As winter approaches, writers get excited. No, it’s not because most of them get to do their favorite thing; staying indoors. It’s because the biggest writing challenge of the year is in November, National Novel Writing Month. Writers attempt to write 50,000 words in the space of a month! Now whether it’s your first one or your 5th one, a mammoth task like this seems impossible to achieve. But that’s what you have October, or ‘Preptober’, as it’s fondly called. It’s the perfect time to get everything organized. We have a checklist for you so that you can go headfirst into NaNoWriMo!

#1 Determine your NaNoWriMo goals

What do you want out of NaNoWriMo? Are you writing for the first time? Are you writing for fun or do you want it to turn into a profession? It’s important to understand what you want out of this whole process so that it becomes easier to determine your writing goals. Write down your goals and then brainstorm about how you can achieve them. 

#2 Make a checklist!

Planning a project this big is going to take a lot more time than 1 month if you go about it haphazardly. Make a checklist of your goals along with a timeline. When do you want to start creating your characters? Do you want to sketch out the plot and setting two weeks prior to NaNoWriMo? Making a list of all that you need to do will help you stay on track. You can do this by making a separate calendar or the good old Excel spreadsheet.

#3 Create a NaNoWriMo notebook

You will make copious amounts of notes in Preptober. If you are the kind who carries their phone around everywhere and makes notes, that works. But personally, we feel that a dedicated NaNoWriMo notebook does a much better job at keeping all your NaNoWriMo notes in one place. 

#4 Prepare your outline and a basic premise

Some people like to prepare a whole outline in October and religiously follow it in November or just wing it. But we’d suggest that you have at least a basic outline ready so that you are not clueless. And then write a basic premise. Your premise should have your main character, the conflict in the novel, and the rising action that the character has to face in order to fulfil the objective. 

#5 Decide the framework of your story

What tense is your story going to be in? From which point of view (POV) is it supposed to be in? It’s better to get questions like these sorted beforehand and the way you can do that is structuring your story throughout October. Go to the PaperTrue Resource Center to find articles on crafting a story and structuring it. 

#6 Create and assemble all your characters

It’s helpful to have rough character sketches of the characters in your book. Create character profiles and structured sheets on which you have every little detail about your character laid out. Refer to character sheets on Pinterest or from among the dozens that you’ll find online. 

#7 Assemble your NaNoWriMo survival kit

Sharpen your pencils (to take notes), bundle up the cosiest socks and keep them in your drawer, stock up those lavender-scented candles and your favorite coffee because it’s going to be a hectic month and you have to love every minute of it! 

#8 Make a NaNoWriMo playlist

You can’t function like an unstoppable machine and pump out 1700 words every day. Sometimes, your brain is going to get stuck at one word, constantly repeating it and turning and twisting it. What if you made the perfect playlist which is just gentle sounds in the background that subconsciously motivate you to write? Worked for me!

#9 Set up a reward system and inform close friends

If you work for a lucrative incentive, you tend to work better. Only this time, the incentives will range from a cheat meal, a tub of chocolate ice cream to buying that expensive dress that you’ve had your eye on. Set up rewards at key milestones; word count of the day, 5k words, 10k words, 15k words, and so on and so forth. On top of this, inform your close friends about your plan to pursue NaNoWriMo this year so that if you falter at any step, they’ll make sure that you stay on track. 

#10 Set up your NaNoWriMo account!

Now that you know what all is to be done, there’s only one last step left; creating a NaNoWriMo account! You can create it here. 

For more writing tips and tricks, you can visit the PaperTrue Resource Center, where we update you with exciting articles on plot structure, designing your setting, creating characters, and other helpful tips for NaNoWriMo.