NaNoWriMo, which stands for National Novel Writing Month, is an annual writing challenge to write 50,000 words during the month of November, for those of you that may not have been aware of it’s existence. (NaNoWriMo also offers Camp NaNoWriMo every April and July. The camps are more laid back as far as “requirements.” They are just another tool to add to your writing toolbox to try and motivate you to write).
Here’s a good article to read if you’re waffling on whether or not to participate in NaNoWriMo.
Preptober is a term someone clever came up with to prep for NaNoWriMo during the month of October.
First of all, you don’t have to participate in NaNoWriMo if you don’t want to. You don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to. But let’s face it, writing is lonely. And I personally need something to motivate me to write, whether it’s this blog, or my bullet journal because I’ve had a bad day and I need to VENT and PURGE my thoughts and feelings because doing so in real life could cost me dearly. *ahem*
You could prep … any month you chose to. You are the king, or queen, of your castle. There are no rules.
First things first, what project do you want to work on?
- Short story
- True Crime
Whatever you write, whether you’re published or not, YOU’RE A WRITER. If you can put words to paper and make them coherent and/or interesting, then you’re a writer. There are no requirements to this challenge, if you want to write and you’re up to a challenge, then you’re in.
You don’t have to be writing a novel to participate in this challenge. Maybe you want to write several blog posts. Or poems. Or your life story. Or short stories. (I did that one year for NaNoWriMo). Whatever writing project you want to do, you can participate in NaNoWriMo. It’s not about writing a novel, it’s about writing in general. It’s about pushing yourself to do the thing you’ve always said you wanted to do. It’s about unleashing your creativity and shutting down your inner critic. Your inner critic can be released at the end of the challenge. For now, it’s just you and your imagination. This challenge gives your creativity permission to be run naked and wild through the sunflowers.
(Figuratively speaking, of course).
Secondly, when you plan your writing, do you want to use:
- The Synopsis Outline (a one/two page summary of your story)
- The In-Depth Outline (the detailed outline that most of us [or me] run from)
- The Snowflake Method (you expand your story, little-by-little)
- The Bookend Method (figure out the beginning and the end and free-write the middle)
- By the Seat of your Pants or Pantsing (little to no planning – you just start writing)
- The Headlight Method (plan, write to the end of the plan, see where it goes, plan, write …etc)
I’m sure there are other ways, but these are the most common.
It’s important to know how you plan on writing before you actually write. For me personally, I love the pantsing method. I love to see where my characters take me. And they often take me to surprising places. It’s fun and I thoroughly enjoy it.
I inevitably get to a point in the story where I have no idea where it’s going, how it’s going to end and does it even make sense at this point? I then get frustrated/discouraged and just chock the whole project. This is why I love short stories because I can write to the point where I get stuck and then, well, it’s a short story, it’s SUPPOSED to end, right??
I’d like to flex my writing muscles a bit this go around. I want to combine both the bookend method and the headlight methods. I want a start, a general ending, and then loosely plan the chapters, allowing my characters to take me somewhere, but at the same time, put up road signs for them to follow along the way. I could write a full outline but ZzZzZzzz .. it sounds so boring. But then again, I said I would NEVER outline, in any form, a mere ten years (minutes?) ago, so, don’t hold me to that.
Anyway, enough about me. Let’s get to the Preptober stuff.
I’ve participated quite a few times in NaNoWriMo over the years, I’ve won a few years. But I never plan ahead and by the time the proverbial gun goes off at the starting line, I’m left in the dust blinking in confusion. Where to start? So. In an attempt to avoid that feeling, I want to actually be as prepared as I can be this go around.
Because I’m a big child at heart, I like to make things fun. So when I found this Preptober Bingo placard, I couldn’t resist to share it with you guys.
You can find more fun cards at Ink and Times. (I put the free space on there. I figured, free space equals one day off to decompress). The site even offers ideas on what to put on your Bingo card. For example here are the ones that caught my attention from the site and from this site that I think will work for me:
- Update NaNoWriMo Account
- Logline and Tagline
- Brainstorm Your Plot
- Brainstorm Your Subplot(s)
- Bookend Beginning
- Bookend Ending
- Get To Know Main Character(s)
- Get To Know Supporting Character(s)
- Get To Know Villain(s)
- Get To Know Setting(s)
- Find Location Inspiration
- Find Character Inspiration
- Create Inspiration Board
- Write A Synopsis
- Creating A Writing Playlist
- Research Important Need To Know Facts (1)
- Research Important Need To Know Facts (2)
- Find Writing Groups
- Preptober Workbook
I want to work toward some sort of reward, and I will DEFINITELY reward myself if (WHEN) I win NaNoWriMo, but for now, it feels weird to reward myself for prepping. (Yay! Good job, Karen! You prepared for your challenge!) Uh … no.
But, I thought it would be fun to make prepping for NaNoWriMo more fun. Feel free to copy this for yourself, if you like.
Here are some more helpful resources in planning for NaNoWriMo.
What is NaNoWriMo? And How to Win in 2021
Helping Writers Become Authors has a good section on how to outline for NaNoWriMo.
I plan on using the SmartEdit program as my writing software of choice. I’ve been liking it so far and best part – IT’S FREE.
If you Google Preptober and/or use the #preptober hashtag on Twitter, you will stumble across many more resources – the ideas are endless. These are the rabbit holes I tend to get sucked into (hence the reason I gave myself two research days because I loves me some research, ya’ll!) and if reading over these ideas and resources doesn’t inspire you then … I’ve got nothing else.
I’ll try and remember to update you on my Bingo card throughout the month of October. I’d like to post excerpts from my NaNoWriMo project in November, too.
I think my biggest challenge won’t be the writing part – I can write/type fast and make my characters do/say all sorts of stupid things, no, I think my biggest challenge is going to have the energy to actually write. Working 40 hours, making time for family, holidays, and you know, SLEEPING, and then finding the energy and time to actually write something …. that’s going to be hard. The few years I won NaNoWriMo I wasn’t working so …. that should tell you something.
We are also planning a short camping trip in November, which we plan on vlogging, so it will be challenging to find time to write while doing that, too.
Anyway. I hope this information was helpful and that I’ve given you some places to check out and poked your writing beast.
By the way, my Wrimo username is Take2max if you want to look me up on the NaNoWriMo site and friend me. I even made a writing group on the NaNoWriMo site called Write Away if you want to chat. (Search for that name when you go to your NaNoWriMo account under “groups.” Send me a note and I’ll send you an invite).
I freaking love this time of year!