Last year was the first year I participated in NaNoWriMo after many years of wanting to but being too scared to. I learned a lot of things during the process and managed to succeed in hitting my word goal. I realized pretty early on that I was going to have some bad days where I didn’t get close to my daily goal (though I often tried to push myself to reach it) but I would also have days where the words would flow without issue and I would have a surplus. Working a full time day job did impact my writing since there were some nights I had to force myself to even attempt to write and I know that this year will be no different.
I went back and forth many times in the last couple weeks wondering if I wanted to start a brand new story like I did last year or if I want to take one of my already started ideas (barely started) and expand on that. This was more of a struggle than I anticipated, but I eventually decided to work on an already started idea (though I will be completely reworking it because I don’t LOVE what I already wrote).
Thankfully those close to me understand that this will make me go virtually radio silent, but I’ve only done this once before and I know that I could have an entirely different experience than I had last year. Still I feel I learned a few things during last November, such as the following.
- I’m going to require caffeine, lots and lots of caffeine.
- I really should not look at the daily graph, even if I’m doing well.
- I cannot sacrifice sleep for this, I still have to go to my day job.
- This is for fun, but remember that even fun can be stressful and cause anxiety.
- Self care. Self care. Self care. (I cannot stress this enough).
So what exactly am I doing to prep? The biggest hurdle of prep for me so far was deciding just what I was going to do, but there are a few things I’m anticipating doing in the next couple weeks.
- Outlining. I don’t love outlining, but it’s something that is incredibly helpful in this process.
- Making sure that there is a food plan in place. No, I’m not kidding. Stress eating is a thing, wanting something quick so you can get to work is a thing. Last year there were nights I was so stressed out with the “I just worked 8 hours, I HAVE to catch up!” that I fell into the pit of quick food. I have to be careful with my diet anyways, so this was very unhealthy in many ways.
- Remember that self care I mentioned? Have a plan in place for it.
My experience is likely not like everyone else’s, but I recognize that I easily get stressed and anxious. Last year I met my goal and I had a blast doing it, but by the end of the month I was exhausted and literally didn’t write anything for the rest of the year. The end of November was both triumphant and a relief. Above all this year I need to remember that this is something fun, it’s completely fine if I don’t meet my goal every single day. Don’t get me wrong, I still plan on getting that winner certificate, but I recognize that I can’t make myself sick while doing it.
Who else is getting ready for NaNoWriMo? What are you doing to prep?