As the countdown continues to November 1st, I’m doing my best to get ready for novel-writing. For me, there are a couple of steps that I will be taking to make sure this year starts out well.
Love an idea and outline it – I want to have an idea and usually I have two or three on that last day. I like having two in case I suddenly have cold feet about the one I decided to do. I’ll do some preliminary research on locations or any trivial facts that I need to get the first day off to a fantastic start. In order to write 50,000 words, I really want to make sure that I love the concept and that I have a basic outline written out. The outline might get thrown out after day 1, but it helps me to have a plan so I don’t run out of momentum. I need to make sure that I love the idea because at some point when I’m trying to write 50K in one month, I’m going to hate trying to write this book. I need to love the novel enough to get over my lack of desire to sit at the computer and type. 50,000 words is a lot of writing.
Support Group Activated! – For me, this means warning my family and friends that I’m doing nanowrimo. It’s always good to tell those close to you what you are planning so they can support you through the process. Recruiting a friend to write along with you can help as well. Before I finished the Crimson Hawks novel in 2009, I fell 10,000 words behind the pace. A buddy of mine was in the same situation. He called me and we both agreed to push each other and do a little extra every day and catch up. Unfortunately, he didn’t finish his book, but he certainly helped me finish mine. Friends have two seemingly opposed jobs: They help make sure I have time to write, and they need to pull me away from the computer before I burn out mid-month. 🙂
Noveling Supplies – A good friend of mine asked me if I had enough caffeine ready for November. It was a valid point. Personally, if you are going to stay up too late increasing your word count, I recommend water and fruit juices as opposed to soda or energy drinks. Coffee and tea work in moderation, but over-caffination (sp?- yes, I know but it should be a word) tends to run me down in the long term. Nanowrimo is a marathon, not a sprint. My writing mentor once told me that you won’t fall asleep if you have to go to the bathroom so drink lots of water. Hydration also keeps the brain working. There’s nothing wrong with a favorite snack as well, and I like to have a notepad around. Writing on paper can change my mindset and help me get through sticky plot issues. Besides, my eyes get tired staring at computer monitors.
Sleep – Of all the things I’ve listed, this is the most important. Just about everyone writes better when they’ve had more sleep. It doesn’t always feel that way, but trust me, sleep is essential. I try to get extra sleep if I can before November 1st, and I almost always take a nap after trick or treating to brace myself for midnight.
There is a lot of good advice out there for potential novelists. Take a look, see what you find, and decide what works for you!
All the best,
Harry (Vashar on Nanowrimo.org)