“I’ve never been one to have an in-depth plan when I begin writing a novel, and that has been one of my biggest setbacks when it comes to crossing the finish line. I read a few of my journal entries from this time last year, and I notice just how wildly unprepared I was for NaNoWriMo. I hadn’t much of a plan, and my project was all over the place because of it. Since then, I’ve become quite the planner whether that’d be in my creative work or my daily life. Keeping up a consistent schedule and really taking the time to pre-plan has really changed my writing progression for the better. This time last year, I couldn’t even decide what I wanted to write on, and it’s safe to say I have somewhat of a great outline to get me writing once November comes around. I began to take my writing time much more seriously, and in that I began to prioritize it in my daily routine – thus becoming something that I am actively working to improve.”
My NaNoWriMo 2018 Prep Kit: What I’ll Be Using
I truly believe in setting the scene when it comes to actively and progressively writing. I took notice of what I really enjoyed using to aid me in the writing process, as well as where I do my best work.
- Your Choice of a Prep Notebook – Taking it Back to Paper: I didn’t realize how much I could benefit from really doing my novel prep on paper vs. on a laptop screen, until I was sitting in class yesterday actively taking notes in a clear and concise way that I found easy to return to. Then I thought, “why don’t I do that when I start planning a new novel?” I went out, bought a similar notebook to the ones I use for my classes (Cambridge Limited Hard Cover Notebook) and began to brainstorm.
Remember, “It Doesn’t Have to Be Pretty:” If you’re like me, you tend to tear out a page when you messed up a title too big to fix, or you began writing in the wrong notebook. When it came to my NaNoWriMo Prep Notebook I vowed to not allow myself to be consumed by trying to make it look “attractive.” Its sole purpose was to make the writing process easier on me, and to give me notes to return to throughout the writing process.
- Zippered Portfolio or Binder: I chose a Zippered Portfolio with a 3-ring binder inside, replacing the pad of paper with my Prep Notebook so I could have everything I needed to pick up my writing session at a moment’s notice. I’ve been benefiting from having printed outlines (or simply just my notebook, a few pieces of draft material, and pockets of stationery to help me out. I liked having all of my novel work in one place, especially if I want to draft a bit on paper before I take it to the screen.
- The Emotion Thesaurus: (I’ve linked it here) This has been an incredible help when it comes to articulating emotion in a way that doesn’t seem to be repetitive. This allows for a bit more depth to your character’s emotion, and it has been an incredible help. I’ve also purchased the “The Urban Setting Thesaurus” (I’ve linked it here) as well because my novel is set in the city. I’ve always had issues trying to get a character’s behaviour or where they reside, just right, and this has been a great help.
- Allocating Time to Write: I know that it may seem like a simple task, but it has been of the hardest things for me to get accustomed to. I’d always wondered how people manage to get so much done during the day as I could only get through the bare minimum, but I finally settled on really learning how to use my time wisely. It slowly became difficult trying to “fit” writing into my busy University schedule, but I’ve noticed just how easy it became when I started using it as my study opener (I’d open with my writing time so I could really focus my attention on my project, and when I finished, I could then focus wholeheartedly on my Uni work). This has really made the biggest difference in getting used to writing every day. I’ve been sacrificing my midday after-class naps for writing sessions in a café, as well as getting to bed a bit earlier at night. Sometimes, the smallest changes have the biggest impact on what you’re truly capable of doing in an allocated amount of time.
I hope this can serve as a bit of inspiration to get down to the NaNoWriMo prep, and I wish all of you participating the best of luck!
Thank you for reading!