NaNoWriMo (also known as National Novel Writing Month) “is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.” It starts on November 1st and ends at 11:59 pm. on November 30th. Participants work towards the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel during the month. NaNoWriMo is for anyone who has ever thought about maybe, possibly, sort-of writing a novel.
Let’s be honest. Writing 50,000 words in 30 days is not easy. While many people do it completely by the seat of your pants, I believe in being prepared. I have started getting ready for the month ahead and thought I would share my list of NaNoWriMo essentials.
I am absolutely obsessed with my Evernote. I don’t just use it for my writing, I use it for everything. It comes in handy for tracking my work to-do lists and project notes, my bills, my tutoring that I do, well, the list goes on. I have already created a NaNoWriMo notebook in my Evernote and have added templates they have created just for this very occasion. Even more so, you can jot down ideas wherever you are via the mobile app and it syncs across all platforms. This way, if you come up with a a great plot twist while you are on the go, you can easily add it to your novel when you return to your computer.
Music has always inspired me. In fact, one of my tattoos is a tribute to music and how it is with me every step of the way as I go through life. So, it is only fitting that I have an amazing playlist ready for NaNoWriMo. My particular playlist is inspired by the idea I have for my novel. All the songs have a relation to the novel in one way or another. Truthfully, creating the playlist really helped me with the brainstorming process and to sort out some of the ideas I have been working on for the more subtle plot points.
An Accountability Partner (s)
Although I can be very organized with my ideas and notes, I do have a tendency to get distracted at times. It is easier for me to start cleaning my house than to sit down and write. That is why I have already told the co-workers I share an office with about NaNoWriMo. One has even said that she is going to put a reminder in her Outlook to ensure she asks me every day whether I wrote the night before. This is a great way to make sure I stay on track. After all, how lame would it be for her to ask me multiple days in a row if I’ve made any progress and I have to say no?
I will confess that my first NaNoWriMo “win” in 2011 was completely by the seat of my pants. However, trying to “pants” it over the next few years ended in a complete fail. As in, I didn’t get past the first few days. I had NOTHING. It was pretty depressing. How was I able to do it the first year? Well, I had just returned from a year of living in Asia and I was still full of inspiration, energy, and creativity from spending the last year in a completely different world. I didn’t need to build a new world. I had just come from one.
This year is different. I have outlined my two main characters from their own perspective, a high level sequence of events for the flow of the story, and have even reached out to a source of information to make sure certain scenes will be as realistic as possible. Not only do I have a road map, but I have an entirely different outlook on the coming month. I am excited to get started.
For many years (and even a little bit to this day), I was incredibly insecure about my writing. That’s the beauty of NaNoWriMo. You focus on quantity instead of quality. I truly believe everyone has something to say. It’s simply a matter of overcoming your emotional hurdles and allowing yourself the freedom to express what you are holding deep down. Just like with anything else, getting better takes practice. What better way to practice writing than to write 50,000 words in a month?
Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year?
If so, be sure to register for this awesome NaNoWriMo survival kit!