With NaNoWriMo starting on Wednesday, I thought I would compile a list of Must Have Items for NaNoWriMo. As this is my first attempt, I have done a lot of research as to how people make it through each day, progressing their story and, hopefully, winning NaNoWriMo.
The main thing people seem to swear by is a dedicated Writing Time. Once November 1st hits, allocate a certain amount of time everyday to writing and try and make it the same everyday. For me, I will most likely do all of my writing once I get home…perhaps while I wait for dinner to cook…from 7-9ish. My mornings are mine to get gym out of the way, watch my YouTube, catch up on Netflix, do online shopping. But my evenings will be for writing and developing my story as the month progresses on. Try and set aside a dedicated writing time with no distractions from your story.
2. Set yourself challenges
Most people set themselves little personal challenges. These can be as simple as certain word counts at certain points in the calendar: 10,000 every week, 25,000 by the 15th November, you get the idea. Many of the social groups and forums also recommended a ‘Double Up Day’ where you try to double your word count in one day of writing. These little challenges will help you stay motivated, as you are not always doing the same old writing day every day for a month. It can also give you a new sense of accomplishment, knowing that you take your writing to a new level.
No matter how dedicated you are to your story, as with any project there needs to be some sort of reward scheme in place for you to continue through. It can be hard to work solidly on one thing for a long amount of time with no break, and soon you’ll view it as nothing more than a chore that you have to do rather than a project you want to do. Maybe every time you reach a target (see above) you allow yourself to watch one episode of your favourite TV show, or a YouTube video. If you’ve managed to do a Double Up Day, then you are allowed the following day off…or at least only have to write half of your daily target.
4. Back up devices
No matter how you are writing your story (while most people do it on a computer, but some are choosing to do it by hand) make you have a back up system in place. If using a computer BACK YOUR STUFF UP. Even if you just email yourself a copy of the document at the end of everyday just n case, have something in place so you have more than one copy of your work. If you are writing by hand, maybe take pictures every time you finish a page of your notebook so you know where you have gotten in your story in case you lose the notebook or spill a drink on it. It is best to be too careful than to be left, after 30,000 of your story, with nothing to show for it thanks to a computer glitch or a spilt drink across your notebook.
5. Pen and paper
If you are working with a computer, never underestimate the use of pen and paper. If you are a Pantser, making it up as you go along and just seeing where the story takes you, it can be helpful to just have a list on the go of places that you’ve created, characters that have appeared, names you like the sound of that you may want to incorporate, main plot points that have happened or you would like to happen. This is almost a midway point between a Pantser and a Planner, which allows you to let your imagination to run wild and dictate your story, while sill allowing you to keep a record of the key points just in case you need to refer back.