NaNoWriMo begins in less than ONE WEEK!
When did that happen?? But no worries because I am super excited to get into my very first process of not only participating in this fast-and-furious writing month but also in writing a first draft!
Since this is my first experience, my list of essentials may change. I have been scouring the internet for what other writers have found to be key elements in tackling this feat, and with my experience in creating the outline portion of this process, I have discovered that many of the tips and tricks have stuck with me.
So here are what I think will be helpful tools in conquering NaNoWriMo:
For me, coffee is a necessity for waking up and jump-starting my creative juices! I have the most creativity in the mid-mornings instead of at night. I noticed that, especially with a busy schedule, my mind tends to venture into the realm of sleep and the excitement in finally hitting my head to the pillow. But once I am able to recharge with a few hours of sleep, I find myself to be increasingly productive. So, mornings are the best writing times for me, and coffee is the best way to get up and get writing!
So if you also find yourself with similar struggles, I highly suggest giving the mornings a try.
A Writing Source
Whether it’s your laptop, desktop, typewriter, or just a pencil on paper, you will need a place to store all of your drafting adventures. I can tell you that a laptop is the best way for me to not only write A LOT FASTER, but it’s also a place where I am able to easily store my outline and picture inspirations for scenes and characters.
Also, you will need a word processing program on that device to be able to form your thoughts into the digital world. I use Scrivener. Even though I don’t have much experience in actual drafting in other programs, I have found that Scrivener is very organized and includes great features in compiling your notes into one easy place.
Before Scrivener, I spent a little time in creating a Word document for my outline, and I could tell a huge difference in creating an easy go-to for all my different notes. I also tried Google Docs, but there is even less features for writing than Word gave me. I will say that if you need a free, simple source for drafting alone, I think Google Docs wouldn’t be a bad place to start.
I just find Scrivener to be the one program that fits all my writing needs. And with Word, you just have to pay a lot more PER YEAR than the ONE-TIME payment from Scrivener.
*If you interested in a more in-depth look at this program, leave a note in the comments below, and I’d be happy to talk more about Scrivener!*
Thumb drive / Cloud Storage
With that being said, I HIGHLY recommend a thumb drive or some sort of extra saving device to make sure that your work isn’t lost or destroyed if you computer decided to take a permanent hiatus. Because we can all agree, that would suck. A LOT.
Personally, I may be a little on the excessive side when it comes to saving my work. I save backup files and separate word documents in not only my thumb drive but also on Google Drive. And I do this on a weekly basis (every Sunday), with daily saves to the thumb drive only, to make sure that all my work is current.
Story Ideas / Outline
As you may already know, I am a PLOTTER. In order for my mind to work effectively, I need a baseline for where a scene will go and where the story as a whole should flow. Otherwise, I will be all over the place with little to no plot fluidity and structure.
I spent all of Preptober and many days here and there in creating all of the aesthetics, character sheets, world building sheets, and playlists to help me be best prepared for sitting down and physically writing the story.
Even if you’ve just discovered Nano, I highly suggest taking the next week to explore what type of story you want to create and write down some ideas for the various story elements. Remember, you can always change the outline.
I am a huge post-it girl. I color code my ideas to help bring the random, creative thoughts into my outline so my mind is able to organize and plug in each of the ideas to the proper place. I have a decent sized box full of all the shapes, sizes, and colors for those spur-of-the-moment creative spurts. They are always by my side, ready to go when I need them.
This kind of ties into my personality as a plotter. I need organization in my life in order for me to feel prepared and productive. So I use my Erin Condren planner (this is NOT sponsored, I have been using their amazing product for years now) for scheduling my writing times and the daily word count. Seeing these down on paper also helps me to feel accomplished.
YouTube / Other Writing Resources
This is an EXTREMELY resourceful tool when it comes to writing. I have discovered so many helpful tips and inspirational moments while watching these videos. My personal favorite channels are Natalia Leigh and Mandi Lynn (just to name a few). But there are so many great influencers on there that supply videos on drafting, NaNo, editing, revising, and so much more!
I get a large majority of my creative ideas from scrolling through Pinterest and listening to Spotify. I can’t tell you how many of ideas have grown just from these platforms. As I was going through my outline, I was plugging in the pictures that helped to inspire those scenes or characters. That way, once I am drafting those elements, I can look back on what inspired them and get into that creative headspace once again.
A Writing Spot
And for the final essential element, the writing space. Now this is one that I am excited to create this next week. I am currently in the process of moving across states to live on my own, and I have always wanted a quiet, cozy space that I can just sit down and pour out my writing onto. Once I finish putting everything together in my new apartment, I will be sharing some pictures of what my NaNo writing spot will look like.
But in general, you don’t need just one spot to write in. I know there are a lot of writers who venture into coffee shops of libraries to help get them in the writing zone.
I hope to find a few new spots outside of the apartment to go to for a different environment to keep me focused on the month ahead.
What are your NaNo essentials??
I am so excited to finally experience my first writing month. Even though I have no clue how it will flow or turn out, I hope to be able to learn which tools help or hinder my creative process.
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Until next time..