NaNoWriMo Prep – 2018!

Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month.

So with November fast approaching and my promise to myself that I’d take part in National Novel Writing Month this year at the forefront of my mind, I figured that I should probably do some prep for it. Writing a 50,000 word novel in a month is no easy task, but it can be made a little easier to do with some planning.

If you’ve never heard of NaNoWriMo before, it’s a writing event where the aim is that on November 1st you begin to write a 50,000-word novel, finishing by 23:59 on November 30th. As a lot of aspiring/celebrated writers will tell you, writing can be difficult, especially when you’re not sure where you want your WIP to go – that’s what this preparation is for! Take some time to really plan out your novel in depth so that your main job is writing up what you know, not trying to come up with it on the fly.

What I Did:

  • Create a plan.
    • I started a brand new notebook and made in-depth lists about my characters and settings and planned out the main plot, as well as little subplots.
    • I always find it helpful to write out the bare bones of scenes that come to mind. For example, if I can visualise a scene between characters then I have to write it down or I can’t think of anything else. This is also super helpful when you come to write up the rest of the novel as you already have some sections started.
  • Set goals.
    • Giving yourself something to strive for is a big thing for me and if it means I can cross something off a list, it’s even better. This helps me feel productive and on track which is important for me when I have a deadline to meet.
    • My provisional goal is to write 1,700 words a day (making 51,000 altogether).
  • Keep everything together.
    • I’m awful at misplacing bits of paper that I need at a precise moment so keeping all of my plans together is super helpful.
    • Keep everything in a notebook or a folder for easy access, or make sure everything is saved is one folder on your laptop/computer.
  • Get all of the fun bits out of the way. Screen Shot 2018-10-23 at 14.30.10
    • I can be a big procrastinator when it comes to writing so am bound to get distracted by finding character face claims or playing around with making covers.
    • To get around this, I try and do all of this before I start writing, as not only do I not have anything to get distracted by, but I can also refer back to it if I get stuck.
    • An example for the novel I’m planning to write for NaNoWriMo (➜) – Background image taken from “Field Trip” Editorial for Details, styled by Paul Stura and photographed by Cass Bird, featuring Simon Nessman as the model.

My Advice:

  • Learn your writing needs.
    • Some people have specific needs for when they’re writing. For example, the amount of noise they can work in, or having to wear something specific to be comfortable. Find what works for you before you get stuck into writing to save some time.
    • For me, comfy trousers are a must (pjs, joggers, etc.), I can’t be too cold and will probably want some sort of snack (usually chocolate πŸ˜‚) so before I sit down to write, I make sure all of those things are sorted out.
  • Plan out your characters.
    • They’re the main drivers of your plot and you need to know them well. Ask yourself what makes them happy/sad/angry/surprised. What do they look like? What are their families like? Their upbringings? All of those things will impact how they react to your plot points and give you a clear vision of the things that they’d say or do.
  • Plan out your plot.IMG-3602.JPG
    • You need to know what’s going to happen before you write it. Planning can help avoid plotholes and questionable scenes, making your story flow better.
    • Even if you’re a ‘pantser’ (someone who writes by the seat of their pants), you’ll still need a vague idea of what’s going to happen so that it all makes sense, so take some time to plan it out!
  • Set achievable word count/chapter goals.
    • If you’re anything like me and need lists and goals to feel productive then this might help to keep you on track.
    • Make sure they’re achievable so that they’re more encouraging than scary!
  • Don’t give up!
    • I’m awful for convincing myself that what I’m writing is bad, or that I’m doing a bad job of explaining myself and tend to leave my WIPs unfinished. The biggest thing with this is to push past that barrier and give it a good go! You’ll be surprised what you can achieve when you put your mind to it.

If you’re thinking of giving NaNoWriMo a go this year then go for it! Don’t be put off by people claiming that it’s only for ‘proper writers’, if you have a story to tell then I’d definitely recommend giving this a go in any capacity. Whether you want to sign up to the website and interact with other writers during the month, or perhaps just want this to be a private goal that you work on alone, I feel like it’s open to anyone.

If you’re taking part I’d love to know! Maybe we can cheer each other on 😊 You can always find me over on Instagram and Twitter if you’d like to keep up to date with my NaNoWriMo progress or just want to vent your own writing stresses!

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19 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo Prep – 2018!

  1. Hannah! I’m so excited for you and I hope you finish your WIP!! 😍🀩 I’m not joining this year as much as I want to, but definitely next year.. and all your tips are a great help to me! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hannah, thank you so much for this post. I’m feeling very inspired at the moment! I don’t know if it’s realistic for me to take this on in addition to maintaining my blog (and my full time job), but I think I’m going to give it a go. I’ve had a novel percolating in my mind for quite awhile now, and whether or not it is published I feel like it will be good for me to get it out of my head and down on paper.
    Thanks again,
    My Best Friend Adeline

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No problem, I’m glad you enjoyed it! Go for it Joan! Even just dedicating some time to write as much as you can, even if it’s not finished by the end of the month, you’ll at least have a great start to build on when you have the time 😊 Good luck to you!


  3. Hannah, good luck with your WIP!! Your tips are so on point! I’ll be participating this year as well. I’m working on a book 2 of a book I wrote last NaNo. I haven’t planned out how it’ll work, but I still have time before November πŸ˜…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I NEEDED a post like this. Not gonna lie, I’m not prepared at all for NaNoWriMo, and I still have no idea what I’m going to write about… there’s still a few days left, I can do this πŸ˜‚
    You seem so prepared and ahead of the game already! I definitely think I’m going to have to give your tips a go and see how I get on. Hopefully, my first NaNoWriMo will be successful!
    Good luck to you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You got this! I still have some plot points to work out but we have a few days so I’m trying not to stress about it πŸ˜‚ I hope the tips help, but I always think that you know your writing style and needs best so play to that and you’ll be flying! Good luck to you, can’t wait to see how you get on! x


  5. This is my first year officially doing NaNoWriMo too! I had no idea there was a whole website and forum dedicated to it, so I’ve been pretty active on that – reading and contributing. I’m actually really excited just to see if I can develop a solid, daily writing practice.

    I am definitely a bit of a “plantser” – I’ve got an overall plot and idea (based on a dream I had YEARS ago), but I really want to let the characters tell the story as it unfolds so I don’t want to do too much planning in advance.

    What’s your genre this year? I’m doing a space opera – which is a realm I’ve never dived into before but am really excited about! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Good luck to you! I’m similar, I’ve been working on this idea for a while but never really put the time into it so I’m hoping this helps πŸ˜‚
      My genre is historical romance set at the beginning of WW1. Space opera sounds so interesting! I’d love to know how you get on with it 😊


  6. So excited for you Hannah, I know you can do it and can’t wait to see the results! Think you’re very brave to try and do all that in a month, I can barely keep on top of the washing up πŸ˜‚ If that ever changes, your tips will be a great help! Good luck girl 🀞🏼

    Liked by 1 person

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