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The Ultimate NaNoWriMo Prep List

Finally, the day every writer has probably been waiting for is here! National Novel Writing Month starts on November 1, so grab your laptop and a few scalding mugs of coffee– It’s time to hit the keys! NaNoWriMo is finally here. For those of you who don’t know it, it’s a program for reforming procrastinators and pantsers. Just kidding! It’s a writing program that spurs you on to complete a book- 50K words, to be precise. From November 1 to 30, you have to spin out a yarn, plan out the characters and hammer out 50,000 words on a keyboard or typewriter. Feeling a little intimidated? Don’t worry, with the quick tips list below, you’ll be set in no time!

  • The first thing you have to do is prepare a rough outline– you may be a pantser and proud of it, but when you’re faced with a deadline, you might waste your time. Sure, don’t map out every single incident- one of the quirks of being a writer is not knowing what’s gonna happen next. But if you sit before a blank paper with nothing but your imagination, you’ll end up dreaming and not penning anything. So do think out your novel before 1st November.
  • What’s your word count? The tradition NaNoWriMo specifies 50k words, but typically books are much longer. What is your target? It doesn’t matter if your goal is 40k words. You have to win your own challenge. Not anybody else’s. So think in advance what the length of your book is going to be.
  • Are you a perfectionist? Well, then I guess you’re just going to have to squash down that little character trait of yours. NaNoWriMo’s target is to hand you a fully-completed manuscript by the end of november- but not a perfect one. I faced this problem a lot when I was writing my book. You can’t while away your time by correcting and re-correcting everything to your satisfaction. That’s a task for post-writing editing. For a month at least, don’t be afraid to be messy.
  • Prepare a playlist. Yeah, it’s not just random crap. You have to find music that fits the mood of your book and listen to it while writing. This may sound unrelated, but I’ve found music to be extremely inspiring while writing. It helps clear your mind while simultaneously making you feel the world around you. Music works like a charm on a tough writing day.
    Still stuck? Check this out- My Favorite Writing Playlist
  • Decide your genre. Hmmm…this isn’t as easy as you might think. Most writers don’t know it, but it’s ultimately your genre that guides your story. For example, suppose I’m writing an action/adventure book. Instead of explosive fight scenes, my book is crammed with musings and moments of self-discovery. Then that novel’s absolute bunkum. You gotta be true to what you’ve promised your readers.
  • And then comes the big question of plot development. You’ve got a ripe idea, but how do you turn it into something irresistible? I have a simple rule for this and I’ve said it many times before- Start with a spark and end with a bang. The other way around works too. When writing a scene, don’t just tell- show the reader what’s in your mind. They love that!
  • Make full use of the Official NaNoWriMo website– it has many interactive tools as well as discussion boards, forums, daily inspiration and much more to help you with your writing. You can see fellow writers’ progress, track your own progress via graphs and much, much more!
  • Build your literary circle. I have my fellow writers to thank for supporting me while I wrote my book. It’s amazing how much a few words from someone who’s gone through the same situation as you can help you. Build up friendship with other participants from around you and exchange tips and advice!
  • Say bye-bye to writer’s block. This is the #1 excuse people use while explaining why they couldn’t finish their book. Pals, writer’s block ain’t real. Like the outspoken Terry Pratchett said, it was invented by people in California who couldn’t write. And believe me folks, I’ve written 90k words without ever experiencing it. Don’t be a procrastinator- you won’t be able to write squat in a month if you keep doing that.
  • Remember to have fun. This is the most important part. Writing shouldn’t become a nasty chore you hate doing. You love it and that’s why you’re doing it in the first place- find ways to be happy with it. Experiment with tones, settings and characters. Writing is like art- it won’t be wonderful unless you do it with joy in your heart and dedication in your mind.

So that’s all. Have a happy Halloween and after that, a happy writing month! Best of luck, everyone! Let’s get those keyboards typing  🙂

Looking for some inspiration? Maybe this will help- 15 Quotes that every Writer should know





Seventeen year old blogger, writer and interviewer. Also a voracious reader. My interests include classic books, archaeology, world history and politics. Staunch advocate for wildlife conservation and animal adoption. Debut novel to be out soon!

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