The season is nearly upon us! NaNo approacheth, ready or not.
The office is all abuzz as we work behind the scenes to get nanowrimo.org; OLL’s online store; and all noveling resources for classrooms, MLs, and our bookstore and library partners ready for site relaunch and the November noveling madness beyond.
But site, store, and resource-readiness doesn’t necessarily mean I’m mentally and emotionally prepared to start writing my next novel in just over a month. How about you?
I realized it this Tuesday when visiting with the Central Coast Writers in Monterey, California. They are a massively talented group, with writers ranging in backgrounds from journalism to self-publishing to education. I loved hearing about their writing practices and passions and what got them excited—and ready—to write.
As I stood there, talking to them about how we at NaNo prepare to write a novel in a month, I realized I need to take a page out of my own proverbial book and start preparing myself for the onslaught of words, plot twists, plot holes, characters flaws and details about to come raining down on this book-loving brain of mine.
Let’s try the following together to get as ready as possible for the season of the novel:
Talk to other writers. Like the writers at CCW do, having a go-to-group to talk noveling with will help you loads as you mentally prepare to write at high velocities. Whether you’re a plotter and are outlining every chapter, character arc, and storyline of your novel; or you’re a pantser who plans to jump in feet first with no more than a wink and a prayer, lean on that group of fellow writers for support, encouragement, and inspiration!
If you’re not sure where to find other writers, head into the NaNoWriMo forums and start posting! You’ll get more replies that you can shake a stick at!
Tell friends and family and neighbors and coworkers what’s on the horizon. They too should mentally prepare themselves for your month of creative abandon… emphasis on abandon(ed), which is what they may feel when you disappear for all of November. They can also hold you accountable once they know that you’re working toward such a challenging and commendable goal! Support groups take many shapes and forms, and having this core group on your side will help tremendously come November 1 (and 2, and 3…). Cheering section assemble!
(If you’re a plotter) Start plotting! If you already have a character, or a few in mind, or a possible direction for your plot, get planning! Ready, Set, Novel, a workbook for writers, can certainly help (especially if you have no clue in the world what you want to write about).
Write! No, don’t start writing your novel yet. Just start writing in general. In Monterey, the CCW and I did a micro-writing exercise: three-minutes-worth of free writing about three randomly selected subjects. It was so much fun. Just three minutes a day for the next few weeks will get your brain in gear and your hands in shape for the guerilla-style literary throwdown to come.
Comment below, sharing your most effective pre-noveling prep routine, and you’ll be automatically entered to win one of two slots in the ultimate pre-NaNo prep-a-thon: Lani Diane Rich’s StoryWonk NaNo Pre-Game Class. (Make sure to include your site username so we can alert you when you win!) We’ll announce the winner on October 4, so please be sure to add your comment by then!
ETA: This contest has now closed! Congratulations to Space Prince Ibex and Jennifer_MSF, the winners of Lani’s StoryWonk NaNo Pre-Game Class!
Source photo by Flickr user robenjoyce