Preptober: Making your Gameplan

Hello! We’re back this year with some awesome new Preptober advice. There are still two weeks before NaNoWriMo starts and if you haven’t started preparing, that’s okay! Your friends at the Mighty Pens are here to help.

This year, we’re talking in depth about all the steps that should go into your NaNoWriMo prep, from your story to your special writing spot! Today, we wanted to start at the very beginning: making a plan before you ever dive into writing. So, here is some of our best advice to get you started!

Set your NaNoWriMo goals

Your first step to getting ready for NaNo this year is to outline your goals. If you haven’t done NaNoWriMo before, 50k words may seem really daunting, but believe us when we say it is totally doable. If your goal is to write 50k next month, break it down into smaller goals. 50k is only 1,667 words per day! 

Maybe word count isn’t as important to you as the actual story, though. You can also set goals around how you want your novel to go. Do you actually want to write a novel start to finish this month? Do you want to write the first half of your epic fantasy?

When setting your goals, it’s super important to set reasonable, attainable goals that fit you and your lifestyle. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t think you have time to reach 50k this year. It is totally okay to set a goal that matches your own pace. Now, officially, with a smaller goal, you can’t “win” NaNoWriMo (make sure to check out Camp NaNo in April and July, though, where you can set your own goals!), but you can still take full advantage of all of NaNoWriMo’s resource, activities, and (best of all) community

When you’re ready to take the plunge, don’t forget to announce your novel on the NaNoWriMo website! And if you share about it on social media, don’t forget to tag the Mighty Pens so we can cheer you on.

Plan accordingly

1,667 words per day doesn’t sound all that bad, but we know that life happens. Anyone with a full-time job or kids to take care of can’t always write very much during the week. Not to mention, there’s a whole holiday in there, too!

Plan when and where you plan on writing (don’t be afraid to mix it up!), as well as how! Are you a computer or by-hand writer? What program are you going to use? What materials do you need for plotting and brainstorming?

If you want to plan ahead, take a look at your calendar and figure out which days you know you can write for longer or get more words in versus days you may want to take a break instead.  Keep in mind, too, that if you’re really serious about reaching your goals this month, you may want to plan your next coffee date or movie night around your writing schedule.

Build in a reward system

Writing 50,000 words is a huge deal! And so are the milestones in between. One way to make NaNo fun (if writing on its own isn’t enough) is to add in a reward system. Rewards are also great motivators to keep you going when you hit roadblocks (just get words on the page!). 

Have mini-rewards for yourself when you hit 10k or 25k words and then plan a nice reward for reaching 50k. Your mini-rewards could be as simple as taking a break to catch up on the book you’re reading or treating yourself to a little extra dessert. Then your big reward could be anything you want, within whatever your budget is. Here are a few ideas:

  • Buy a NaNoWriMo winner shirt
  • Go out for a nice dinner
  • Buy a new book (bonus points if it’s a writing craft book!)
  • Treat yourself to some fun new writing accessories
  • Finally give in to Scrivener or another program (use those winner’s coupons!)
  • Take a well-deserved break 

Maintain your sanity

No matter how ready you are for November, you won’t know how it will really go until you’re in the throes of trying to write and live your life simultaneously. Plan ahead for some ways to maintain your sanity throughout the month. Start with scheduling those breaks so you don’t get too burnt out. 

It is always okay to take a break when you need it. No writer will tell you otherwise, and all writers go at their own pace. Don’t lose your head just for a few extra words that day. Turn off the computer, set down the notebook, grab some tea, and curl up with a distraction.

And if you want a few extra pointers to staying mentally healthy this month, keep an eye out for our Motivation Monday posts on our blog! We are here to support you, always. Whether you’re writing or not!

Want to join the fun?

We hope you are ready to tackle Preptober and your next novel! But that’s not the only reason we’re here.

Community is one thing that drives us forward every day in the writing world. Sure, we want to write books and get them published, but we will never be able to accomplish that without a few people keeping us sane. The Mighty Pens is a fantastic place to meet new writing friends, tackle NaNoWriMo, and support a good cause along the way. Join in on the fun here!

Come visit us on social media, too! We’ll be talking about some great things over the coming weeks on Twitter and Instagram. And if you’re interested in connecting with more people during Preptober check out hashtags like #preptober and #preptober2020 to see what other writers just like you are up to.

Good luck with your NaNoWriMo prep!