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My 8 preps for NaNoWriMo!

Oh, hello there, adventure. Excuse me while I prime my confetti cannon for the awesome job it will have come December 1st. 🙂

As you’ve learned from the title, I’m diving into NaNoWriMo! *cheers* For those who don’t know what that is, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month, where writers of all kinds take up the gauntlet of writing a full novel in one month.

BUT accept such a hefty challenge takes preparation. You don’t start climbing a mountain without the essential gear, right?

So here are the steps I’ve taken in my NaNoWriMo prep:

#1: Clean Desk

Mhmm. Yep, the first step of success means starting off with a clean work environment. All that clutter and yuck ain’t good for creativity—at least not for me.

Plus if I’m battling a stack of paperwork for elbow space, it’ll add stress and steal away brain power for dreaming up dramatic scenes.

I want the drama on the story pages, not all over my desk.


#2: Outline and Character Inspiration

Now many pantsers, or discovery writers, will disagree on the use of an outline. But despite my pantser tendencies, having an outline is key when dealing with tight deadlines. If I have no idea where my story is heading, then I’ll be more likely to stare at a blank screen for hours. I don’t know about you, but I’d rather spend that time with productive word counts. 😉

However, I’ve learned that each book of mine has its own outline process—as the pantser in me dictates.

With this project, I’ve kept notecards handy, filling them with daydreamed scenes of my characters. They’ll be organized in order within a binder with room to add notes as I work on the first draft.

A physical outline, plus extra space to write notes after each writing session, works splendidly with how my brain is wired.

#3: Playlist

Music soothes the soul and inspires all sorts of creativity. A playlist can also be used to stimulate the brain and trigger the “now time to write” mode. Kind of like rewiring your mind to know when to open the floodgates for all those daydreams on Story River.

For this project, I only have two songs that fit with the emotions going on inside my head. However, I’m sure to tack on more as the month progresses.

I’m not really one for long playlists when writing anyhow. I like to stick to a couple that helps set the tone for my writing sessions.

For now, I have:

Rachel Platten’s Fight Song

Plumb’s God Help Me

Lauren Daigle’s O’ Lord


#4: Writing Buddies


Tackling the first draft, whether for NaNoWriMo or not, is daunting. And getting that first draft done takes a lot out of a person. So I made sure to have battle buddies at my side. Not only for word count sprints and accountability, but also for a shoulder to cry on when life knocks me upside the head. Because we all know that’s going to happen at some point in the process. 😉

While I have officially registered on the NaNoWriMo site, I’m also a part of a writing group with fellow NaNo’ers in the Realm Makers community. I’m looking forward to climbing the First Draft Mountain with them.


#5: Tracker and Reward System

As I mentioned, I am registered on the NaNoWriMo site and will be sure to update my counts daily, after each writing session. Just to have that official log with them.

But I also have a fun tracker in my bullet journal with prizes lined up at certain milestones.

Granted, I kept the prizes low cost, because, hello, starving artist over here *waves*. But those goodies are things I’ve been wanting.

Celebrating before starting, during the grind, and after completion of a project can keep those feel-good emotions stirred up. Plus I get presents! 😀

#6: Chocolate and Caffeine

Duh! No brainer, right?

Caffeine (coffee and tea) because I’m a multi-hat wearing ninja. Lots of roles and responsibilities in life mean lots of early morning writing sessions. Gotta make sure my brain’s awake for that!

And chocolate must be on hand to comfort me for those scenes that tear my heart out. Or the times when life is stressing me out. Or when … you know, chocolate is just a life essential. Enough said. 😉


#7: Realistic Writing Days and Goals

Knowing my strengths AND my weaknesses is another key item in achieve success for my goals. I know with certainty how many words I can get out of an hour. And to be honest, it’s not a lot. I’m one of those “turtle writers” you hear about.

I embrace who I am by knowing exactly what I can do. So when scheduling my month, I looked over my crazy November calendar and blocked out writing days with word count goals that I know I can reach. This way I’m setting myself up for success, not emotional distress.


#8: Informed My Family

My family has been informed of the writing challenge I’ve taken on for November. This allows them the opportunity to support me and cheer me on.

This also gives them the opportunity to step up and make dinner on occasion or they’ll end up with whatever slop I set on the table. 😉

Because by the end of a long writing day, I’m lucky to not run into walls with how glitched out my brain gets. 😀


Are YOU doing NaNoWriMo? I’d love to know what steps you took to get prepared. And if you are, hit me up over on the NaNo site (dwilliamsbooks). I’d love to cheer you on!

Until next time, adventure.

Keep those daydreams alive.

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