Get Ready for (and Stick with) NaNoWriMo in 6 Easy Steps!
Guys, NaNoWriMo (or, for the uninitiated: National Novel Writing Month) is coming up verrrry soon. For all you budding writers out there, this is the perfect chance to really put your skills to the test and see if you can create an actual book-length story in a mere four weeks. However, trying to knock out an entire novel in the month of November is no easy task. With that in mind, here are a few tips we can give you to get prepared and also help stick with it 'til the end!
1. Write a lot. It's often stated that the goal of NaNoWriMo is not to complete some amazing finished product but just to get something done. Basically, you're going to want to write every day to make sure you reach your goal. You know the easiest way to get ready for something like that? Write. Every day. Lots of writers will tell you that the best way to produce is just to stay in practice. Look at NaNoWriMo like a marathon. If you were about to run a bunch of miles, well, you'd probably start by doing some jogging around your neighborhood, right? So consider this weekend your stretching phase, and maybe make the first week of November your warm-up. Then, by week two, you'll be up to a sustainable but healthy speed.
2. Read a lot. Besides actually writing, the best way to figure out what kind of stuff you want to create is to spend your time soaking up the other stuff that's out there. Our work is nothing, really, but a collection of our influences. And while you won't want to make your novel an exact copy of something you love like, say, Harry Potter, you certainly should be looking to authors you admire for inspiration. Study their technique. Look at how they structure plots, how they make use of words, what they let you know about their characters. Compare that to how you do those things and you can probably learn something. With that in mind, maybe take this weekend to revisit your very favorite book or movie. That might get you jazzed to make something special of your own.
3. Set aside time each day to write a lot and read a lot. Everyone is busy all of the time. This is just inescapable. But if you really want to reach your NaNoWriMo goals, you can't keep putting it off 'til the last minute. Find time in your daily schedule to just commit something to page or screen… and start thinking about this now, a few days before you actually have to start. It doesn't have to be a lot of time, and, again, what you write doesn't have to be good. It just has to exist.
4. Find friends with similar goals. History has proven again and again that creative people can motivate each other to do awesome things. That means that your chances of sticking with NaNoWriMo might increase if you find some like-minded people to keep you honest (like going on a diet but, you know, not). The Internet makes this easier than ever. There are tons of websites out there with people gearing up to create in November—like this one. Get the jump on finding a group of folks you enjoy with whom to share your progress and work through the inevitable blocks in creativity. Knowing other people are right there with you will make the journey that much easier.
5. Think a little long term. What you produce during NaNoWriMo probably won't be the Great American Novel. And that's a-ok. Get ready to go into November with the mindset that you may not even like what you get out there. But also, go in with realistic goals to sculpt whatever it is you create in this mad dash to December into something really great when you've got more time. Look at November as your chance to produce a lengthy, quick first draft. That will help you keep your confidence up throughout the month and give you something to look forward to at the end of it all.
6. Make a few good "get psyched" playlists. Trust us, they'll help. Let us suggest this song as a great place to start.