National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is a little over two weeks away. But if you plan to take part in it this year, you shouldn't wait until November 1st to think about your new manuscript. Instead, use the rest of October for planning and outlining. Then, when NaNoWriMo begins, you'll be ready to jump into your story.
Prepare for NaNoWriMo

How I'm Spending My October Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo

This will be my third year doing NaNoWriMo. I drafted my first mystery during my first NaNo, and last year I finished the first draft of my first horror novel. Originally I wanted to use this November for the second book in my mystery series, as I don't plan to release them until I have two (or maybe even three) books ready to launch. But the first is going through pretty massive rewrites, so I don't want to start the second until I finish working the kinks out of the first.

Instead I'll pick up another project I've wanted to work on for months -- a more experimental novel in a different genre.

I've already finished most of the outlining and organization for this new novel, using it to test The Snowflake Method of outlining. But I'll spend the next couple of weeks fleshing that out even more. The story takes place partly during an apple harvest festival, so I'll even attend one or two in my area to get a better feeling for the events and to take some photographs.

Normally I spend October outlining, but this year I'll do more hands-on research and spend some time organizing my writing schedule and figuring out what tools I want to use (I'd really like to dictate more this time around, but I tend to drift back into typing mode a bit too easily).

How to Prepare for NaNoWriMo This Month

If you haven't thought much about your NaNoWriMo book yet, you still have time to get ready. For example, you can start outlining your story. Here are some options that might come in handy if you're a fan of outlining like I am:

Not a fan of outlining your novels? That's OK too. There's still plenty you can do to prepare before NaNoWriMo. For example, you can:

  • Put together character profiles and setting sketches to refer back to when you write.
  • Conduct any research you'll need when writing your story.
  • Set up your manuscript template (such as using this murder mystery Scrivener template).
  • Choose your tracking calendar, word count tracker, or any other tools you plan to use.
  • Take photos of people or places that inspire your setting or character choices (you can set up a private Pinterest board for these).
  • Write a short summary or synopsis of your novel to keep you on track even without a full outline.
  • Stock up on anything you'll need to keep you writing. Coffee and tea would be necessities for some of us. I like to keep fingerless gloves around to type on cold mornings. You might need batteries or extra digital storage if you plan to do a lot of dictation. Heck. You could even stock up on food now and prepare freezer meals for November so you'll spend less time cooking and more time writing. (I did this for October, and I'm a total convert -- it's a lifesaver).

Don't let NaNoWriMo sneak up on you. Spend these next couple of weeks preparing, and you'll have a much better chance of reaching your 50k word goal next month.

Tell me, how are you preparing for NaNoWriMo this year?

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