It's October! And if you're a writer looking to participate in November's NaNoWriMo writing competition, that means it's time to start thinking and planning ahead. Hence, "Preptober" was born. October is the time to start brainstorming your next Nano idea and mapping out, developing, and curating a plan for how to best approach writing a 50,000 word novel in a month. As someone who not only participated in Nano, but won it last year, I wanted to share a little piece of wisdom to help you be successful this year too!
1. Invest In The Right Tools
Last year I invested in Natalia Leigh's Preptober Workbook to help me plan out Blood and Bone and prepare to begin writing it in November. That proved to be super helpful- from character profiles, to writing schedule, outlining, and more this workbook is packed with prepping tools that will lead you to Nano success! Another fun tool I invested in was Nano stickers from Stone Ridge Stickers. This was a cute way to help me stay motivated as I wrote and keep track of things such as word count, outline, and Nano goals. I also created my own Nano binder complete with a custom cover I made in Canva for free, plenty of highlights and writing utensils, a notebook- etc. I also bought a candle and special tea to help me build a writing ritual that would mark the beginning and end of each writing sprint.
2. Prep Your Mindset and Your Self-Care Schedule
The hardest part about participating in Nano isn't the writing itself- it's the discipline it takes to finish a novel in a month. There's two tried-and-true methods that I used to help me get there, and I'm convinced they'll work for you too. The first is to mentally prepare yourself for the task ahead. Writing a book in a month is essentially binge writing, and that means that if you're like me and don't usually write in such vigorous amounts every day, you may struggle to mentally keep yourself motivated and keep yourself from running out of steam. One thing I found particularly helpful is to create a visual inspiration board that you can either hang on the wall in plain view of your writing space, to put in your Nano binder where you can see it every day, or someplace like Pinterest or Trello. Having that visual aid to help re-inspire me helped me keep excited about my story even when I felt tired or didn't want to write. The second tip, is to make sure you incorporate self-care into your daily routine. When your brain is working hard, your body needs that extra time to zone out, relax, and think of things other than writing. A full night's rest, meditation, or even a bubble bath with a good book can help work wonders for the weary Nano writer.
3. Build Your Outline and Plan Ahead
One reason why Preptober is an entire month dedicated to "prepping" is exactly what it sounds like. It's time dedicated to brainstorm, outline, develop characters, establish worldbuilding and so on so that when November comes you're all set and ready to sit down to write. Leaving things to chance almost seals your Nano novel's fate. It makes it harder to stay devoted, harder to finish, and can lead writing block and to giving up sooner. This is why it's important to embrace the planning process and take the time necessary to gain a strong grasp of the story you want to tell before you begin writing competitively. My blog has tons of resources for helping you plan out your story, so make sure to visit during October!
4. Gather Your Community
Last but not least, having a strong support system during Nano can help perk you up on those days when you feel you can't write anymore. One thing I was so glad I did was to share my Nano journey on Instagram. Through my writing friends (some who were participating and some who weren't) I felt an added sense of excitement overall that kept things fun and light-hearted. With every milestone I had "cheerleaders" encouraging me to keep going and fellow writers to celebrate with along the way. It was so much fun and something I'm very much looking forward to taking part in again this year!
Armed with these 4 tips, your Preptober journey should prove to be a fruitful experience. Planning, being in the "write" mindset, and knowing the full extent of your story before NaNoWriMo will help you achieve your writing goals this November.