Prepping for NaNoWriMo: 10 Things NaNo-Newbies Can Expect
1.) Initial Euphoria
During the first few days of NaNo, you’re going to feel fresh and eager and highly motivated. Take advantage! Get ahead by front-loading your word count (meaning: write more than the 1,667 daily average necessary for reaching 50,000 by November’s end). That way, later in the month, when that early excitement begins to dwindle, you have the wiggle room to cut yourself some slack.
2.) Non-Writer Obliviousness
Hopefully your friends and family will cheer you on as you crush your daily word count goals, but they probably aren’t going to get NaNoWriMo. They’ll ask questions like: Why in the world would you want to write 50,000 words in November? What will you win? So your book will be in stores in the new year? It’s tiresome, I know, but you’ll have to excuse them. They mean well.
3.) Community is Key
While your friends and family might not get NaNo, there are thousands and thousands of people who do! Find your region, and go to write-ins. Get active on the forums. Peruse the #NaNoWriMo hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. One of the best parts of NaNo is the community aspect. It can often mean the difference between winning and stalling out halfway through the month.
4.) Mid-NaNo Burnout
Speaking of stalling out, there’s no escaping the doldrums that come around the middle of November. You’re tired. Your draft is a mess. You feel like you’ll never finish, even while other (super-fast!) writers are already starting to reach their 50,000 word goal. Whose idea was this NaNo thing, anyway? Friends. You’ve got this. Push through.
5.) The Stats Page is Your Friend
Don’t forget to log your daily word count on your NaNoWriMo Stats Page. It’ll help you keep track of your progress, and how far you have left to go. And, if you’re anything like me, watching that little line climb the graph is incredibly encouraging.
6.) Thanksgiving Bitterness
This one mostly applies to U.S.-residing turkey consumers, but how dare Thanksgiving exist during the month of November? Who has time to make homemade pie crust when there are word count goals to be met?! This is where that front-loading of words I talked about earlier will come in really handy. Roast, peel, stir, bake, baste. Watch football. Play Scrabble. Eat your heart out. You’ll write again tomorrow.
7.) Inner Editor Obnoxiousness
Unfortunately, your biggest critic will not take a vacation during NaNoWriMo. Your inner editor will be present and accounted for all month, whispering doubts in your ear at the most inopportune times. Tell them to zip it. You’ve got words to write, and who even cares if they’re perfect?
8.) The Final Push
When you hit somewhere around 42,000-45,000 words, that initial euphoria will shine upon you again, and you’ll likely want to push through to The End. Go for it. Or, continue with your steady pace. Whatever your choice, use that renewed energy to press on. You’re almost there.
9.) Multiple Prizes
Guys, finishing is the ultimate reward, but there are actual prizes for participants and finishers, too, including significant discounts on a variety of writing/editing courses and programs. The first year I won NaNo, I was able to purchase Scrivener for 50% off. That’s huge! Check out NaNoWriMo’s Offers page for more information.
10.) Pride... and Patience
When you reach your 50,000 word goal, you’re going to be so proud of yourself, and you should be! You’ve accomplished a thing not many can: You’ve written a book. Treat yourself to an ice cream sundae. Buy yourself something pretty. Shout your achievements from the rooftops. Just… don’t put your story out there on December 1st. It’s beautiful and full of heart, but it’s not done. Put it away for a while. Like, a few months. Then revise it. Ask for feedback. Revise it again. Polish that baby until it shines. There. Now it’s done.
Best of luck, fellow NaNoWriMo-ers! <3