The Night Before NaNoWriMo

National Novel Wiriting Month (National Novel Writing Month) starts tonight at midnight, nipping at the heels of Halloween and luring Writers up past their bedtimes with dreams of sugar-induced wordsprints.

Alas I won’t be awake for the witching hour, since I am a Responsible Adult™ and must be at work come 7:30am.

But I’m ready.

I have a checklist.

1. Writing Materials

There's a desk in here somewhere...

You can’t write a novel without tools, but what tools are best really depends on the person.

I like my netbook (Raven the Writing Desk) rather than my laptop (Sven the Homework God) when it comes to write-ins, because it’s easier to carry. The keyboard is smaller, but so is the table real estate it takes up—which leaves more room for the notes and the stuffed plot bunnies…

I like my sitting desktop (Holly) over my treadmill desktop (Hal), because I find it hard to get into the zone while walking. This is something I plan on working on, but I’m not expecting it to change much before next year (or next Camp).

I like writing on paper rather than keyboards while in the car… but now that I have a good pillow laptop desk, this may change. I figure the trip north will be a good test of the two options, at least as long as the netbook’s battery hold out.

I also love plotting on blank paper with colored markers and putting scenes onto index cards so I can shuffle them around. There’s something about breaking out the art supplies (or the sketchbook) that loosens up the Muses a bit. Much like Musefics, sometimes you just need to look at a problem sideways in order to sort it out.

2. Places to Write

Some folks work best in solitude, but I’ve found that I can write just as well in a crowded café with friends as I can tucked into the guest bedroom at home. So I do both—this year I’m looking forward to a lot more write-ins, but also some good quality time spend at my writing desk (avec cat and dogs) or in the guest room (sans pets).

I’m also wavering between brining my netbook to work and writing during my lunch break or going home for lunch. The dogs would prefer home (since they get to romp outside) at least until it gets cold out…

3. Food


NaNo is the perfect excuse for living on fast food and pizza for a month—but don’t do it!

Instead sit down for a few minutes and plan out some ‘lazy’ foods that taste good and can be made in a few minutes (sandwiches, salads, soups, etc). I tend to go heavy on the sandwich-and-fruit route, but there are a lot of things that you can do prep-work for at the beginning of the week and then throw together as needed.

Heck, even just raiding the supermarket soup section and picking a flavor-a-day for all thirty days of November wouldn’t be amiss!

Also stock up on snack foods that are on the healthy end of things, carrots trump Cheetos any day and you’ll end up with more energy at the end of NaNo to boot. When you sit down to write fill a bowl with veggies, fruits, crackers and cheese, popcorn, nuts and much away—just save the Halloween Candy for WordWar rewards!

4. Housework/Chores

Hyperbole and a Half is AWESOME

Make a list… No, seriously, make a list!

In the midst of NaNo you will most likely forget do to laundry, dishes, pay the phone bill and Tivo The Walking Dead. Little things like remembering to pack a lunch, charge your cell phone, or call someone to wish them happy birthday will go out the window like hyperactive squirrels—best to be prepared!

So make a list of chores, birthdays, prior commitments (and Write-ins!) and put it up somewhere that you can’t miss it. Because you’ll be in the midst of trying to figure out how to kill off character A without characters B and E finding out and you’ll walk out of your house without your wallet.

So take today to do groceries, stock up on cleaning supplies, and alert Facebook and Twitter that you might just have to take a vacation from digital life.

After all, November is coming…

5. Relax

In those last few hours up to NaNo, the most important thing to do… is relax.

If you have a plot, don’t poke at it.

If you don’t have a plot, don’t worry.

If you are absolutely dying to finally get words on the page and are two seconds away from pouncing on your coworkers and telling them the whole story just to get it out of your brain—take a deep breath… and don’t!

Midnight will come soon enough and you have all of November to worry about plots and wordcounts and driving your coworkers nuts. So take a moment to look out the window, fill up the candy bowls, and enjoy the fun that is Halloween—and not just ‘The Day Before NaNo’!

Happy NaNo’ing All!

Martha Bechtel

My name is Martha Bechtel and I write fantasy and science fiction stories, paint small model horses silly colors, cast resin and plaster magnets, code random code (and Wordpress plugins)... Come on in and join in the fun!

Leave a Reply