How Warriors Prep For Nanowrimo

And yet it is a battle all writers must face eventually.

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It’s that time of year again when writers huddle together and decide to write an entire novel in a month.

They put on their war paint, grab their laptops, and charge forward to conquer those 50,000 words without crying.

But if you are a new writer and you have never heard of Nanowrimo, let me introduce you to the midfield boss of writing. Because we all know that the final boss is the writer in the mirror.

Nanowrimo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and every November, writers from all over the world come together to participate in this international activity.

It’s more of a challenge of willpower and might, but we tend to use our words to overcome the trials.

Your book doesn’t have to be fiction; regardless of the genre, you can join in on the fun we will have together.

So what do you need to prepare, and how do you stay sane when your writing ability goes out the window?

Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Get the necessities

If you are to survive, young grasshopper, there are four things you will need for your journey.

  • Prep your characters and plot.
  • Find a word count goal you’re satisfied with
  • Find a community
  • Don’t forget your knick-knacks

Plan your characters and their purpose in the plot.

This year is the first time I am doing Nanowrimo, so I planned on creating character sheets for my story.

I know the setting for my story was a bit medieval, but the characters would either allow me to sink or swim.

Here are a few things I considered when creating my characters.

  • Who is the protagonist
  • Why do their actions matter
  • Do they have a particular political stance
  • How will this character change throughout the story
  • What actions will result in their change of personality
  • Are there any unique traits that will help the character grow
  • What could go wrong when the character needs it not to

I also repeat these questions for each of the main characters and supporting roles.

I wanted side characters and supporting roles with more human traits, like rolling their eyes or picking at their finger when anxious.

Most people forget the importance of source materials in this step. So create a mood board for your character if you can’t find the words to describe them immediately.

Photo by Super Snapper on Unsplash

Word count goals make a difference.

Create a word count goal for each day with a planner. Your minimum goal should be 1,200, and then increase it as the week progress.

It’s essential to have a range rather than just one goal. My word count daily goal is 1,500-2,500, and I want to give myself room to not shoot for the stars on some days.

I already know that some days I might fall short, but on other days I will meet and exceed my goal.

While word count goals make a difference, remember that you don’t have to write your scenes in order.

Creating a goal is only helpful if your daily plan helps with your writing; if it does not, you can change it.

Consider these tips when setting a goal.

  • Is this currently achievable for me?
  • Can I just write an entire scene instead?
  • Will the characters riot if I leave them hanging?
  • How will I pick up from where I left off?

Your writing goal can differ daily; remember to breathe and keep going.

Find a community

Do not write alone.

I know we can be tempted to write our Nanowrimo novel by ourselves, but we don’t have to.

You can find or create a writing group to give you feedback and encouragement eventually.

Here are a few places to find a writing group.

  • Reddit
  • Twitter
  • Discord
  • Meetup

And the list goes on.

You can also make your own writing group with friends or other writers with whom you connect.

But remember that not all writing groups are the same; some will not work for you.

Shop around a bit, and if you feel like hanging out with me, you can find my Nanowrimo at Jonawrites or on Twitter at @jnibbzy. Send me a DM so we can encourage each other.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

Don’t Forget Your Knick-Knacks

There is a reason why the Nanowrimo logo has a helmet and coffee in it.

You will need one, if not both, to make it through the month.

So get your knick-knacks in order, and for the writers who do their best work drunk or slightly buzzed, please be kind to your liver.

Here are the knick-knacks I will need.

  • Tea (I got the variety pack of 60.)
  • Pens (For all the notes I will have.)
  • Notebook (I am a notebook lover and will always be one.)
  • Shenanigans Folder ( To keep my new story ideas that pop up.)
  • A place to write. (I have two writing chairs in this apartment.)
  • A timer (Take a few breaks while you write.)
  • A planner (Keep my goals on hand.)
  • Stickers (Give yourself one after each day.)

I’m sure there will be other things you will need to help your writing.

You can stock up on them as you go, and remember to take time to stretch and sleep as you go.

Your first draft doesn’t have to be excellent; perhaps it will be an outline of possible actions in the story.

I wish you well on this journey; may we see each other on the other side.

If you want to know more about my work, check out my latest poetry collection.

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