When you ask what someone does to prepare for National Novel Writing Month, their mind usually goes to outlining, or deciding what they’re going to write. That’s not all you can do to prepare, though. Even pantsers (fly by the seat of your pants authors – as opposed to outliners) have things they can do to make their lives easier when November 1st hits.
1: Story Prep – Whe obvious, figure out what you’re going to write, and if your mind bends that way, at bit of plot, characters, conflict, etc. If you’re a panster, don’t worry about it, do it your own way. There’s no right way, just what works. I know of some very good and very famous authors who are pansters.
2: Catch up on Laundry and Dishes – When you get off work (or school) and you have to do dishes before you can make food, and you have to eat before you write, that’s not good for your word count. I know, you cant do so many dishes and so much laundry that you don’t have to do it all of November, but you can start off November at least not behind on them so badly that it screws up those first few days word count when you’re most psyched up and ready to write.
3: Clean House – I don’t know about anybody else, but on those days when I don’t feel like writing, there’s nothing so distracting as housework staring at me. When the house is a mess, there’s always something I should be doing that seems more important than writing I feel like I should be doing, and I use it as an excuse not to get my word count. And the last thing I need is excuses not to get my word count.
4: Prepare Quick Meals – On those days when things are rough, and you’re behind on your word count, it really helps to have easy meals in the freezer, that are healthy. Sure you can order pizza, but it’s important to get a healthy meal in as often as possible when your brain is working so damn hard. People joke about living off energy drinks and candy through the month, and we all know that’s not healthy. But not only is it unhealthy, but your overall ability to function, and obviously, to write, will suffer. So throw together some spaghetti sauce, soup, chili, etc, and put it in containers in the freezer, for those days when time is tight and you’re behind on your word count.
5: Talk to Your Family – Family, and friends too, can be a great support during Nano, but when you’re behind on your word count and your SO hasn’t seen you in a week, it can be a strain on things. Not all your family members may be supportive, and they don’t have to be, but do your best to make them aware of what you’re going to be up to this month. Tell them what they can do to help you, if they’re willing, but even if they’re not on board, you should at least be on the same page, as far as their expectations of you in the coming thirty days and thirty nights of literary abandon.
That’s the main things I look to. You may be psyched up now, and ready to go, but when week two rolls around (and the veterans know, week two is when anyone who quits drops out, because it’s the hardest week to hack through) you’ll be glad you did a little prep before hand. Happy Nanoing!