NaNoWriMo: Get Ready

This series will cover the stages of National Novel Writing Month and offer support and advice. This essay deals with getting ready.

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Follows: Get Prepared

So it’s almost time to start clocking in hours and tallying every work you write. Unfortunately it isn’t always that easy, even with the preparations you’ve undertaken, there are some more that aren’t necessarily to do with writing at all.

Every year I find myself in a bit of a pickle because I can’t find the time to write, or I suddenly have chores to do that I could have done a week before. Maybe even my desk space is a mess and even though I can write on my bed, the mess still clutters my mind.

These few short days until National Novel Writing Month are the days to get everything sorted, to work out where you want your writing space to be, or fit it into your busy schedule, or to disconnect all your phones to stop your mum from constantly ringing to find out where you’ve been.

So, what I do ever year is work out exactly how much I want to write each day—which I covered in the last essay, Get Prepared. It is important to keep it in mind, as this may be the very first hurdle you come across: panicking because you’re unsure of how much to write on your first day.

With this in mind, I like to get notebooks ready. Those little pocket-sized ones that I can carry about with me wherever I go. These are priceless when it comes to storing information, that or a dictaphone and/or smart phone. The latter of these maybe great for most people as we’re now in an age that carries them everywhere, it’s just a case of making sure we know how to use it for this purpose. It took me a few goes and sometimes I forget I’ve used it, hence why I stick to notebooks.

You’ve got your desk space cleared (or not), you’ve got your notebook and you’ve got a timeline, what else could we need? Well, it’s all a case of sharpening your space to your temperament. Some people I know stock up on instant coffee and ready meals. This is the time I like to make sure I have all my playlists ready for different writing moods.

It is time to make sure there are no distractions, even if that means writing once all the kids have gone to bed, or doing all your chores as quickly as possible. Get the ball rolling with some pictures to give yourself some visual imagery as prompts, or something with a similar effect.

The one thing I will keep reminding everyone who starts NaNoWriMo, constantly, is that this isn’t the final draft. Be as messy as you like, be as imperfect as what suits you. Just get it all out. Get the story out and remember that future drafts are when to flesh out the work and iron out all the kinks.

Right now you are free to experiment and play.

Have fun.


Next: Get Writing

Sometimes she writes. Sometimes she doesn’t. Either way, she’s not doing what she’s supposed to be doing.

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