Let’s welcome back Linnea Gradin as she shares with us “4 Tips to Get The Most Out of Preptober.” Enjoy!
National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo, is arguably the biggest event of the year for writers across the world, and it’s just around the corner.
Kicking off on November 1st every year, this event challenges writers to write 50,000 in one month and in order to be as efficient as possible during that month, writer’s started using October to get their ducks in a row, fondly labeling this 10th month of the year “Preptober.”
Whether you’re already in the middle of prepping and looking for some guidance or haven’t started yet, it’s never too late to get your book planning in order. So here are my top 4 tips for making the most out of Preptober and setting yourself up for a successful NaNoWriMo.
1. Get your 5 P’s Right
These are the foundations your story will rest on and will work as a kind of template as you move forward.
Your pitch is the one-liner you use to make even strangers interested in your book, and is a good way to test whether your idea has potential. Your protagonist, plot, and place are the factors that will carry the story and keep your readers invested over 50,000 words or more.
For protagonists, start thinking about their backstory, their voice, and their why. As for plot, note down some major beats you want to hit and allow as little or as much flexibility as you want in getting from point A to B. Lastly, try writing a couple of pages or chapters of your story from different POVs to see what works best.
Of course, none of this is final — you can always change it later during the editing phase — but establishing these foundations will decrease the amount of decision making you have to do in November as you write, hopefully allowing your creativity to flow more freely.
2. Set up a routine and workspace
Technically, to hit the 50,000 word marker, you need to write 1,667 words every single day in November, but perhaps that’s not realistic for you. Setting up part-way goals is an excellent strategy for most things that seem overwhelming or daunting, so that’s where I suggest you start.
Some days are busier than others, so take a look at your schedule and make a plan that feels realistic for you. Perhaps Mondays will be light days, with just a couple of 100 words if you can find the time, but Tuesdays and Sundays are engines full steam ahead.
You can even break it down further: 500 words in the morning, 300 in the afternoon, and 900 in the evening can feel much more manageable than 1,667 in one go.
Also consider how and when you work best. Do you work better when you’re “alone with others” in a café or library, or do you prefer sitting in a secluded cabin without cell reception?
By asking yourself these questions in October, you can start optimizing your surroundings to get out of your own way in November.
3. Establish some personal writing goals
Now, it may seem redundant to set goals when the goal of NaNoWriMo is already pretty clear. But beyond “just” writing 50,000 words, defining what else you want to get out of this month, both on and off the page, will help you manage your expectations as well as provide motivation and structure when the going gets tough.
Perhaps your goal is to try out a new technique you picked up in writing class, or maybe your goal is actually to just try out writing in the mornings instead of at night.
With these types of goals, you can come away from November with a sense of accomplishment regardless of how many words you write.
4. Create a reward system
Lastly, to keep you going throughout November, you need to find ways to reward your hard work along the way. What those rewards are is entirely up to you.
Maybe you can treat yourself to a dance break every time you write 200 words, or you can take yourself out to a nice dinner when you reach your first 10,000.
The point is to match your rewards to your part-way and personal goals to help remind yourself of how joyful writing can be.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Linnea Gradin writes about writing and publishing over at Reedsy — a website that connects authors with freelancing publishing professionals and gives advice on everything writing and (self)publishing-related from how to design a book cover to where to find the best online creative writing classes.
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