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NaNoWriMo Webly Wednesday and a checklist

October 19, 2011

Official NaNoWriMo badge

With less than two weeks to go before NaNoWriMo starts, here are some useful links and a checklist of things I’d like to have done in advance.

“What is NaNoWriMo?” you ask. No, you probably don’t. I have a feeling that at least half of my readers either participate in, have participated in or have heard of it. – So I’ll keep the what and the how of it short: NationalNovelWritingMonth (though international by now) is an event taking place in November every year. Thousands of people sign up to attempt to write the first draft of a novel of 50,000 words (or more) in 30 days. I wrote a more detailed post about it last year. And there are plenty of other blogs where you can read more about NaNoWriMo and get some great pieces of advice:

Now, for the checklist:

  • Get together with the main characters.
    Not physically, unfortunately. But I want to get to know them a bit better. What makes them tick, what are they doing when they aren’t in my novel, and so on.
  • Have a rough idea of the plot and the settings.
    This year I’ll have the starting point and a “mission”, but I have no idea what will happen on the way or how things will end, and that’s just fine. I’ll let the players loose and see what happens.
  • Stock up on easily cooked food, coffee and healthy snacks.
    I just know that there will be days in November when cooking doesn’t seem as important as finishing a chapter. So I will have things in the cupboard that can be cooked quickly, some healthy snacks like nuts and fruit, and coffee.
  • Compile a soundtrack.
    The right music helps me get into the right mood for what I am writing, so each year I make a list on my iPod for NaNoWriMo with appropriate music.
  • Make a designated NaNoWriMo 2011 notebook.
    I bought a Moleskine for this purpose and put a NaNoWriMo sticker on it. It is now split up into sections such as “Characters” and “Maps” and “Technology” so that I can put notes in for later use now as well as through November.
  • Find a “magical” NaNoWriMo object.
    Last year I had a hat that I wore when I needed to concentrate on my writing in November (no, I didn’t wear it every time I sat down to write). A magical item helps signal “I’m writing” to other people, and it’s also a little trick to make you feel more focused. This year I think I’m going for a pendant since I found one appropriately shaped as a pencil.

Have  you come across some great articles or blog posts about NaNoWriMo? What is on your list of things to do before November starts? Or are you fed up with reading about NaNoWriMo all the time?

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Maggie permalink
    October 19, 2011 8:59 pm

    I like the idea of having a magical NaNo object; that’s something I never tried before!


    • October 19, 2011 9:56 pm

      I recommend it. 🙂 It’s part fun and part useful to me at least.
      Thank you for the comment! 🙂


  2. October 19, 2011 9:59 pm

    I don’t mind reading about NaNo, but I do skip over the “Here’s what it is and why you should do it” posts. When I write about it, I try to come up with insights that other people might not think of. And much thanks for the link-through.

    But I drink tea, not coffee, and yes, I’m stocked up. No soundtrack. Music influences my mood too easily, and that’s not something I want to happen when the mood has nothing to do with what I’m trying to write. No notebook. I’m strictly digital. No magic objects, comfort clothes, or rituals. My life during NaNo looks exactly like my life the other 11 months of the year, but with more keyboard pounding.

    My favorite of this year’s NaNo blog posts is Lazette’s Zette’s Take: Why NaNo?


    • October 19, 2011 10:08 pm

      Well yes, that’s why I didn’t set out to explain the concept in more detail. Others have done it and very good too. 🙂
      And you’re welcome – I liked the post a lot. It was refreshing and right to the point.
      This is the first time I have a notebook like that. Part of the reason was that I had to take a break from the keyboard for a while. And then I found it useful. Music influences me a lot too, so I’m very picky with the soundtrack.
      I just looked at the link – that is very good. Thank you! 🙂 (And for commenting as well of course.)


  3. October 19, 2011 10:50 pm

    Thanks so much for including my post in your round-up; I’m flattered! I love your tips too, especially the dedicated NaNoWriMo notebook – it gives me an excuse to go out and buy another!


    • October 20, 2011 10:30 am

      You’re very welcome. I enjoyed the post and the links.
      Haha, and it’s a good excuse. I carry mine with me everywhere. You never know when inspiration will strike.
      Thank you for commenting! 🙂


  4. October 21, 2011 1:43 pm

    I’ll at least have a rough outline this time around. I didn’t think about stocking up on food. That sounds apocalyptic. Did you know today- October 21, 2011- is an apocalypse? Not *the* apocalypse, but an apocalypse nonetheless. My kitties are riled, but then again, they get riled over the funniest things.

    I wonder how many “end-of-time” novels will pop out of next month. My own new novel- as far as I can tell- is gonna be pretty damn disgusting, figuratively speaking. Or maybe literally speaking, depending on the shades of meaning you assign to “figuratively” and “literally.” But no end-of-world scenarios.

    See you at NaNo! 🙂


    • October 21, 2011 9:03 pm

      Haha, you’re right it does sound apocalyptic. But writing something post-apocalyptic this time, I suppose it’s too late for me to stock up or … 😉
      No, I didn’t know that, but it seems the world hasn’t ended yet. It only has a few hours left in my timezone if it’s going to be today.
      No end-of-world for me either. After the ends of the worlds, though, yes, which will be a first for me.
      I’m looking forward to hearing more abour your novel this year! I friended you on NaNoWriMo, but I don’t think it’s going to show up again until the 1st.
      And thank you for commenting! 😀


      • October 24, 2011 11:49 pm

        You’re welcome!

        Looks like the NaNo site got an overhaul. I had to reload my scant profile, but now I at least have my halo. 🙂 Also looks like the friends feature is temporarily disabled.

        I put in my very brief synopsis, and after mulling it over, I’ll probably either cut some synopsis stuff from the beginning, or add stuff to the middle and end. Or at least explain the ending more. I was surprised when I found it didn’t read like a traditional horror novel synopsis. But I suppose it doesn’t have to. Summaries are tough, especially when you haven’t written the story yet!


        • October 27, 2011 9:17 am

          I just read your synopsis. It may not read like the traditional horror novel, but I find it intriguing and uncanny. 🙂


          • October 27, 2011 6:01 pm

            Thanks for the feedback, that’s encouraging. 🙂 I plan to clarify my synopsis in the last week of November, after I’ve clarified the ins and outs of my story by actually writing it. Evolution!


  5. storymultiverse permalink
    October 21, 2011 9:20 pm

    Thanks for stopping by my blog! Good post about NaNo. I heard about one author who tried to design a robot that would write for him. He called it a NaNobot.


    • October 22, 2011 11:21 am

      You’re welcome, and thank you for visiting and commenting mine! 🙂
      A robot that can write for you? That would take much of the fun out of being a writer. Though dictating your story to a robot could be interesting …


  6. October 22, 2011 5:43 am

    I’m intrigued by the Moleskin notebooks. What’s so writerly/awesome about them?

    Thanks for including me in your links. 🙂


    • October 22, 2011 11:27 am

      Some of my close friends and fellow NaNoers started using Moleskine a while back and I’ve always been using other notebooks. But I must admit that the quality and diversity of Moleskine is great. And aesthetically I think they tend to be well-proportioned. You can get little storyboard books, calenders, blank books, water colour ones, etc. Different sizes, hard cover and soft cover, various colours etc. Anyway, I’m sure there are other brands that are just as appealing, but Moleskines are relatively easy to come by where I live.
      And you’re welcome. Thanks for the comment!


  7. October 22, 2011 5:27 pm

    Thanks for the mention!


  8. October 25, 2011 3:32 pm

    I wasn’t going to do NaNo this year, but you’re making me miss it already! That and I really like this year’s icon! I’m a dork.

    Good luck!



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