The wonderful chaos that is NaNoWriMo starts in less than two days. Most of the participants, myself included, have been working like wild banshees to get our book ideas prepped, our scenes outlined and our engines revved. When the start flag gets raised at 12:01 on November 1st, we want to be ready.
A lot of my writing work this week has been to prep for NaNoWriMo, but some of it’s very different than what I’ve done in the past. This is my 4th time doing NaNo and I’ve realized over time that the biggest detriment to the November word count is LIFE.
Birthdays, Thanksgiving, work projects…those are the things that suck up writing time. Keeping that in mind, here are the “behind the scenes” things I’ve done that I believe will pay off big in terms of page count:
1. Blogging ahead
This will be the first NaNoWriMo I’ve participated in since I started More Cowbell. In the interest of spending more time on my WIP and less on my blog, I’m a few days ahead on scheduled blogs and a LOT ahead on ideas. I’ve got about 10 drafts started so that I still get the “brain warm-up” benefit of my blog, without all the time consuming aspects like planning the posts, formatting and finding graphics.
2. Donating To NaNoWriMo
Believe it or not, I expect this to help my word count in November and in the long run.
Donating even $10 to NaNoWriMo helps – it costs a lot of money to throw this event every year. Plus, our money goes to young writer’s programs, libraries, classrooms and camps. If you want to keep doing NaNo each year, it’s best to budget your $10 (or more) and pony up.
What you get back from donating (besides satisfaction and a halo on your profile) is a variety of nifty prizes. The one constant among the donation levels, and the benefit I’m excited about, is the bonus pep talks from NaNoWriMo Founder Chris Baty and various published NaNoWriMo authors. In my experience, these really help you stay focused and motivated on your work in progress.
Baty-isms (sayings from NaNo founder, Chris Baty) will be delivered directly to your inbox. In case you are new, some of the ones are remember are gems like: “Your Story Matters” and “Run Whooping Through The Valleys Of Your Imagination.” Now tell me those aren’t inspiring?
3. Download the WriMo version of Scrivener
This is the first year I’ve done this, mainly because the Windows version is finally out. I downloaded the program and am spending today practicing and compiling files so I’m ready on November 1. I didn’t want to get to crunch time and freak out because I couldn’t get my writing out of the program.
Just so you know, WriMo’s get a discount off the program every year. The trial is good until December 7th. All participants can use the code NANOWRIMO to get 20% off the program. NaNo winners receive a code to get 50% off the program. What a great prize!
All special NaNoWriMo offers can be found here.
4. Stock up on meals
My husband and I swear by Dream Dinners whenever big life events are on the horizon. We did this before our daughter was born too. If you have a local Dream Dinners (they’re in 29 states), order your food online, go there and prep your meals. It usually takes less than two hours to prep for one person and half that if you do it as a couple and you have an entire month of ready-made meals. Plus, our Dream Dinners lets us drink wine when we go at night and coffee when we go in the morning. 🙂
5. Plan November events in advance
My husband and I already planned my birthday celebration, my RWA meeting, all the write-ins I’ll be attending and Thanksgiving. By sending these invites and completing the reservations and meal planning early, it will be less time away from writing. I’ll enjoy my Thanksgiving meal-prep more knowing it’s just a few hours away from my manuscript, rather than a day and a half. Plus, hubby agreed to buy and make the turkey! I’ll do everything else with his help. WOOT!
6. Spend extra time with family NOW
We had a pre-NaNo weekend this weekend, spending a lot of quality time as a family. I recommend romantic dates and big Halloween celebrations for everyone who has important people in their life that want to do these things. By taking time in advance and prepping your family and friends for a month where your head is firmly planted in your manuscript, your NaNoWriMo success becomes a group project.
What tricks have you learned for maximizing your writing time? Are there places where you write better? Are there treats or rewards you offer yourself for accomplishing your writing goals? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!
To those of you who celebrate it…Happy Halloween! 🙂