Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t mean to frighten you, but we’re one week away from NaNoWriMo – and this year, like I say every other year, I’m going to participate. NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is when the internet comes together to write novels. Or at least 50,000 words of a novel (1,666 words a day!) to “win” NaNoWriMo (these books came about through NaNoWriMo ). But if you’re like me, you’re woefully unprepared and have hardly anything planned and holy shit, you said a week is all we have left?
Let’s all take a collective breath and put our brains together – us procrastinators still have one week to get it together, right? That’s totally enough time! I think… I hope… Oh dear god… Here, I’ve collected some resources to help us out while we breathe into this paper bag:
This is where the magic happens, folks. To start your descent into madness, make sure you sign up for an account. Pick your region and hold yourself accountable with friends (full disclosure, I am here and more than willing to accept mailed-in abuse all month). There are forums where you can connect with other NaNoWriMo-ers (they also sometimes yield results like this though) and a lot of perks offered through sponsors. They’ve also got a pretty great Tumblr and a Twitter if those are more your style.
Now that you’ve signed up and strapped in, maybe it’s time to do a little search for inspiration. I’m personally a big fan of Tumblr for free inspiration and some of my favorite blogs include The Writing Box, FuckYourWritingHabits, References for Writers, Yeah Writers!, and FuckYeahCharacterDevelopment. Tumblr is also a great place to find blogs to help you with specific need-to-know things about your book. Why’s that evidence going into a plastic bag when it should be going into a paper bag? Fuck yeah, forensics! These NaNoWriMo-ers on Tumblr have a lot of good tips to think about when putting together your novel. If you want to see what 30 days of 50,000 words looks like, check out this Tumblr right here. Really, Tumblr is pretty endless in NaNoWriMo helpful content. Elsewhere on the web, here is a Young Adult author sharing some NaNoWriMo tips and wisdom.
Beyond that, let me offer to you Written Kitten to keep you from procrastinating in hopes that all those links above will help you throw together some idea of what you’re doing for all of November.
Now that you may or may not have some idea of what you’re going to be keyboard smashing out for NaNoWriMo, it’s time to make sure you’re well equipped to get into this mess. The first step to that is finding a quiet place, free from distractions, where you can do all of this writing. Have you got that figured out? Okay, good. Next, you should probably think about acquiring some snacks. Popcorn, trail mix, chocolate, grapes – anything to munch on while you’re grinding away at that word count. You didn’t think you’d be having whole meals, did you? You’re silly! You’ve got words to write, now is not the time to cook! As far as refreshments go, you’re just going to live off of tea and coffee, aren’t you? I highly suggest DavidsTea or something from Adagio’s fandom inspired blends. Also, hot chocolate – all the hot chocolate. And if you’re a pen-and-paper writer of ancient lore, I probably don’t have to remind you to keep those tools handy throughout the month. A blanket couldn’t hurt, nor could having a playlist of music ready and waiting.
All preparation aside, a lot of people that I know, as well as many accomplished authors, find NaNoWriMo to be insulting to the craft and they refuse to participate, but I just want to remind people – really, relax, have a bit of fun with it. I’m pretty convinced I’m going to write crap (if I don’t fail completely – public internet shaming, don’t fail me now!), but I’m going to have fun doing it! And if you think the rules are too constricting or stupid for NaNoWriMo, get on the forums and check out the NaNo Rebels because, like, they don’t play by your rules, man. And if you hate everything I just said, this list also does a nice job of outlining things you should know about NaNoWriMo.
What’s your strategy to tackle NaNoWriMo? Have you been obsessively planning throughout the month of October? Are you a seasoned vet of NaNoWriMo? What tips and tricks have gotten you through the month? Share with the class!