7 More Ways to Prepare for NaNoWriMo

GlassesIf you are taking part in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) it is important to start preparing early. In an earlier post I discussed 11 ways that you can start getting ready, and provided some links to training materials in case you need help with how to write a novel and how to write quickly.

In my earlier post the 11 ways to start preparing mainly involved getting ready to write your novel, thinking about the story, structure, plot points and the like. But some of the best ideas for preparing for NaNoWriMo involve activities which are not directly related to your book. In this post I have 7 more ways that you can start preparing, indirectly.

  1. Freeze Some Meals. If you know you will be very tight for time during NaNoWriMo then pre-cook some meals now so you don’t have to prepare so many in November. Are you cooking tonight? Double up on the quantity and freeze half of it for later, ready to heat up in November.
  2. Organize Your Email. Now is a good time to organize your email. Set up filters to automatically file your email into folders: newsletters, Twitter notifications, etc. That way your email inbox will be much clearer and less of a distraction in November.
  3. Prepare Motivational Items. Put up a photograph or print out your favorite quote; buy a mug or t-shirt with “Writer”. Identify two or three things that motivate you and will keep you focused on your identity as an author. Perhaps it will be some reminder of an author who has inspired you, or a photograph of a place that always gets your creative juices flowing.
  4. Tell People You’re Doing It! One of the best things you can do is tell people you are entering NaNoWriMo. Knowing that they know you’re doing it will help keep you on track and make it harder for you to quit part way through.
  5. Consider Joining a Local NaNoWriMo Group. Groups are fun and motivational too. You can share passages you have written and receive feedback from other writers. Plus, knowing that “you’re all in it together” will provide some extra support and motivation to go the distance. Some groups gather during November for group writing sessions. You should be able to find groups in your area through the NaNoWriMo site as we move closer towards November 1.
  6. Get a Laptop or Tablet. If you are planning to write in different places and take part arrange in group writing sessions then it will be helpful if you are writing on a laptop or tablet. If you don’t have one and cannot afford to buy one before November, then you still have some time to “work on your family and friends” to find someone who will lend you one. Don’t forget to promise to remember them when you become the next JK Rowling.
  7. Arrange Your Backup System. Never underestimate the importance of backing up your computer files. Most of us have been using computers long enough now to have experienced at least one hard drive failure. If you haven’t then watch out, you might be due for one. I strongly recommend that you have a procedure in place for backing up, and to an off-site location, not only to an external drive. What if there is a fire, a flood or a break-in? An easy way to quickly back up your novel off-site is to email it to your Gmail account or save it to the “Google Drive” which comes free with a Gmail account.

I hope you find these ideas to be useful. If you missed my earlier posts you can read them using the links below.

About the Author: Gary McLaren

Gary McLaren is the author of 'The Indie Author's Guide to Publishing Ebooks'. He also manages several web sites for professional writers including Publish Your Own Ebooks and Worldwide Freelance.


  1. Pat Scanlan says:

    Hi Gary

    Read your prepare now stuff and must tell you a story.

    Just heard of NaNoWriMo last year and thought to myself this might be fun.

    I had a story perking away in the back of my mind so on Nov. 1, I started to write. I wrote until I was tired and then wrote more the next day. The story started to write itself and I found I was enjoying myself immensely.
    So I wrote some more. Then I started sending my word count to my writers’ group each night. On Nov. 27th I finished. 50,207 words. Whew.

    Christmas was coming and my mind was empty. I put the whole story aside and now, here we are in Sept. and I have not revisited it. I realized I could have taken the plot another way and am still playing with that which means a rewrite of about half the original story.

    Now I have another idea perking back there and am getting excited about trying it again. I look at this as an exercise in writing, a competition with myself but I have reached a stage where I am okay if I don’t make it.

    I am really looking forward to getting started though.


    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Pat! I think that is an excellent way of looking at it – as a writing exercise – and just think, after this year, you’ll likely have two novels well on the way towards completion, even if more “reworking” is required. Good luck with this year’s comp!

  2. Deanna Blais says:

    My sister introduced me to an app available on iphone and your computer as well called evernote. You can make changes on any device and when you open your computer or laptop, Evernote will sync up and update the changes! It has made it very convenient to make adjustments from anywhere, whenever I get inspiration. You can save pictures and maps on it as well.

  3. Freezing meals is an excellent idea, as is your suggestion to set up email filters. Both are distractions I”ve struggled with during previous NaNoWriMos.

    Really enjoyed your post, Gary. Now I’m off to check out your previous NaNo tips.

Leave a Reply