The Ultimate Guide for Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo | #Preptober
The Ultimate Guide for Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo | #Preptober
Are you thinking of participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If you are considering joining the action, then you should make it a goal and commit to it. You can do it! Don’t overthink it. Now is the time to start planning your NaNoWriMo journey and getting some prep-work out of the way. This entire post is all about getting ready for NaNoWriMo which starts on November 1st. That means you have all of October or #preptober to get prepared.
First Things First, What is NaNoWriMo?
If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is just yet, don’t worry. Keep reading and find out exactly what is it, how to join, and how to prepare for it.
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is a challenge for all writers. It was born in 1999 and was a simple, yet exciting challenge for writers — write 50,000 words in 30 days. That’s it!
That same challenge has become an annual thing and so every year starting on November 1st until November 30th all participating writers are encouraged to write an entire novel or 50,000 words of a novel. It doesn’t matter what background participating writers come from, what genre they are writing in, or how good or bad the quality of the writing is. The point is to get people to challenge themselves to practice and improve their writing skills by writing.
Can Anyone Join National Novel Writing Month? Is it Free?
Anyone over the age of thirteen can join NaNoWriMo officially and it is completely free to sign up and participate. The NaNoWriMo organization will accept donations if you feel you would like to help them out in that way. They are a non-profit organization and really appreciate acts of generosity.
If you are under the age of eighteen or have someone who is under the age of eighteen who would still like to participate in a writing challenge, you have the option to join their Young Writers Program.
How to Do Sign-Up and Participate? Is it Complicated?
In order to participate in NaNoWriMo officially, you will have to create a free account. It is not difficult to do so. Go to Nanowrimo.org and click the ‘sign up’ button.
Next, you’ll be prompted to fill in some basic information such as your email address, and the username and password you’ll want to use. After that, you will also be prompted to verify your email address and sign into your brand new account!
Do You Have to Be American or Live in America to Participate in NaNoWriMo?
According to the information on the official NaNoWriMo site, you don’t have to be American or live in America to participate. Writers from all around the world participate every year. You can write from anywhere and in any language!
What Does it Mean to Win NaNoWriMo? Are There Prizes?
Perhaps you heard before that a writer can win the NaNoWriMo challenge. What does it mean to win the NaNoWriMo challenge? Can more than one writer win? Are there prizes for the winners?
Writers can win the NaNoWriMo challenge. How? By reaching their NaNoWriMo goal. This can be the 50,000-word goal or a custom goal that they have set for themselves. Reaching your goals is always a win. This of course means that any number of writers can win at the NaNoWriMo challenge. That means you can too!
There are prizes to win as well.
You can win prizes from the NaNoWriMo organization if you make sure to define a novel on the NaNoWriMo site and update your word count throughout the month of November. If you make it past 50,000 words within November on the word count on the site, you will receive their 50K badge. Along with the notification that you have achieved this badge you will see the treasure trove of winners’ goodies that you are entitled to.
Did You Know There Are Goodies for NaNoWriMo Participants?
NaNoWriMo has a collection of generous sponsors who offer goodies to writers who participate in NaNoWriMo. You can access those right away and use them to help you achieve NaNoWriMo success. You can find the goodies for NaNoWriMo 2021 right here.
To Sum Up | What is NaNoWriMo? | How to Participate
NaNoWriMo is an international writing challenge for writers of any age in any stage of life who are looking to strengthen their writing muscles and improve their skills by writing 50,000 words between November 1st and November 30th.
It is completely free to join and there are offers and goodies for participants. Creating an account is really simple and quick to do. There are prizes to claim once you have won at the NaNoWriMo challenge and the biggest win will be you achieving your goal.
#Preptober | How to Get Ready for NaNoWriMo
NaNoWriMo is a writer’s marathon. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is no mean feat and just like getting ready to run a marathon, writers need to make a plan of action and start prepping and practicing before the big event.
A good way to prepare yourself for the endurance required to succeed is to start writing consistently every day, if you aren’t doing that already. The average word count per day to reach 50,000 words in 30 days is 1,667 so getting in the habit of putting a few words on paper (real or digital) everyday can’t hurt.
You don’t have to be writing random things either if you don’t want to. If you already have a great story concept and some character ideas, you can start developing those characters and practicing your descriptive writing skills.
If you want some tips for coming up with a story concept you can check out this article. It is part one of a How to Write a Novel From Beginning to End series.
Pre-NaNoWriMo Checklist for Planners | What You Need to Succeed
If you are familiar with any of my other articles, you will know that I am an advocate of planning and pre-writing. I find that it works really well in my own experience, therefore, I highly recommend it. However, I do realize that everyone is different and what works for some people doesn’t work for others. If you are a planner, like me, then the following checklist is for you. If you aren’t a planner, then skip right ahead to the next part because that’s for everyone.
- Decide on a genre & target age group
- Come-up with a story concept & write a brief synopsis
- Create your main characters & character profiles
- Describe one or two of your main settings
- Create a rough or detailed outline
- Make a list of things to research & research
If you are not a planner, ignore the checklist above, but not the one below.
Pre-NaNoWriMo Checklist of Things to Keep You Sane
A big part of succeeding in NaNoWriMo is staying sane. You don’t say, right?
Part of preparing for the big event is making sure you have some things that will help you not only stay on track but also to make sure that you don’t burn yourself out in the meantime.
- Sign-up for NaNoWriMo officially and register your project.
- Make sure you surround yourself with inspiration. Inspiring pictures, decor, music, lights, cosy blankets, or whatever keeps you inspired and motivated.
- Create a pinterest board, vision board, or mood board for your novel to reference when you feel stuck or uninspired.
- Plan out some small rewards you can give yourself as you go along. Maybe if you hit your goal of 12,500 words in the first week you can treat yourself with whatever makes you feel rewarded and keeps you motivated.
- Remember that the point of the NaNoWriMo challenge is to get writers practicing and expanding their writing skills, not to make writers feel miserable if they don’t reach the 50,000-word goal. Whatever number of words you get written during the month of November, are that many more words written than you had before and that in itself is a win.
Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo | Preptober | What You Need to Do
Use the month of October to get yourself ready to participate and ultimately succeed in the NaNoWriMo challenge. The things that you need to do to get ready vary depending on the writer. If you are a planner, then start planning! Get that story idea down, write a blurb, create character profiles, describe your main settings, write an outline. If you aren’t a planner or even if you are, start writing consistently a little bit every day. This will help build the endurance you need.
Surround yourself with inspiration. Create a mood board or vision board for your novel if that sounds like something that would appeal to you. Plan for a reward system to keep you motivated and keep your morale up. And lastly, remember that if you don’t reach that 50,000-word goal in 30 days, it’s not the end of the world. You can always try again next year or create your own novel in a month challenge starting in December or January or April. Remind yourself that any word written is an extra word written and that is a win in itself.
If you have any questions regarding NaNoWriMo 2021 or you need help getting started, please feel free to reach out and let me know. I want to encourage you to achieve your writing goals and get your wonderful work out into the world.