Diving into NaNoWriMo Preparations!

As many of you have seen on Twitter, I signed up for NaNoWriMo for the first time this year. In case you don’t know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, a yearly event in which tons of writers try to reach 50k words (usually) in one month. That averages about 1667 words each day for thirty days straight.

Sound crazy? Yeah, I think so too. But hey, it’s a challenge.

I’ve never done NaNoWriMo before, but when I asked about it on Twitter, you guys practically exploded with all kinds of reasons why I should join, so I decided to give it a go!

That was a few days ago, and since then I’ve been getting the hang of the website (www.nanowrimo.org) and planning some preparations for the month of October (since the event doesn’t start until November).

Now, I like to plan everything in advance, even preparations for a plan, so I decided to share what I’ll be doing to get ready for NaNoWriMo 2016. Keep in mind, this is my first year participating. If you’re looking for a Top 10 Strategies To Guarantee NaNoWriMo Success, I’m not the guy to ask. I’m simply sharing some of the fun stuff I (and others) will be doing to be as ready as we can!

1. I’m writing a sequel

Cheating? Maybe. Sort of. I don’t think so. As many of you know, Where the Woods Grow Wild is coming out later this fall, so NaNoWriMo is the perfect chance to knock out a huge chunk of the sequel, Where the Trees Grow Taller (temporary title).

The benefit of a sequel is that all the returning characters are good to go, so I won’t have to spend a lot of time starting character development from scratch. It also means the story world and a plot premise are in place for me as well.

2. Outlines. Outlines everywhere

I love me some outlines! I firmly believe in letting my story grow and change organically, so my finished products rarely look much like my outlines start out as, but I still map everything out before I start writing no matter what project I’m working on.

Nothing against you pantsers out there, but it’s just not for me. Personally, I need to know where I’m going and how I’m going to get there before I walk out the door. Besides, I think outlining ahead of time will save me quite a few headaches during NaNoWriMo…right? *nervous gulp*

3. Pinterest boards

I’m a visual person. I understand and work with concepts better if I have a physical reference to look at. In other words, by the end of October, I’ll have a Pinterest board full of character references, location inspirations, random information graphs, etc. I’m keeping this board secret, of course.

4. Spotify playlist

I know this one’s pretty popular, but I’m creating a whole new playlist for my sequel. Where the Woods Grow Wild got its own soundtrack, but I want to start with fresh music for this project. Though, on second thought, I’ll probably have to shell out change for a premium account to dodge those aggravating reggae adds.

5. Assorted notes, charts, etc.

I have a whiteboard in my writing shed and oodles of sticky notes and notebook sheets. I guarantee they will all be full of CSI level tracking boards by the time NaNoWriMo rolls around. Anything that’s not an official outline will join the stack! Again, I like to plan. A lot. And I’m visual. So…yeah, it’s gonna get messy.

6. Coffee

Lots of it.


Are you participating in NaNoWriMo 2016? How are you getting ready for this year? Have you participated in previous years? What was it like for you? Any tips for a first-timer? Talk to me in the comments, friends!

And in the meantime, have a great day.

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23 thoughts on “Diving into NaNoWriMo Preparations!

  1. I’ve done NaNoWriMo (and CampNaNoWriMo) for years, and I love it! This year I’m going to do something a little different. My friend and I drafted a project “for funsies” last summer, and we’re both itching to get back to revisions on it. My agent told me to “take some time off” serious writing and she’s almost done with her first draft of a new project for her agent, so it seems the stars will align and we’ll both be on break come November! I’m excited.

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  2. I’ve done Camp NaNo a few times, but this year I’m finally doing NaNoWriMo…kind of. I’m writing a novellete and a novella, so it will probably be closer to 40,000 words than 50,000, but still… This month I’m working (or supposed to be working) on outlines and character sketches so that when it comes time to write I can just write without having to figure out how the story goes.

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  3. Hey, Nate, I’ve never commented here before, but I’ve been a fan of your blog for some time and thought it was time to jump in. I mean, your gif-posts are perfect.

    I did NaNo last year, and while I think it was a colossal mistake to write that particular novel in a month, I appreciated the exercise and might give it a try with a more suitable novel in the future. I’ll be looking forward to hearing how it worked for you. Also, have fun and don’t die. 🙂

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      1. That novel had a rather intricate plot, but I had no clear outline or theme- no goal really- when I started writing. I guess it’d be more accurate to say that year wasn’t right for the novel. 🙂 I’ll be watching for your updates and insider tricks in case I try it again sometime…

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    1. Any finished draft = major success! No matter how much you personally hated it. Trust me, I know. (checks video feed from secret underground prison containing abandoned drafts) AAACK ONE OF THEM ESCAPED

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  4. I’ll also be doing NaNoWriMo for the first time! So far, I’ve just been writing down ideas, haven’t yet hit the outlining stage, but the big thing for me will be to just write and not go back and edit every little sentence every five minutes. Plus a lot of things are happening in November for me, so I’m not even sure if I’ll get to 50,000 words. But this is the first year since I’ve heard of NaNo that I won’t be in school or have work to do at home–benefits of being a substitute teacher, not a real teacher 😉 –and I’m really looking forward to it!

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    1. For sure! I don’t normally struggle with the temptation to go back and edit, so I’m not super worried about that. The biggest challenge I think will be finding the material time, since I’ll be juggling two day jobs and self-pubbing another novel as well :O challenge accepted!

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  5. This is my second year doing NaNoWriMo and I absolutely love it! Like you, I’m a planner but I tend to take it overboard and stress in the planning stage and spend less time with the writing. Last year NaNo helped me put aside the planning and just write! It was amazing! Even if what you write gets completely scrapped, it’s still helping reach the goal of that sequel because it helps flesh things out!

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  6. I’m planning to attempt NaNo, with a story I only know the beginning of. Which is way less than I usually know, but hey…at least I know the beginning! That’s often a hard part for me!

    Also, I have Spotify Premium and it is totally worth it.

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  7. This is my third year doing Nano; I’ve only ever “won” once (last year, with a horrible early draft of the novel I’m only just finishing now). I credit Nano with finally getting me to FINISH something, which was extremely therapeutic and educational. Sounds like you’re doing a much better job of preparing than I ever have – I’m usually lucky if I get my outline done by week 2. 🙂 I love the idea of using Spotify and Pinterest; I should try that. And doing a sequel definitely isn’t cheating; I’ve seen lots of people do book 2’s and 3’s for their Nano projects. This year, I’m planning to put a lot more emphasis on prep and hopefully have a detailed outline before Nov 1.

    The most important thing I’d advise about Nano is, try not to start over. Get your planning done and then stick to it. Otherwise you can get caught in an infinite regress of Chapter Ones. Then again, maybe that’s just my problem. 🙂 Also, don’t edit as you write – focus on quantity over quality.

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  8. Have never participated in NaNoWriMo. I think I’ll being once I’ve finished writing at least two stories. You seem super prepared for this, so I doubt you won’t succeed.

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  9. I’ve taken part in Nanowrimo and Camp Nanowrimo for years and I completely agree with you about outlines. The one time I decided to be a pantser was the one time I didn’t ‘win’ Nanowrimo so all the outlines now!

    Liked by 1 person

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