Five Ways Self Publishing Authors Can Prepare for NanoWriMo

There is a little less than a month until the official start of National Novel Writing Month (NanoWriMo), but you can begin preparing now. While you can’t officially start writing the manuscript until November 1st, there is plenty of work you can do ahead of time to make the most of the month ahead. Here are five ways self publishing authors can prepare for NanoWriMo.

1) Brainstorm! It is never too early to start thinking of ideas. Carry around a notebook and jot down ideas whenever they come to you. Listen to people’s conversations to pick up fun quote ideas. Observe strangers to help you create interesting characters. Read books and watch movies to generate unique plot ideas. The more ideas you come with now, the easier it will be to write your novel in a month.

2) Get organized. Once you have a good sense of your plot, characters, setting, and conflict, you can begin outlining your story. The more detailed your outline is the more helpful it may be when you sit down to write your manuscript. This is especially important for self publishing authors participating in NanoWriMo because they are on a tight deadline. You will want to focus on writing rather organizing once you begin the challenge.

3) Prepare your writing area. This task will also save you time in the future. Gear up for the big challenge by cleaning out the clutter, purchasing any supplies, and designating a space that will be your official writing area. Don’t worry if you don’t have an entire office to dedicate to the task. All you need is paper, pens, a computer, a flash drive, and possibly a few reference materials such as a dictionary.

4) Set your goals. The keys to succeeding in the NanoWriMo challenge are goal setting and time management. If you want to write a 50,000 word book in a month, you need to figure out how many pages you will write each day or week and when you will write those pages. Choose a schedule that is realistic and achievable.

5) Enlist some help. Tell your friends and family about your goals so they can help you achieve them. Writing a novel in a month will be time-consuming, so you may need your spouse to cook dinners or ask your in-laws to watch the children. Just because writing is often an independent craft doesn’t mean you have to tackle this challenge alone.

I’d love to know, what are you doing to prepare for NanoWriMo?

ABOUT WENDY STETINA: Wendy Stetina is a sales and marketing professional with over 30 years experience in the printing and publishing industry. Wendy works as the Director of Author Services for Outskirts Press. The Author Services Department is composed of knowledgeable customer service reps and publishing consultants; and together, they all focus on educating authors on the self-publishing process in order to help them publish the book of their dreams. Whether you are a professional looking to take your career to the next level with platform-driven non-fiction, or a novelist seeking fame, fortune, and/or personal fulfillment, Wendy Stetina can put you on the right path.

2 thoughts on “Five Ways Self Publishing Authors Can Prepare for NanoWriMo

  1. I’m doing all these things except preparing my writing area, which is already in use daily and well prepared.

    I’m curious why you distinguish self-publishing authors as requiring organization before the start of NaNoWriMo. We have no more intensive deadlines self-publishing than when writing for sale, in fact, less, in that our self-publishing deadlines are more flexible and under our own control.

    I plan to use NaNoWriMo as an experiment to write a first draft, which may get it done faster than when I combine research and writing in the same time period… maybe. It may serve as a model for future drafts, or I may find it too frustrating to avoid developing scenes and dialog while doing the research. We’ll see.

    50,000 words is pretty short for a first draft novel, so I’ll shoot for 80 to 120,000 for the completed draft, 50,000 of which to be written in November. That should give me a leg up on a completed first by the end of the year.

    Mainly I’m looking forward to working in the company of a body of enthusiastic writers. It will be interesting to see if the external goad of NaNoWriMo prompts more useful output.

  2. Nothing so far, but I intend to at least outline my story and perhaps do some character sketches. The last time I waded into NaNo with absolutely no plan, it didn’t go well.

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