physical on the calendar for November? Move it to December and free up a couple of hours for writing. Let your hair grow a little long and skip the trim, if you’re due to visit the hair dresser or barber. And if you absolutely need to keep an appointment where it is, make sure to bring a small notebook so you can scribble in the waiting room while you’re there.

Stock up on supplies

Prep your kitchen with plenty of fixings for quick meals so you don’t forget to eat when you’re deep into your writing. A pantry stocked with dried pasta and canned tomatoes, jars of peanut butter, dried or canned beans, tuna, plus a freezer full of frozen veggies, chicken or veggie stock pre-made and frozen in ice cube form, and a couple of frozen casseroles, will keep you going on days when you’d rather not take time out to shop. Also, lay in a supply of snacks, both healthy and treats. Think granola bars, trail mix, licorice, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate covered espresso beans… whatever makes you happy. And finally, your favorite caffeinated beverages, such as coffee, tea, hot chocolate, etc.

In the non-edible category, you want whatever writing supplies you prefer. Even if you compose on your computer, it can be handy to switch off to a notebook sometimes, especially if you’re on the go, so pick up some notebooks and a supply of pens. If you like printing pages to reread what you’ve written, make sure you’ve got a ream of paper and ink/toner for your printer.

Plus don’t forget basic household items like tissues, paper towels, toilet paper, shampoo, dish soap, etc. Keep shopping trips to a minimum this way.

Writing friends

Cheerleaders can be helpful when you’re scratching your head, wondering why you ever took on such a huge challenge. If you haven’t already done so, check out the NaNoWriMo site for information about how to locate fellow participants in your area. There will be periodic meet ups on the local level, where writers get together in coffee shops to churn out words and talk about their progress.

There are just a few days remaining before the big event begins, so take this time to prepare mentally and physically. Good luck, and happy writing!