Confessions of a Writer #3: Preparing for Nanowrimo

I was fortunate that my first Nanowrimo was amazing! Like eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream for the first time amazing! For 30 days I was able to cast off my desire to rewrite, revise, nudge, toss, and generally fix my writing and let myself just write. It didn’t mean there wasn’t massive changes that happened after the 30 days. It didn’t mean I didn’t want to fix it during the 30 days. It meant I gave myself permission to accept the first draft as just that- a first draft. So back to getting ready:

  1. Find a group- whether you meet in person or not it’s fun to go on this adventure together.
  2. If you’re an outliner start an outline—be ready for Nov 1st. If you’re a discovery writer, have that brilliant idea.
  3. This came by way of a friend during last nanowrimo and I’m going to try it this year. Food plan. When I get lost in a story the last thing I want to do is think about food. My stomach growls, the pantry is empty, running to the store seems like too much work, so I end up eating the mystery item that happened to be handy but tastes like it should have stayed a mystery. Plan simple, fast, hopefully slightly healthy meals that you can grab and eat for yourself and/or family etc.
  4. Prepare the cave. Last year I wrote in my writing room aka the Spare Oom. The year before mostly at the library. Wherever you choose plan accordingly. Because I had the advantage last year I snacked up. Drinks and chocolate were within reach. The less I left the room, the more words appeared on paper. If I left for a drink I’d see the dishes in the sink as I filled up the cup, then I washed the dishes, then I noticed the counter, then I noticed the floor….
  5. Try to avoid the internet. This applies for non-nanowrimowriting, too. I’ve lost plenty of nights to Youtube. I just went to research one little thing and boom, time disappeared. (Facebook also falls into this category) So if you must research and there is no way around it, try setting a timer. If you know what you’re going to write before nanowrimo try doing research before it starts.
  6. Get the smells ready. This may seem weird but I’ve had a lot of luck with it and so have those I’ve convinced to give it a try. I ground my story to a certain smell and either burn a candle or turn on the wax melter before I begin writing. It makes it that much easier for me to slip into the mood of the story. (This is also helpful outside of naowrimo if you are writing multiple stories. I have a certain smell for each story.) My story involving water had a lot of ocean based candles.
  7. Lastly, get the sounds ready. I write to music. Music provides my white noise so I don’t leave the room. Leaving the room = end to writing. So if you write with music get the sound track ready now. If you don’t use music plan how you are going to keep things a little quieter, or a little more focused for Nov.

Please add comments of things you’ve tried during nanowrimo that have helped.

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