Hello, aspiring Wrimos! We’re two weeks from the big day, so a post with a bit more NaNoWriMo prep seemed appropriate.
I know how much better I perform during National Novel Writing Month when I’ve made an effort to prepare. Writing 50,000 words in one month is a serious goal to strive toward, and every little bit that you can do in October (aka “Preptober”) to make it easier is worthwhile. I know that everyone can’t set aside the time for a full Preptober process, but there are plenty of other things a writer can do to prepare.
Here are a few of my favorites plus two free ways to find inspiration throughout NaNoWriMo!
Read a Book on Writing
Sometimes the best way to get my brain into the writer mindset is to write a book on writing craft. There are so many to choose between, including everything from memoirs with writing advice like Stephen King’s On Writing and books about specific aspects of writing like K.M. Weiland’s Outlining Your Novel.
No matter what you kind of inspiration you need to get through 50,000 words in November, you can find it in a book on writing. Here are a few of my favorites:
Subscribe to my 5-Day NaNoWriMo Prep Email Series
Last month, I launched my free Preptober workbook, which takes writers through Character, Plot, and Setting in preparation for November. Already hundreds of writers have used it to help them prepare for NaNoWriMo, and I couldn’t be happier!
Because I recognize that not everyone has the time to commit to an entire month of NaNoWriMo prep, I took the very best parts of the 31-day workbook and created a free 5-day email series. With 30 minutes each day, you’ll spend one day each working on Character, Plot, and Setting before putting them all together. On the final day, we’ll set up your NaNoWriMo account and announce your novel.
Read a Book with Writing that Inspires You
Every now and then, I read a book that immediately inspires me to write in a way that nothing else can. The book doesn’t have to be in a genre I typically write or have anything to do with a plot that’s been marinating in my brain; something about the writing or a character or one of the themes just speaks to me.
I’ve found that the opposite can happen, too, which is why I’m very careful about the reading I do while I’m actively writing a first draft. It’s probably also why I rarely make any progress toward my Goodreads goals during NaNoWriMo. (Plus writing 1,667 words each days tends to cut into my freetime!)
If you’ve ever felt this way, I would urge you to take some time to read a good book in the time between now and NaNoWriMo. I’m currently reading V.E. Schwab’s newest novel, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, and it is every bit as inspiring as I hoped it would be. Her writing is beautifully crafted, and the story is so unique. Get it through Book of the Month now!
Create An Account at NaNoWriMo.org
If you haven’t signed up for NaNoWriMo before, don’t worry. It’s a super easy (and free!) process. Visit nanowrimo.org, click Sign Up, and fill in your information. Once you’ve activated your account, you’ll be able to update your author profile and create your novel.
Your Author Profile
From your author profile, you’re able to change your username so other authors can find you (Be my writing buddy! I’m tylervrhyde), fill out your location, answer fun questions about you like favorite books, writing music, and hobbies, and insert a bio and photo of yourself.
Announce Your Novel
Beginning in October, you can “Announce your novel.” You’ll have to have your novel recorded at nanowrimo.org to be able to keep track of your writing and ultimately win the month. It’s also a good way to show your commitment to yourself and others. By putting your novel out into the universe, you’re saying, “I’m here, I’m prepared, and I’m going to write 50,000 words in November.”
When you decide to announce your novel, you’ll need to do a few things:
- Add a title. If you already have a working title, great! If you don’t, take a few minutes and decide what you want to refer to your novel as during NaNoWriMo. Try not to get too hung up on this title. You can change it whenever you want.
- Choose a genre. There’s a whole list of different genres to choose from. Since you can only pick one, you’ll want to choose the one that most closely resembles your plans for your novel.
- Upload a cover photo. This is one of the most fun parts of announcing your novel. Create a cover photo based on what you already know about your novel. Then, attach it to your novel’s page for all your “writing buddies” to see.
- Write a short synopsis. This one is optional, but might be fun to show off your NaNoWriMo prep!
Create a Cover Photo
Not only is designing a cover photo a fun break from NaNoWriMo prep, but according to the organization itself, adding a cover photo increases your chances of “winning” by 60%. That’s a pretty compelling argument to take a moment to create a cover photo, if you ask me. I would suggest creating a free Canva account to create your book cover design.
Take Part in an Instagram Challenge
Throughout NaNoWriMo, I’m hosting a daily social media challenge that will help you find other writers and get the word out about your WIP. Each day has a short prompt that will only take you a few minutes to complete. Think “What song inspired your writing today?” or “Share a picture of your writing space.” You can complete the prompts in whatever way strikes your fancy: a Tweet, Facebook post, Instagram Story, IGTV, or Reel. (You could probably do the challenge on Tik Tok, but I am admittedly ill-equipped to help anyone on that platform!)
You can find all the details and a schedule for the month on Instagram @tylervrhyde or Twitter @tylervrhyde. I’ll plan to share my answers via Instagram Stories, and I’ll also have fun Stories templates for writers to share.
Sign up for Daily NaNoWriMo Emails
I’m not going to lie to you. NaNoWriMo can be described using a number of different words. Sometimes it feels empowering, worthwhile, and even soul-discovering. Other times, it’s a slog.
And I’ve found that it’s always better to work through difficult things with the support of others. That’s why, along with the Instagram challenge to bring writers together, I’ve put together an email series. Each day of NaNoWriMo, you can receive an inspiring email first thing each morning. They’re short, sweet, and include inspiring quotes from some of my favorite authors.
What kind of NaNoWriMo prep do you do each year? Are you reading any good books that have given you that inspired writer feeling?
P.S. I’ve also written a post with some of my favorite NaNoWriMo resources from other writers and bloggers!