Whether you’re a plotter or a pantser, these are some universally delightful ways to prepare for the madness of NaNoWriMo (which is coming very soon!).
1. Make a Playlist
This is possibly my favorite part of brainstorming: Making a playlist! I particularly love to come up with a playlist with lyrics for characters or scenes, and a second playlist that is all instrumental. It’s a lot of fun deciding what instruments would be used for your characters’ themes in scores, and then building your own soundtrack around them. #nerd
2. Make a Cover/Banner
If you can draw or if you’re any good with Photoshop, you should definitely create covers for your stories. It’s a great way to brainstorm and to interpret your story visually. If you haven’t a drop of artistic blood, you might think about gifting yourself a commission of your main character.
Are you going to participate on the forums? Don’t forget to make yourself a matching signature banner! One of my favorite things to do is browse others’ covers and banners.
(And, of course, share your creations on the cover design thread!)
3. Make Some Notes
Even if you’re a pantser, it doesn’t hurt to spend a little prep time contemplating your characters and the scrapes they might get into during the month. There are loads of character, worldbuilding, and story worksheets out there (including my ones for character couples and creating cultures). Consider grabbing a few and jotting down a some notes. Your future!self trapped in revisions will thank you.
4. Make Goals with Rewards
The ultimate goal for most NaNoWriMoers is to reach 50,000 words by the end of November. But there are plenty of opportunities to party along the way! Sometimes in the crazy, you need a little bribery to keep the process fun.
Consider setting up goals and rewards. For instance, perhaps for every 10,000 words, you’re allowed to buy two new songs for your playlist. Or when you reach 25,000, you’ll get yourself a fancy new journal. Reward your milestones to stay motivated.
And definitely plan on a big prize for reaching your goal at the end! Maybe you want to commission an artist for some fanart, or maybe you want to go on a weekend away. Whatever it is, make sure that it’s exciting, out of the ordinary, and attainable!
5. Make an Enemy (Frienemy)
One of the reasons NaNoWriMo works well for so many writers is the community aspect of the month. You’re surrounded by other people doing the same thing, whether you bump into them on the forums, on Twitter, or in person at your local community’s meetings.
Take this motivation to the max by making an enemy/frienemy. Someone who will war to the death! My most productive streaks of writing have always been when I threw my metaphorical gloves at the feet of a friend and declared, “You may have more words than me today, but tomorrow you are going down!”
Find someone who wants to race for the prize, and use them to propel you to new levels of crazy productivity.
How do you prep for NaNoWriMo? Have I missed an essential step? Leave a comment below!