Congratulations on reaching the last week of Preptober! You’ve made it to the end. Not to be a party pooper, but we must inform you that this was actually the easiest part of the journey… Brace yourself,
winter NaNoWriMo is coming!
On this final week, we’ll be taking it a bit easier, so you can catch your breath before the write-a-thon begins. If you’ve been a good planner and followed us since week 1, you should now have a pretty solid grasp of what your novel will look like and how it will conclude.
For those who have missed the boat of Preptober, don’t worry; you’re not alone. Some renowned authors, referred to as “pantsers” by the NaNoWriMo community, do minimal to no outlining beforehand—so you can try that too!1
“Outlines are the last resource of bad fiction writers who wish to God they were writing masters’ theses.” –Stephen King.
Although our tasks may be lighter this week, we’ll continue to write daily, reaching now that word count goal of 1667 words per day. Woohoo! Remember, 1667 is the minimum needed to achieve 50,000 words in 30 days, so try to exceed it whenever possible.
1. Finish Your Set Up
It’s time to put the finishing touches on your writing environment. You will spend a lot of time sitting down and writing, so make it nice and cozy:
- Give a thorough tidying up to your writing area.
- Declutter your desk.
- Get ready extra blankets and cushions.
- Organize your files and notes.
- Get all the stationery you might need.
- Make a mood board about your novel to inspire you.
- Stock up on snacks and coffee or tea.
- Set the mood with scented candles.
- Look for a good playlist for deep concentration.
If you don’t live alone, we’d advise you to explain the situation to your family or housemates.
“You once said that you would like to sit beside me while I write. Listen, in that case I could not write at all. For writing means revealing oneself to excess; that utmost of self-revelation and surrender, in which a human being, when involved with others, would feel he was losing himself, and from which, therefore, he will always shrink as long as he is in his right mind… That is why one can never be alone enough when one writes, why there can never be enough silence around one when one writes, why even night is not night enough.” –Franz Kafka, Letters to Felice
For a fun way to get everyone on board and turn them into your cheer squad, have them sign the NaNoWriMo Contract. Ask for their help with chores for November. Speaking of chores, consider meal prepping and start cooking in large quantities to stock your freezer with homemade meals.2 This will save you time (and money!) without compromising your health.
2. Register and Set Milestones
If you haven’t already, sign up for the challenge on the official website; then, you’ll receive newsletters to keep you motivated and informed about writing events and tips. It’s not at all spammy, and finding that extra dose of motivation in your inbox is always pleasant.
By now, you should have already planned your writing sessions and blocked out your schedule. If you haven’t done so yet, take a moment to get it all in order. Remember that you’ll need breaks, so anticipate them and prepare for days when you’ll do sprints and write more than the usual 1667 words.
“First forget inspiration. Habit is more dependable. Habit will sustain you whether you’re inspired or not. Habit will help you finish and polish your stories. Inspiration won’t. Habit is persistence in practice. You don’t start out writing good stuff. You start out writing crap and thinking it’s good stuff, and then gradually you get better at it. That’s why I say one of the most valuable traits is persistence.” –Octavia Butler.
An awesome way to stay motivated is to reward yourself when you achieve certain milestones.3 How about treating yourself to a book from your favorite author, to mark the end of the first week? Or plan a nice dinner outing when you reach the 20,000-word milestone? There’s no need to wait until the end of the month to celebrate your small victories. Make this journey fun and rewarding from the start!
3. Become Part of the Community
Writing doesn’t have to be lonely, and half the fun of NaNoWriMo is sharing your journey with others. NaNoWriMo is now a global event and it gives you the opportunity to connect with writers either locally or online. Help each other stay motivated, share your insights, and learn from renowned authors.
“After 20 years of writing in basically a vacuum, I love being part of a community. I’ve vetted other writers’ contracts for them and do publicity for free just because I like a book. Some people think of it as hubris or careerism, but I love to champion books. You can’t use your whole sphere of influence just to help yourself.” –Jonathan Evison.
Even if you live in a remote area, there are plenty of ways to stay connected with your fellow writers during the challenge. The official website hosts many forums and you can also exchange on social media such as Reddit or Discord. It’s worth noting that conversations are always respectful, as the NaNoWriMo community is known for its supportive nature. YouTube is another important resource, with the official NaNoWriMo channel that offers rich content and interviews with some established authors.4 Many writing podcasts will hold specials for the occasion.5
If you live in bigger cities, visit the NaNoWriMo website to find a local community or in-person events near you. Some libraries and bookstores partner with NaNoWriMo and provide writing spaces, resources, and events in November.
4. Master iA Writer
Think you’ve explored all that iA Writer has to offer? Not so fast, there are still some features to uncover, including:
- Style Check: You’re not supposed to spend much time editing your work during NaNoWriMo, but Style Check can help you spot fillers, redundancies, or clichés that might be creeping into your text. Throughout the challenge, you will improve your style by seeing your recurring patterns and where you need to pay attention.
- Syntax Highlight: This feature helps you pinpoint awkward verbs, repetitive nouns, or the excessive use of certain parts of speech in real time. And you can use it together with Focus Mode!
Remember that NaNoWriMo is a personal challenge, and there’s nothing to win except the satisfaction of establishing a writing routine. The result isn’t as important as the journey itself.
“Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid, or making friends. In the end, it’s about enriching the lives of those who will read your work, and enriching your own life, as well. It’s about getting up, getting well, and getting over. Getting happy, okay? Getting happy.” –Stephen King.
We wish all writers the very best for this writing challenge. Tune in next week for additional hacks from the iA Team to celebrate the beginning of the challenge.