NaNoWriMo, also known as National Novel Writing Month, is less than two weeks away. It’s, yet again, time for endless cups of coffee, hours spent bathing in the light of your laptop, and cranking out thousands of words each day for all of November. For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo is a writing event that has been held since 1999. For the month of November, thousands of writers all across the globe take on the challenge of writing 50,000 words in thirty days.
Though you can find plenty of resources to help you along the way including meet-up groups and online classes, doing some preparation before the event begins can always be helpful. Here are some strategies to make sure you are ready to write the best novel come November.
Strategy 1: Make a Mood Board
Mood boards are a fantastic way to create a visual representation for your novel, so you have a constant reminder of what you are going for. You can create a mood board for a specific character, a scene, or for the novel as a whole. By creating a mood board, you will have more control over what you are writing.
For example, in order to make one for a specific character, you need to have a firm grip on who that character is: a mood board forces you to develop your characters before writing which promotes strong and distinguishable character development and consistency. This can be extremely helpful for an event like NaNoWriMo where everything might feel rushed, and it can be easy to allow your characters to become static or incongruous or merged with other characters.
In order to create a mood board, you will need two free apps: Pinterest and Canva.
First, simply go to Pinterest and, using keyword searches, find images that go with your character, setting, aesthetic, etc. After finding several images that go with your novel, create a new project on Canva and upload all the pictures. Then you can sort them on the page however you would like to.
Strategy 2: Make a Spotify playlist
While participating in NaNoWriMo, it can be difficult to stay motivated. By week two, you can sometimes feel your drive slipping away. But don’t be discouraged: we have a solution. What better way to stay motivated and pumped for your project than an aesthetic atmospheric playlist? Head to Spotify and select 20-or-so songs that remind you of your novel, characters, or settings and throw them all into one playlist to listen to any time you are losing steam. This will really allow you to submerge yourself in the world of your project. You can even use your mood board as a playlist cover! We also recommend sharing your playlist with your friends so they can get a sense of your novel before they read it.
Strategy 3: Find a support system
There is no other way to put this: NaNoWriMo is fucking hard. Writing a novel at all is difficult, but writing one in 30 days? Nearly impossible. And you should be equally terrified and excited to start. Something that makes NaNoWriMo significantly easier, however, is having a great support system. There are many NaNoWriMo meetings all across the globe. You can find most of them on the NaNoWriMo site. If you are unable to join a group, consider challenging a friend to do it with you, or simply ask a friend or family member to be an accountability buddy—tell them about your characters and plot and keep them updated on your progress. Having at least one other person to share this experience with can be the difference between finishing or not in our experience.
We hope that this was helpful! How do you prepare for NaNoWriMo? What project are you working on this year? Let us know! We are excited to hear about it.