Preparing for NaNoWriMo

Today I'm heading out to the Rocky Mountain Chapter Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrator's Conference in Denver, Colorado. That's a mouthful! This will be my second time attending, and I'm excited to spend time with writers and illustrators I've met, or met online. Friends like Lois Rosio Sprague and Stacy S. Jensen and Kathleen Pelley.

With all the hospital drama my family has endured in the last couple of weeks, I'm really looking forward to a few days away. But NaNoWriMo has been on my mind, so I thought I'd give you something to think about over the weeekend: getting ready. If you don't know what NaNoWriMo is, check out this post.

 National Novel Writing Month is only a month away. If you're on the fence about whether to participate, now is a great time to make a decision so you can plan ahead. November will be much less stressful if you do what you can to prepare for writing and prepare for living.

Prepare for writing. If you follow the 'rules', you'll be starting a brand-new manuscript. Although you can't begin writing till November 1st, you can work out your plot, an outline, your characterization, storyworld, conduct research. Basically anything short of actually writing the book. Many participants have a chapter or scene list ready to go. Seat-of-the-pants writers can still brainstorm major plot points.

Probably the best thing you can do to prepare for writing is to write something every day starting now. Just getting into the habit of daily writing is the biggest hurdle. You don't have to write 1667 words daily now. Just a few paragraphs a day to get your body and mind in gear for the big push.

I've collected lots of resources for writers preparing for November:
Work out your plot with this course, or these resources or more plot resources.
And if you want some printable workbooks to help out, check out these and these.

Prepare for living. You'll still need to eat in November. And possibly work. If you have a significant other, or kids, or pets, they'll be more than miffed if you completely check out for a month. That means thinking ahead to the easiest meals to fix. Cleaning the house ahead of time. Begging out of commitments during November. Anything to streamline life so you can relax and write.

Here are a few links with specific ideas for getting ready for NaNoWriMo:

Will you take the plunge? What do you plan to work on this time?


  1. I do have ideas for NaNo, but I think I'll just be rewriting an old ms instead. I have way too many rough drafts as it is, I need to keep working on revising what I have! Even though I have shiny new ideas whispering subversively to me all the time lately ;)

  2. Having done it once, I don't think I'll do it again, though I might use it as an excuse to finish my WIP which, for some reason (*cough* my fault *cough*) that's taking forever to write.

  3. Thanks for this info, Debbie...I bought Holly's plot book, and I'm looking forward to using it. Do you know if NaNoWriMo is appropriate for writing chapter and MG books?
    Have a wonderful time at your creative!

  4. I keep saying "this year" and then another year goes by. But thanks for the links--I'll squirrel them away and hope to take advantage of them...probably next year! Enjoy the conference :-)

  5. Trisha, that's what I usually do. I continue to work on whatever I'm already writing. This year I might try something new.

    Sonia, you don't really need Nano, since you already write far more than anyone I know!

    Jarm, I hope you like the plot course. Yes, you can do chapter books during Nano. Whatever you want. Depending on the length of the book, you might finish two during the month.

    Kenda, I've never actually 'finished' Nano, but I figure I end up writing more than I would have if I hadn't participated.

    I'm tucked up in the hotel in Denver, having enjoyed a fun evening talking writing with friends new and old. Have a great weekend!


  6. It was great seeing you there. I've sorted through homework, now blogs and oh, that's right, I'm supposed to return to a regular sleeping schedule after conference. Funny how lack of sleep leaves me feeling refreshed after a conference. Now to get to work on my writing with all this new information.

  7. It was so fun hanging out with you! Somehow I tweaked my neck while sleeping Saturday night, and Sunday I could barely turn my head. Made it hard to pay attention in the sessions. I hope it gets better soon, so I can get down to business!


  8. Oh definitely. Nanowrimo is my ticket to getting a manuscript done each year. It really works for me. What's your username? I'll add you to my writing buddies. Mine's kendramerritt85.

  9. I'm debso, and I already clicked on you as a writing buddy!




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