NaNoWriMo Starts Tomorrow! Are You Ready?

There are just a few hours until the start of NaNoWriMo at midnight tonight. I hope you’ve enjoyed the countdown of preparations so far. If you’re just joining us, don’t sweat it. These checkpoints are just a general guide to things you may want to consider before NaNoWriMo kicks off, and you can modify them to meet your time constraints.

And, of course, don’t forget to come back next year!

Running Late?

Some of you may be coming to this NaNoWriMo checklist blog late–searching for resources in a Halloween-candy induced fervor because you decided last minute to participate. (Not that I’ve done this personally, you understand. Ahem).

And that’s cool. You’ve got plenty of time to do your own abbreviated versions of each of the tasks above. I intentionally made each of the previous blogs short and sweet, so you could comb it for usable action items no matter what stage of NaNoWriMo prep you’re in.

Here’s what we’ve talked about so far in our Countdown to NaNoWriMo Checklist:
  1. Getting started, and registering on the NaNoWriMo site.
  2. Preparing your characters.
  3. Developing your key plot points (even if you’re a pantser/discovery writer).
  4. Figuring out the best writing software option for you.
  5. Setting your daily word count goals.
  6. Planning your time management strategy….

Right on Time?

Okay. You’re prepped and ready to go. You’ve been dreaming about this story for weeks, and you’re chomping at the bit to get going on it. You’re counting the minutes until midnight so you can strip out of that elaborate Halloween costume and start typing away. Okay, you know what? Keep the costume on. It totally works for you.

And until then, today’s the day I suggest you relax, and prepare the rest of your life for some time away writing. If you work better in a clean house, tidy up (especially your office or writing space)! Get ahead on the laundry, the dishes, the bills, the yard work, anything that might be a distraction in the first few days of writing.

If you normally do most of the household cooking and chores for your family, prepare some meals for the freezer or print out a few easy recipes and shopping lists for your spouse, roommates or kids to handle while you work. Or make a grocery run for some frozen meals. Maybe just gather takeout menus. Whatever works!

Make a chore chart with some of the things you normally do around the house and see if you can delegate them to people you live with. (Have I mentioned that NaNoWriMo is a great opportunity for people in your life to support your writing endeavors by pitching in? For moms and dads, it can be a chance to let your kids shine by showing you they can do more to help out than you realized.)

Stocking Up

Make sure your snack drawer, coffee pot, tea cabinet, ink pens, aspirin, and anything else you will need while writing is fully stocked. Get in a good workout today or take a long, thoughtful walk, and make sure you stay nice and hydrated. If you’re staying up late tonight to get started, take a nap if you can, or move any commitments you have first thing in the morning.

If you’re getting up early tomorrow to start, make sure your alarm is set and whatever you need to do to get yourself going faster is ready to go. I have a friend who sleeps in her workout clothes to make it easier to get up and moving in the morning. This isn’t terribly relevant if you can write from home in your pajamas, but you get the idea. This is about psychological readiness as much as physical readiness. And if you are leaving the house before you start writing tomorrow, pick out your clothes. Make sure your bag is ready, phone charged, laptop cords or writing notebook available, etc.

I know some of this sounds pretty elementary, and it is, but when I’m doing NaNoWriMo or any fast-drafting exercise, I like to treat it like the first day of a new job. The idea is to remove as many of the obstacles as possible that might come between you and your writing. Preparing in this way also helps you (and your support system) make the psychological shift from writing occasionally or as a hobby–or even not at all–to writing as a serious endeavor.

YOU GOT THIS.

(Me on November 29, when the kids interrupt me for the 7,124th time…)

And with that, I want to wish each of you good luck this month! Know that I’ll be drafting with you, along with thousands of other NaNoWriMo participants. Even if you’re not doing NaNoWriMo this year, or you’re doing your own fast-drafting session some other time, we’re all with you in spirit.

Writing can be a lonely endeavor, but please know you are never alone!

Need help with your project, or a friendly face to hold you accountable? I help writers during NaNoWriMo and all year long. Visit my coaching page for details.

Keep Writing.

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MJ Pullen

M.J. Pullen is a Distracted Writer and the mom of two boys in Roswell, Georgia, where she is absolutely late for something important right now. Her books include quirky romantic comedies and playful women's fiction -- her latest, SUGAR STREET released on 8/7/18. Join her Distracted Readers newsletter list for updates, free content, giveaways and more.

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