NaNoWriMo is here, because it’s that time of year again, where some people commit to writing 50,000 words in a month, or at least try and get there. I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo for four years now (this will be my fifth!), I’ve only been successful twice but it kind of depends on how busy I am…
Last year I finished in a week. YUP! 50,000 words in one week, my hands hurt like crazy afterwards but I made it 😀 I recommend taking your time though, 50,000 words in a week is difficult and I wrote for the majority of the day. Breaks are really good idea.
Anywho, I just wanted to write a post about NaNoWriMo and how I prepare for it 🙂 hopefully this will be helpful or entertaining, we shall see.
I do this thing where I plan out the basic story, but leave enough room for me to make changes. If you plan out a solid outline and things end up not working out, I feel like it’s harder to go back and change things, which is half why I do my planning like this. The other half comes from my love of seeing where a story goes 😀 anything could happen!
I LOVE Pinterest. And just in case you don’t know what it is, Pinterest is a website where you can search for… anything really. DIY tutorials, craft ideas, decorating ideas, recipes, make up and hair tutorials, books and MY FAVORITE writing tips and inspiration :D! Obviously Pinterest can be used for more than the above, I’m just giving an idea about what you can find on there…
Anyways, I use Pinterest as a way of getting writing tips and inspiration. I always make Pinterest boards for my WIPs so if I ever need inspiration, I can just go through and look at my board for help.
Here you go 😀 some ideas for you. My NaNoWriMo board looks much darker than my actual story but ok XD. Also you may notice some art under my writing tips board… ignore that XD I have a problem with pinning things under the wrong board and then ignoring them.
Moving on. I ALSO make Pinterest boards for genres, and writing prompts. Under the genre boards, I’ll add fantasy photos for example so that one day, if I’m looking for inspiration I can find it!
I use power point EVERY TIME I plan out a story, it’s kind of important for me to see how everything comes together.
For my planning process, I decided to make an example power point to show how I plan my stories! Not everyone does this, and there are a ton of methods out there for outlining and planning, this is just how I found it easiest to do, it works for me.
I start with a summary of what I know will happen from beginning to end. It’s my overall story idea 🙂
Whenever I plan out a story, I always have a beginning, an end and a few ideas inbetween. Ok, I lied, I don’t always have an end because I’m horrible at ending things, but I do always have a few scene ideas in mind that are important to the plot. I make sure that I write them down on my outline slide, leaving enough room that it’s possible for me to change things. Again, I think if you plan to much then if something falls through, it’s hard to change something because everything after that scene falls apart, BASICALLY. That is my view, and I know that this isn’t always the case, but I like the freedom in how I do my outlines 🙂
To me, it is VERY important to keep note of who your characters are. So I make character slides on my power points. On these slides, I try and put a picture so I can quickly see my character, plus it helps me remember what they look like. Above their photo I give them a name, and next to their picture I put all their important info. Their age, their appearance, personality, background, relation to other characters, importance to plot, basically anything that is crucial to me remembering. I don’t want my character to be all over the place 🙂
When it comes to naming characters, I have it easy! Well, easy ish. I love using NameBerry and Behind the Name for my characters, both websites are great at getting name ideas, finding name origins, meanings, popularity and so on… I prefer using NameBerry because of it’s colorful layout, all of it’s lists, and the name recommendations on the top of the website. Angelina liked using Behind the Name because she’s used to it, and it’s easier for her to navigate. Both have their pros and cons 🙂
And world names and city names… these are SUPER trick for me, I can’t exactly explain how I think up names for fantasy worlds or magical kingdoms. It usually just comes to me. Sometimes I’ll smash word together or give them a fancy spelling. If anyone has any good resources, please share?
Playlists can be very helpful for getting in the mood while writing. Not everyone can write and listen to music, but again, it can set the mood. Angelina and I use Spotify to set up our writing playlists and it’s very easy. But you can use YouTube or whatever you want 😀
If you can’t write with lyrical music, try music without words like classical, or movie soundtracks. Apparently it helps you focus more 🙂
I asked on twitter if anyone had any questions for me since I’ve been doing NaNoWriMo for a few years now… I only got two questions which is fine 🙂 but if you have any others, feel free to comment below and I’ll reply!
1.How do you stick with your goals?
Personally… I set mini goals and after I reach those goals, I reward myself. For example, if I make it to page 10 today I can eat a bowl of ice cream, if I don’t… I wont get ice cream. These rewards can be super motivating, not going to lie. I also remind myself that it’s my dream to be an author, and the first step to getting published, is writing your novel :). NaNoWriMo is a great time to watch your word count go up! This is what keeps me going mostly, that and a good story 😀
Another thing Angelina and I do, is we challenge each other. It is VERY helpful to have a competition of sorts where you buddy up with a friend and challenge each other to make it to the end. However makes it to 50,000 words is the winner… but we’re all winners for at least trying in my opinion. 50,000 words in one month is not easy, but it can be worth a shot for sure!
Writing sprints are good ideas too, I think NaNoWriMo hosts some on twitter? I’m not entirely sure but I think I saw that around. Either way, join up with a friend and set a time limit, it helps you read your goal :).
Just remember, don’t panic or stress out about this! It will be a fun experience, regardless if you meet your goal or not. And even if you aren’t feeling like writing, or if you don’t like your story at the moment, just give it a shot. The worse that can happen is that you remove what you wrote and rewrite something new.
2.Do you do daily goals?
I DO! Daily goals are VERY helpful. I can’t say exactly what my daily goal is because it always changes… Since I have school on the weekdays I write less, so on the weekends to make up for it, I will write as much as possible. For example on Monday to Friday I might write 1,000 words a day, so on the weekends I’ll write 5,000. I’m a really fast typer, so make sure you set goals you CAN achieve. Do not set goals that are too high, because if you can’t achieve them you’ll lose motivation, in my opinion… Be realistic 🙂