Even with me planning out what I'm going to write and plotting out my story, I still feel unprepared. And I do this every damn year.
I think I'm going to prep blogs, and prep daily posts, and prep ideas for group involvement. And each year I procrastinate and wing it. It still works out pretty darn well considering I'm currently at five wins in a row and about to make it six. (Yes. Humblebrag. Although, writing really quickly one month out of the entire year is not something to brag about. LOL.)
So while I have a small stash of memes and previous years posts to pull from, I'm going to be chatting over in my Facebook Group and here on my blog about whatever strikes my fancy on the day of.
I've found that while not everyone hits the same speedbumps at the same time, we all tend to deal with similar struggles as the month wears on.
So I figured I'd give you, my fabu blog readers, a head start, and chat about some hurdles you should prep for during the month of writing with abandon.
1. Eye Strain
If you're writing your novel on a computer, and you're not used to the extra screen time, it can wear on your eyes. Cut back on some time you'd usually spend on your phone, to make up for it. Or you could try out some of the blue light blocking glasses.
You might just be cooking for yourself, or for a family, but there will come a point where you are lost in your work and realize you need to eat! I have alarms set on my phone to give me a thirty minute warning before it's time to eat. It let's me wrap up what I'm doing and take care of myself by cooking real food. But before NaNo, I make sure to have at least two or three "quick" meals on hand. Something that cooks up in minutes, and allows me to keep rushing through the work if I'm on a roll.
I usually keep tortellini and sauce on hand because I can keep it in the cupboard and it won't spoil. I also love the frozen veggie packets with stir-fry veggies. All I have to do is grab a pouch of 90 second rice, cook up the veggies, and top it with some pre-cooked chicken strips or leftover meat from another meal. It's a fast and slightly more healthy meal than the tortellini.
If you are someone like me, who needs to have a strong routine in place to function in life, unless you're writing like a fiend on the regular, NaNo is going to fuck up your day. So before November 1st sit down with your calendar. Figure out when you can write in your day, and what you're going to pull from your schedule to make it the habit it needs to be. (I wrote a blog about coming up with your "real" word count that goes with this idea if you're ready to do some serious planning.)
But figure out where in your day you're going to squeeze in enough time for your words. And that could be different based on Evil Day Jobs, family obligations, and general appointments that pop up on a less regular basis.
4. Procrastination and Overwhelm
I'm putting these two mental blocks together because I think they go hand in hand. There will be a point (likely a bunch of them) where you will feel like this is too big of a task. There will be a point where you might think, "I can't make this goal. I'll never write today/catch up/write anything worth reading. I might as well stop all together and go binge Netflix while I eat all the chocolate left over from Halloween."
This is where you employ your buddies. Get involved with NaNoWriMo groups. Find a local write in. Get a sprinting buddy on Twitter. See if there's an online write-in on YouTube. NaNoWriMo is all about community. So take advantage of it.
And if all that fails. Bribe yourself. I give myself a reward of my favorite expensive coffee once I hit the halfway point. It gives me a great reward for writing to the top of the hill that is usually the hardest part for me. By the time I'm in the second half of the 50k, I've got momentum on my side. But do what works for you. Do you need a reward every 10k? Every 5k? Hell...reward yourself with a cute sticker in your planner for every 500 words. Sometimes getting the first 500 is the hardest. Use whatever you have to to get started.
This is where I go all NaNo-mom on you and remind you to back up your work EVERY SINGLE DAY. Something will likely go wrong at some point. Your computer might start updating in the tight scheduled writing time you have. Your word processor might run out of batteries. You might step on your USB drive. Your cat might walk across the keyboard and delete your manuscript.
Shit happens. Tech is not always reliable. I have a cloud storage, physical storage, and emailed file of my document at least once a week on my calendar. Currently my plan is to do this dance on Sundays. Trust me. Losing your work, especially during this month is incredibly heartbreaking.
And if you happen to lose power, make sure you have a cute notebook and non-ink-skipping pen in your stash. Writing time might not go as fast on pen and paper, but you'll still get the ideas down. Or use the time to brainstorm names, dialogue, or even mapping out your world. Have a back up plan.
Those are my top 5 hurdles that I always prepare for during NaNoWriMo. What are yours? What do you encounter as you shove your inner editor aside and work your computer to the point of wearing off the letters on the keys? I'd love to hear about it.