Updated: Sep 2, 2022
It’s that time of year again, writers. Time to write down all the words you can and hope at the end of the month it all makes sense. But there are a few things you can do before Day 1 that will make your Nano time a little easier.
Outline Like Your Life Depends On It
Ok, it may not be this serious, but outlining can save you during the days when you aren’t sure where to take your story. And yes, I mean you too, pantsers. Even a bare bones outline can help you get through the middle of the month when you don’t know where your next words are going to come from. Outlining can also be a great way to wrap your head around the story and flush out some details.
Do Some Research
Whether you’re writing a mystery, a historical romance, or a fantasy, some research is going to be necessary. It’s better to do that before Camp Nano starts than to have to do it during the month when you should be writing. Last November, I thought I had my story ready, only to need to stop writing for 2 days to do research. I didn’t know all the facts and couldn’t continue with my story. Try not to make the same mistake.
This can mean a number of things but I am specifically means asking questions of your characters. What are their likes and dislikes? What’s their motivation? What’s stopping them from getting to their goal? How will they feel if they actually get it? What are their relationships like? Ask your characters as many questions as you can. While you may not use all the answers, they will help you discover who exactly your characters are. And if you don’t know the answers, that gives you something to work on.
Decide When and Where You’ll Write
Let’s talk logistics! Where are you going to write? Do you need a special place or can you sit anywhere? Is your desk a mess? Clean it up! You’ll get more done when there isn’t so much stuff in your workspace. You also need to plan when you’re going to write. Everyone’s lives are busy, so choosing a time for only writing is a good way to ensure you get it done. Are your mornings free? Do it then. After work? Great. After you put your kids to bed? Perfect. Lock them in their room, so you can get some writing done...just kidding!
Collect The Snacks
This is the most important tip I can give you. You must have snacks. Writing is hard. We know this. It takes a lot of energy to get the words out of your head and onto the page. That’s why we writers need lots of snacks. Go out and get your favorites. Cookies, chips, candy, four gallons of coffee, whatever you need. I’m partial to Sour Patch Kids. I will be adding to my stash.
Oh, and make sure you’re staying hydrated. We want no dehydrated writers out there. Yes, coffee will keep you going, but add a bottle of water in there too.
Those are my tips, now I want to hear yours. What do you do to prepare for Camp Nano?
About the author: Sarah Perchikoff is a freelance writer and the Director of Brand at The Writer's Workout. She writes for NetflixLife, Culturess, and GuiltyEats. She enjoys french fries, reading, and playing with her dog, Gracie. She is (slowly) working on editing her first novel. You can follow her on Twitter: @sperchikoff.