October 4, 2009

Five Things to Do to Get Ready for NaNoWriMo 2009

NaNoWriMo starts in 26 days.  When the clock strikes 12:00 am on November 1st, participants will have 30 days to write 50,000 words.  That's 1667 words/day if you write every single day. 

What can you do to get ready?  Here are 5 things to do as you're getting ready for the Big Day:

1.  Get your research materials together and organized.  You may not want to trust the web, and some books may be vital to your work.  Things like a dictionary, thesauraus, atlas, near at hand may be valuable time-savers as well as those reference works particular to your genre or plot, e.g., Grey's Anatomy if you're going to be the next Kathy Reichs, or Daily Life in Elizabethan England if you're writing a historical romance.  Buy what you need, gather what you already have, and put everything near to your workspace. 

2.  Warn family and friends that you're not being rude when you totally ignore them the entire month of November.  Maybe a free autoresponder for your emails will help.  And don't feel guilty when they call or text anyway and you don't reply.  You're writing, and it's important. 

3.  Set up a schedule.  Remember to plan on snacks and water and exercise.  Walking is great, and periodic distractions really do let your brain work better.  Maybe use Google Calendar or Yahoo Calendar to plan every day -- your word count, your breaks, and remember to include catch-up days.  Maybe Saturday is the best day for you to catch up on your word count, if you had to work late on Tuesday and fell behind on your daily quota.  Buy your coffee and eggs and bread, your popcorn or Doritos -- whatever you're gonna need regularly.  Sure, you'll be going to the grocery store but you don't want to be worrying about menus or staples during NaNoWriMo. 

4.  Expect discouragement to hit and be ready for it.  Be your own best friend by having little inspirations already set up for yourself.  Maybe quotations from favorite writers written on stickies and placed around the house, or print out a list of the New York Times Bestseller list and insert your name and future novel there, right at the top.  You can do it, they did. 

5. Remember that you're gonna let some stuff go during NaNoWriMo, and that's okay.  Like washing the car, or keeping the house spic and span.  Let it be messy, you're writing your novel.  Remember the words of Erma Bombeck: "No one ever died from sleeping in an unmade bed."

For more tips, check out NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty's list.
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