5 Ways To Prep For NaNo Without Worrying About Your Novel [NaNoWriMo Prep]

NaNoWriMo begins in less than two weeks. Everyone has been talking about novel prep all month long, myself included.

But when it comes to prepping for NaNo, it doesn’t have to be all about your novel. That sounds weird, I know. But there are plenty of other things to think about for the month of November.

5 Ways to prep for NaNo without writing

Writing Space

Where are you going to spend the majority of your time writing? In your office? Your bedroom? Maybe sitting in your living room or porch? Maybe, depending on where you are in the world, you’ll lounge outside.

If you’re going to be sitting somewhere like your desk, make sure that it’s cleared off. Give yourself plenty of room for your laptop, a notebook, a few pens, your mug filled with your drink of choice, etc.

Time

Clear your calendar or at least organize it. Plan our your social obligations, let everyone know you’ll be busy each day between this time and that time. You can get your writing time in and you can also continue to be social so people know you’re alive.

Food

Stock up on your food supplies. Coffee or tea, chocolate, dinner, everything. You may or may not forget to go food shopping.

Clothes

Wash any comfortable clothing you have now. Get that out of the way so you can kick back with your laptop and lounge in your pajamas while writing.

Blog Posts/Work/School

If you have any work to do now, get it done. Any school assignments that you know will be due during the month? Get it done.

Plan, write and schedule your blog posts for November as well. This will leave one less thing for you to do. Because, let’s face it… after writing your novel, you’re not going to want to look at words anymore much less the computer screen.

What else have you been doing to prep for NaNo? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

5 Fun And Useful Books Of Writing Prompts [NaNoWriMo Prep]

How do you prep for NaNo?

Most of the time, when I talk about outlining on this blog, pretty much everyone who comments tells me that they don’t outline at all.

So, how do you exactly prep for NaNo, if you prep at all?

I find that writing prompts are a great way to get your creative juices flowing.

5 useful books of writing prompts

3am Epiphany 

This book by Brian Kiteley is filled with various writing prompts and exercises. Prompts that have to do with point of view, characters, emotions, time, and much more. It’s really a great read and great practice.

4am Breakthrough 

Like the previous book, this one, also by Brian Kiteley has more great prompts and exercises. The themes around the prompts are a little different. These exercises have to do with various themes in writing such as love or death. It also goes deeper into friends and family as well as school and the like.

The Amazing Story Generator

This writing prompt book by Jay Sacher is unique as each page is broken into three pieces. It’s spiral bound on the inside and you can move the pages around as you wish. This means endless prompt possibilities for you.

The Write-Brain Workbook

Written by Bonnie Neubauer, this is a big book of prompts. It ranges from scene prompts, scenerio prompts, first lines, pictures, and more.

The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts

This is a great one by Martha Alderson. These prompts cater to where you are in your book: the beginning, halfway point, climax, and end. These prompts are pretty in depth, but they’re helpful.

Have you used any of these books? What other books of writing prompts do you use? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

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How Will You Be Writing Your NaNo Novel? [NaNoWriMo Prep]

I first joined NaNoWriMo in 2008, though I didn’t participate until 2009. NaNo is a website online, so I thought the only way to write NaNo was to write it on the computer, especially since you have to copy and paste your novel onto the website to “validate” the word count.

It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized not everyone wrote their novels on the computer. Not everyone used Word Document.

Kris was the one who told me that some people handwrote their novels.

Who in their right mind handwrites 50,000 words…? But people do it. And it’s a challenge I wouldn’t mind taking up, though maybe for Camp NaNo with a lower word count. Depending on how big I write, I can write about 250 words a page. I don’t even know how long that takes me, but I do know it takes me an hour to type 2,000 words. So, naturally, I’d rather type for NaNo than handwrite.

But it can be and has been done before.

How do you write during NaNoWriMo?

Word Document

I always type it on the computer because it’s easier for me. I’m able to keep up with my train of thought and I can write more in less time. Word has always been my go-to because that’s just what I grew up with.

Notebook

Like I said before, I’ve never handwritten a novel for NaNo before. I think it would be a fun challenge that I do plan on trying out some day, but it most likely won’t be anytime soon.

When I used to write fan fiction years ago, I used to write it all in a notebook first. So I’ve certainly filled up my fair share of notebooks with stories and books long before I knew about NaNo. However, I never wrote those stories within 30 days.

Storyist

I’ve heard good things about Storyist, though I’ve never used it. This is another way to write your novel and I know some people use this for NaNo as well. Not only can you write your novel, but you can take notes, outline, and keep your story organized.

Scrivener

Similar to Storyist, I’ve heard people write their novels this way as well. I’ve never used it, but I believe it’s more or less the same thing as Storyist, except it can be for PC too.

I’ve always wanted to try this (or Storyist), but just never have. I’m too old-fashioned outlining and taking notes in a notebook while I write on Word.

How do you typically write your NaNo novels? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

Give Yourself A Nudge During NaNo [NaNoWriMo Prep]

November is the official “NaNoWriMo” month. There’s no flexibility of choosing your word count like the Camp NaNo months. If you’re in it, you’re into write 50,000 words. No more, no less. (Well, technically you can write more or less, but that’s beside the point…)

During Camp NaNo you can write 10,000 words if you choose. Then you have to write about 334 words a day. That’s a pretty big difference compared to writing 1,667 words a day for a 50,000-word goal.

That difference can make it easy to get behind in your word count.

November is a busy month. We just get over Halloween, then there’s Thanksgiving (where I am), then begins the various Winter holidays. Everyone has either work or school (or both) during November. It’s just an all-around busy time of the year.

That’s why I’m here to tell you to write more than your daily goal.

Do A Little Extra During NaNoWriMo

I try to write 2,000 words a day for three reasons: One, because I like even numbers and two, because I think 2,000 words is a good length for one chapter.

The third reason is that I like to get a little ahead of the game. 2,000 words compared to 1,667 is an extra 333 words. It’s not much, but it’s something.

There will be days when you feel like you can’t write anymore. There will be days when you’re so busy that you write less than 1,667 words or you don’t write at all.

Allow yourself to write that little bit extra each day, even if it’s only 50 or 100 words. If you write a little extra each day, it’ll add up. You’ll finish earlier and you’ll be able to allow yourself some cheat days here and there if you need it.

It’s easier said than done, but if you get yourself into the mentality of writing 1,800 words as opposed to 1,667, it should come easier with each day. Even if you add an extra 50 words one day and then able to add an extra 75 words the next day.

Giving yourself that extra nudge will really pay off in the long run, especially if you’re on a roll with your writing.

This may not make sense to everyone, but it works for me and I think it’s a great way to get a little ahead, especially in the first week. Because we all know that second week of NaNo is the hardest.

Do you typically write the standard 1,667 words? Or do you try to go a little above and beyond when you can? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

WordKeeperAlpha: Write Without NaNoWriMo [NaNoWriMo Prep]

Has anyone heard of WordKeeperAlpha? I may be the last to hop on this train, but I just recently heard of it thanks to Skye Hegyes on her blog. (Go check out her blog if you don’t follow her already. She’s a great person and a wonderful writer.)

I’ve always wanted to add those “progress bars” to my blog. I thought it’d be great to hold myself accountable for my projects. Also, seeing the progress go up is really satisfying and motivating. It’s one of the reasons I love NaNoWriMo so much.

But then I was reading Skye’s blog post one day and she mentioned WordKeeperAlpha. I looked it up and it’s really cool.

WordKeeper Alpha

It’s basically what the title suggests. You keep track of your word goal through that website.

It tracks your writing history from the time you officially start writing on there. You can add projects and goals and a start and an end date for them. In a way, it’s similar to how you’d keep track of your NaNo novel. The difference is that you can keep track of multiple projects at once and it’s all year round.

I think I’m going to get great use out of this because, as I said earlier, I like seeing my progress and that motivates me to keep going.

My only complaint is that it tracks words only. I would love it if it had an editing system or even an outlining system. I set up my NaNo project for November, but I plan on outlining it in October. I try to outline a couple of chapters a day. I’d love to set a 3-chapter a day goal, but I can only count the words. I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to track that just yet.

Still, I think this will be a great website to keep track of my writing projects in and out of NaNoWriMo. I always miss the charts and updating my word count whenever I write outside of April, July, or November.

So, I think this is definitely a site I will be using to track my progress in and out of NaNo.

Do you use WordKeeperAlpha? Do you think you’ll check it out and use it now that you know about it? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

Get To Know Your Characters [NaNoWriMo Prep]

NaNo is coming! It’s about 20 days away… already. It’s coming up fast and there’s no stopping it.

Some people outline their novels, some people don’t. There are some people who do quick writing exercises or prompts as practice to prep for the upcoming writing streak. Some people don’t.

No matter what you do or don’t do, that’s okay. I personally love to outline and I love to try new things with my characters to get to know them a little better.

So, here’s a fun exercise to do with your characters.

NaNoWriMo 2017 Prep: Get To Know Your Characters

I got this idea from my 15-year-old cousin. She had English homework one night and had to do this for the protagonist of her summer reading book.

I have to admit, I was a bit jealous. I never had fun homework like that.

The idea is to think a bit outside the box and to get to know your characters on a deeper level. To the naked eye, it doesn’t make sense, but to a writer, it’s pretty clever.

So, ask yourself this:

Is your protagonist (or any character) more like…

  • May or December?
  • A Jeep, a Corvette, a Saturn, or a Mercedes Benz?
  • Brown or blue?
  • The letter A, the letter M, or the letter Z?
  • Vanilla ice cream or chocolate mousse?
  • New York, San Fransico, Salt Lake City, or New Orleans?
  • A hammer or a nail?
  • White, rye, or pumpernickel bread?
  • A short story, a poem, an essay, or a play?
  • Soap or dirt?
  • Fire, water, earth, or air?
  • A lock or a key?
  • The comics, the sports section, the business report, or the editorial page?
  • A snowstorm or a rainy day?
  • A horse show, a hockey match, or a track-and-field event?
  • A forest fire or a mountain stream?
  • A TV game show, a soap opera, a situation comedy, or a drama?
  • Science fiction, mystery, romance, or horror?
  • A cat, a dog, or a goldfish?

My cousin’s teacher had the class do this on themselves first so they could get a feel for the assignment. My cousin said she was more like “pumpernickel bread” because it’s a funny word. That right there actually sums up her personality. She’s a funny person and can sometimes be a dope. The fact that she immediately thought “pumpernickel” was a funny word and laughed just sums it all up.

With this exercise, you can get to the heart of your characters. It seems silly and random, but you just might learn something new about them.

Have you done anything like this before? Do you think you’ll try this exercise? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!

My NaNoWriMo 2017 Writing Project

Another year has come and gone. And no, I don’t mean 2017. I mean NaNo is just around the corner.

I’m excited to get back into NaNo. I feel like my writing has been short this past year. I’ve really only written anything during the NaNo months. I’ve slowly been fixing that, but NaNo is when I’m the most productive. I think it’s the “competition” of my writing buddies that really makes me go.

My NaNoWriMo 2017 Project

While I have so many novels written that need editing, I feel weird not writing anything new for NaNo.

I’ve been on Wattpad for a long time now. I’ve been wanting to post a story or two on there and I just… haven’t. So, I plan on writing a novel/novella during NaNo. I’ll give that one or two rounds of edits and then post it on Wattpad. My goal is to have it published sometime in January.

“Special”

This past August, I posted an interactive Short Story Sunday where you, my readers, got to vote on what should happen next in the story.

I got a lot of positive feedback on the story and a few people have asked me to continue it. It was a story idea that I had debated on expanding. I’ve decided I’m going to continue it.

Meredith’s story was wrapped up in those four parts, but I know how it will continue with her roommate, Paige, and the Professor.

I plan on outlining it in October, writing it in November, editing it in December, and then publishing it on Wattpad in January. We’ll see how well that works out, but that’s the plan for now.

“Special” is a working title where the Professor will continue to pawn off his special notebook hoping to choose the “correct” person to handle its power. The power can be good or bad, depending on how who uses it and how they use it. Where the notebook came from, no one seems to know. The Professor seems to know more than what he lets on. We’ll just have to see what Paige decides to do with the power.

I’m still outlining the story now so more information on the story itself will come at the end of the month.

I’m looking forward to expanding on this idea. I hope it turns out well and I hope you’ll all read it (and enjoy it) when it’s on Wattpad.

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo next month? What will you be working on? Let me know in the comments below and we’ll chat!