5 Things To Do Before NaNoWriMo

by Gurpreet Sihat

It’s that time of year again! NaNoWriMo is almost upon us.

With only one week remaining, the writing community is splitting into two groups: one group bustling with last minute preparations and the other twiddling their thumbs and waiting to finally wake up to November 1st.

I’ve done it all. I’ve been a ‘panster’ and gone in head first with only a blank document and my imagination. I’ve been a ‘plotter’ and planned to within an inch of my life. And yet only once have I won NaNoWriMo: when I found an equilibrium between the two.

Here are my top five things to do in the run up to November to help you win NaNoWriMo:

  1. Don’t write any fiction from now until November 1st!

Clear your head of all plots except the one that you’re going to be living with for the duration of November.

  1. Announce your plans to all who’ll listen!

Everyone needs to be held accountable to someone. Put up on social media that you’re partaking in NaNoWriMo this year; tell your family, friends, roommates; tell your writers group! Solidify your plan in stone and you’re more likely to stick to it.

  1. If you haven’t already, pick a story idea, research it and plan it!

It’s probably the most difficult part of NaNoWriMo – settling on a plot and going with it. Spend this week living and breathing it. Write a synopsis for it. Develop your characters. Collect inspirational prompts to revisit when you’re stuck in November – images, quotations, other films and books that inspire you. Collect it all now!

  1. Create a timeline for your narrative!

Don’t underestimate this one! The amount of times I’ve heard writers say that they’ve finished their novel but then went back and realised their timeline doesn’t make any sense. Was your protagonist thirty when she died? Then how comes she was thirty-two when she got married?

  1. Set up your documents, prepare your writing space and your writing sessions!

Do you write on Scrivener? Do you have separate folders for each chapter? Whatever way you write, use this week to set it up now. While you’re at it, set up writing dates with friends also participating – whether they’re online writing sprints or in person, get to it!

For more NaNoWriMo tips and updates, check in with me on Twitter and Facebook at @GKSihat!

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