NaNoWriMo, Writing

6 weeks to NaNoWriMo: AKA how to not give up before you even get going

So, there are 6 weeks until NaNoWriMo 2016 which means it’s beginning to seriously invade my thoughts and my sensible-brain is warring with my impulsive-brain incessantly about whether or not to sign up.  I’ve successfully completed NaNoWriMo once, back in 2011 and I’m really hoping to make 2016 a second successful year, although my circumstances now are pretty different to how they were back then:

  • I now work full-time, compared to ~15 hours a week of university lectures + however long for assignments
  • I also volunteer one day a week
  • My successful year was as a rebel, working on fanfiction, whereas this year I hope to write original fiction
  • I was a pantser last time, and this year I’m experimenting as a plotter

Last year I hoped to take part, I talked about it briefly, and within about two days I’d given up, so this year I’m starting early with my planning and organisation to try and give myself the best odds. I figure there are three potential big danger-zones I need to work on:

  1. Making sure I sign up in the first place

  2. Making it through the first week

  3. Continuing with the effort until the end of the month

Addressing these three danger zones doesn’t guarantee winning – I could try all month and not hit 50,000 words – but they’re the reasons I’m most likely not to TRY.  If I try and don’t hit the goal, I’ll still consider that a success and buy myself a cake because I am a sugar fiend (though of course, winning would be a bigger success and I’d buy a bigger cake).

Making sure I sign up in the first place

 – Get excited about taking part

For the next two weeks I’ll be brainstorming ideas, creating pinterest boards and generally doing anything I can to try and come up with a story idea I love and can’t wait to write

 – Minimise excuses NOT to sign up

Blogging: Throughout October I’ll be taking part in Blog Ahead to schedule as many posts as I can for November – which also happens to be sci-fi month, one of my favourite blogging events all year! – so that I can take a step back from blogging if I need to.

Reading: I’m hoping to build up as much of a head start on my GR challenge as I can before November begins – while I’m sure I will definitely still be reading, it might be a bit less than normal, since I’ll be trying to squeeze in writing time too.  As well as trying to gain some momentum on my GR challenge, I’ll also be brainstorming a list of manga and graphic novels I’d like to read ready for breaks when my brain is feeling a little frazzled throughout November!

Work/Social etc: There isn’t really anything I can do to make work easier, but I can ensure friends and family know I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo. This both ensures they understand why I might be a little less available than normal, and hopefully also gives me a few cheerleaders!  I’ll be trying to make regular plans as much as possible so that I know that say Wednesday evenings are movie nights, or Friday evenings are gym sessions etc.


Making it through the first week

 – Have a starting point

The last thing I want to do is get prepped and organised and then be intimidated by the dreaded blank page!  I want to have an opening scene pretty well planned out so that I know where to get started.

 – Have an outline/Novel Binder/Some form of helpful notes!

Like I said, last time I succeeded I was very much making it up as I went, in full NaNo spontaneity spirit. But, NaNoWriMo isn’t against planning, and whereas fanfiction gives you characters and settings you’re very familiar with to play with, this time it’ll be all new.  I don’t know yet whether I’ll have a detailed outline, a random collection of bullet pointed notes or a binder Hermione Granger would be proud of, but I know I want SOMETHING I can keep coming back to.

 – Get Scrivener up and running!

Scrivener is what I used before, and while I didn’t love it, I liked it well enough.  I like the added features in terms of word counts for the day etc, and although to be honest I’m pretty happy using Word, using Scrivener just gives it the added special NaNo ritual feel.


Continuing until the end of the month

 – A NaNoWriMo calendar

I am a total geek and I love planners, spreadsheets, calendars etc. I’ll definitely have a calendar with daily target word counts etc to tick off, as a more visual representation of progress – and something that I can’t just avoid by never turning my laptop on!

 – NaNoWriMo survival box

More on what’s actually in my box to come (… when I’ve made it!) but this again comes back to the special NaNoWriMo ritual feel – guilt-free treats as reward, fun things to inspire me etc.

So, there you have my plans for how to hopefully not fail before I’ve even begun!  Since NaNo will be taking up a big chunk of my life/time/brain power, expect to see more posts soon.  Let me know if there’s anything in particular ou’d like to see, but I’m expecting some more planning, progress updates and the survival box contents!  Will you be joining in with NaNoWriMo this year?


2 thoughts on “6 weeks to NaNoWriMo: AKA how to not give up before you even get going

  1. I probably will be participating in Nano this year, only because it reminds me that I can still make time to write during the school year! I think your safety measures to make sure you make it to the end are fantastic, and I know I’ll be stocking up on treats to keep myself going through the month ;D Great post, and best of luck with Nano!


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