How to Prep for NaNoWriMo Without Freaking Out

Posted October 11, 2016 by Amanda Shofner in Writing / 0 Comments

If you’ve been on the Internet lately, and are involved in the writing community, then you probably know NaNoWriMo is coming. Less than a month to go!

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There’s a lot of advice available, but I find that getting deep down in NaNoWriMo preparation articles only makes me feel more overwhelmed than before.

If you want to skip the freakout—but still be ready to write November 1—here’s what you need to do:

Know that no right way to prepare exists

That’s right! Everyone thinks they know the best way to prepare for NaNo, and most people do—for themselves. Read those NaNoWriMo preparation articles with an eye toward what pieces of advice will work for you.

If you have time, you can try out a few different strategies to test what works for you. But don’t feel like you have to prepare a specific way in order to be fully ready to write. (Chances are, no matter what you do, November 1 will come much sooner than you’d like it to.)

Be ready to write crap

Embrace the shitty first draft. A lot of writers, especially beginners, get caught up in wanting to write the perfect draft. But spoiler: first drafts aren’t supposed to be perfect. Perfect doesn’t exist.

If you plan to hit 50,000 words in November, you’d better get comfortable with writing something that may not meet your expectations. But you’re going to struggle hitting 1,667 words¬†every single day if you obsess over getting it “right.”

Just get the words out. After November, you can get into editing and fix everything then.

Have an idea

You should have an inkling about what to write. After all, writing 50,000 words about nothing is probably excruciatingly difficult. How much you need to know about that idea to be able to write depends on YOU.

Here’s where you should study up on pre-writing. I suggest starting with my go-to expert for outlining, K.M. Weiland. Here’s an article on whether you should outline your novel for NaNo.

Make a NaNoWriMo writing schedule

Let’s get serious here. Fifty thousand words in a month is A LOT. That’s 1,667 words every single day. My brain gets tired just thinking about it.

Fitting that much writing time in your month can get difficult if you don’t have a plan. You’ll start falling back on the “I’ll deal with it later” method, and before you know it, it’ll be the middle of November and you’ll have only a handful of words to show for it.


Need a little more help getting started? I’ve created a four-day email course (with worksheets!) to help you get writing. You’ll cover everything from creating a writing schedule to establishing your goals (and why that matters). Just sign up below!

Are you participating in NaNo this November? Let’s be friends! You can find me here.

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