I know, November is still a week away, but I’m not doing a proper NaNo anyway and I’m starting a little early because I really want to dive into the end of Powerful.
Our apartment complex is celebrating Halloween tomorrow (and I’m super excited for this year but I’m saving that for a later post), so I figured once that’s over I have no more excuses not to write (except maybe cleaning the apartment). I spent last week catching up on all my tv shows, finishing the trilogy I started far too long ago, plotting, crocheting, stocking up on soda and candy, filling the car up with gas for trips to B&N, and doing everything else I possibly could to prepare for November.
I found some great articles about prepping for NaNoWriMo. Here are the links: In It to Win It, Getting Ready, and How to Prepare.
The first piece of advice that jumped out to me is fueling up on candy and anything to give you energy because your enthusiasm and excitement will only get you so far before you pitter off. But seriously, your “muse” will only get you through the first step in writing anything. Rebecca McKinnon did a great post last week on why you don’t need inspiration to write. This is one of the reasons why I love NaNoWriMo. The pressure of a deadline forces you to be disciplined which is the only way you’ll get any writing done. You can’t sit around and wait for inspiration to strike to get any writing done. You have to actually write to get writing done. As a procrastinator, I’ve always worked well under pressure. Waiting until the last second to get work done puts me on a deadline where I have no choice but to work. NaNoWriMo forces discipline on me because I don’t have time to fall behind or procrastinate anymore. I’ve already procrastinated this far and now I’m down to the wire to finish my novel by November. Now I have to get it done.
One of the great writer debates is pantsing or plotting. While I’m all for pansters and I don’t want to tell you how to write, there is some benefit to preparing. Write character sketches and flesh out even the smallest of details for your world. You don’t realize how important those details are until you’re trying to piece the plot together and you realize there are either not enough pieces or too many. But if you wait until after you’ve already started NaNoWriMo, you’re wasting precious writing time on words that don’t count. Get it done early. In order to get through NaNoWriMo you can’t just write to get to the end. You also have to prepare and refine your skills as a writer in order to get the actual writing done and make the story publishable. But luckily this is just a first draft and as long as you make it to the end, you can always go back and change stuff in edits.
Remind yourself daily, semi-daily, hourly, that NaNoWriMo is about more than writing. It’s about putting words on paper, proving to yourself that you can be disciplined and write when you don’t feel like it, and finishing your goal. Even if your story may seem like a mess, it is written and edits can be made. It’s okay to not be proud of your draft. Be proud that it is written.
I find it seriously helpful to write a quick jacket blurb for your book, and I was excited to see this recommended in some of the articles I read. As you go through the chapters and words, it’s nice to remind yourself what you’re doing, why, and where you’re going. I did that with Powerful once I wrote the first chapter, and I read it every time I go to write a new chapter because I need to remember what I’m doing. It’s simple and possibly silly, but it’s effective.
The last piece of advice I’m giving is to find writer friends who will encourage you to finish. Share your story idea and see how many people are intrigued. Share your progress with others and see who else is as motivated or unmotivated as you. Having connections to other writers makes all the difference in the world when it comes down to that make or break point of “Why am I writing this?” Every superhero needs backup. You need support too.