National Novel Writing Month. (Here’s the official shield and shiz…)
Or NaNoWriMo for the psychos who actually participate in this madness. Because you have to be just a little cray to attempt to write 50,000 words in 30 days.
I’m up for it. My debut novel, Cougarette, was borne from NaNo 2014 and I’ve been writing ever since. So yes, NaNo can be a good thing. However, I’m a Planner (as opposed to a Pantser): I go into November ready for battle.
Battle of the Lack of Sleep. Battle of the Writer’s Block. Battle of the Daily Word Count Goal (which has to be at least 1,667 words per day. That’s roughly a page and a half.)
So, yeah. That’s why iPlan. My NaNo Prep Kit includes:
- Tunes: I have a private playlist of tunes for my NaNo project, Confirmed. Music frees my mind and I hope that’s true for you. A playlist can help you bust through writer’s block or simply be good background music while you brainstorm plot ideas. Some of my favorite artists for this project’s playlist include Bruno Mars, Carly Simon, The Weeknd, Jon B., Aretha Franklin, and Jay Z.
- Water: Most of my friends and family understand that I consist mainly of coffee and wine. I mean, it’s all water in the end, right? Right? No? Okay. So I suggest you drink a minimum of a gallon of water a day to keep the mind and body clearer. Clear mind, clear ideas, awesome plot bunnies!
- Vision Board: When I wrote Cougarette, I filled out a questionnaire. It was a great experience to flesh out CeeCee and – after five books and a short story collection, I’ve been able to peel back all of the layers of Ms. Banks. With this new character, Zoe Taylor, I’m coming from a different angle because she and I have less in common than CeeCee and I. So I went visual – a Pinterest-engineered vision board. And, I must say: it’s really helping me get in touch with not only my MC Zoe, but also with the two men in her life. Juicy!
- Exercise: I went to Jazzercise today for the first time in over two weeks. Then I went traipsing around an apple orchard with my hubbie and kids for two hours. I napped for an hour after that and woke up with fresh ideas about my NaNo characters. Like water, exercise can free up the mind to crucial plot details that you can always jot down on a notepad for later (if ever) use. Bringing a sandbox of information about your characters to NaNo when it starts in November can be extremely useful in the long haul when you’re trying to find…
- Conflict: I told y’all I’m a Planner. That means I not only need my characters somewhat fleshed out, but I must also have a conflict (or basis for the narrative) ready before November First. In fact, I came up with my conflict during Jazzercise this AM. The second the routine was over, I ran to my gym bag, emailed myself the conflict plot point, and resumed the workout…which reminds me of something else you need:
- Notepad/Email: I don’t always bring a notepad with me (although I keep one at my bedside – an all-around good rule of thumb for any writer). When I don’t, there’s always my iPhone. Just as I did today, I can always email myself ideas about my characters and plot as they come to me. I drop them in an email folder marked ‘NaNo’. I get back to them come the first.
I encourage anyone with a budding drive to write to do NaNo 2015. It drives you crazy, makes you cranky, and causes you to throw things – but it’s so much fun!