#PrepTober for NaNoWriMo 2021

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In this #PrepTober article we talk about three unconventional ways to prepare for NaNoWriMo this year. 

I am not going to have much time to prep for NaNoWriMo this year. In fact, I am not even sure I am going to be trying to reach 50,000 words as my NaNo goal. 

This is partly because of the way I am writing these days, which is consistently about 2000 words per week since I still work a full time job. While I’ve done NaNo’s before where I up my word count goal and bang at the keyboard day after day, right now I’m discovery writing a project as an experiment, and it is necessarily a slower, more deliberate drafting method that I don’t want to put aside for the sake of NaNoWriMo. 

Still, I wanted to give you a few ideas that you may not hear on other blogs as to how to prep for NaNoWriMo. If you are looking for my best tips for PrepTober, I wrote a post on that last year. Do feel free to check out Three Tips to Prepare for NaNoWriMo Like a Boss where you can learn those.

  1. Set Up Your Writing Interface

You should probably already decide what writing interface you are going to be using. If you are using a word processor like Word or Google Docs, consider setting up any fonts, headers, and title pages in advance. Set your page size and margins up. If you’ve outlined and know a rough chapter count, you can already start the new chapter headers centered on a new page.

If you’re using Scrivener, make sure your notes, your files, and all you’ll need to write on day one are transferred into the new document. You can add character sheets, pictures, your entire outline, and any other notes into your Scrivener file.

Even handwriters can prepare their writing interface by labeling sticky tabs with chapter headings so they are ready to use when you get to them, and gathering notecards or sticky notes and adding them into the back of your notebook for safekeeping. Number your pages so that you have an easy reference when you go back to edit. 

Whether you are digital or handwriting this year, make sure you have a way to back up your files. Handwriters can use apps paired with special notebooks such as the rocketbook, or just take pictures of each page with your phone. This way, if your friend spills coffee on your pages, your work will not be lost.

  1. Meal Prepping and Freezer Meals

A relatively new thing that I’ve only begun to do in the last two years is meal planning. I found an app that allows me to collect recipes, put them into a meal plan, then take some or all of the ingredients off the recipe list and build a grocery list off of it. I can now have a grocery list made in 5 minutes with minimal stress or decision making involved. The app can even take whatever parameters I set and build the meal plan for me if I want it to. 

This is not an ad, but I know you’re going to ask me what the app is. It’s called Recipe Keeper. It has a little orange icon with a bowl and whisk, and it’s been a game changer in my household.

I’ll be honest, I don’t do much in the way of meal prepping. I do make a large batch of coffee that I put in glass jars, cool on my counter and then put in my refrigerator for use in protein shakes during the week. I will also sometimes make homemade oat bars or oatmeal or will buy yogurt in bulk and portion it out into one meal portions to take to work for breakfast or lunches.  I can’t say that I always have the mental or physical capacity to want to meal prep, so I do what I can when I can.

In the interest of having prepared freezer meals, I don’t do these major hauls where I take an entire bag of chicken and portion it out into eight different meals in baggies in my freezer. What I will do, however, is make a double batch of anything whenever I’m cooking. Most recipes assume a meal for four people. I am in a household of two. I make the recipe for four people anyway, and freeze the other two portions to reheat for another time. You can do this with a lot of things, including sauces, pot pies, soups, chili, enchiladas and burritos, and curry. Make rice, noodles or potatoes to go with the meal the day of and you’re good to go.

  1. Pinterest Boards and Spotify Playlists

One more way you can prep for NaNo without really doing any writing is to get onto your computer and collect some visual or audio things related to your project. 

If you have a mind that likes to imagine things, one way you might find it useful to prep is to go onto Pinterest, or even just onto your favorite image search and to start collecting photos of things that remind you of your project. People that look like your characters. Aesthetics for your book, your world, or your cover art. Places your characters might go. The more you can see the world in your mind’s eye, the better a grasp you will have of it, and the more immersed you will feel. This will allow you to give your readers more immersion into your world as well. 

If you are motivated by good music, also consider making a playlist that fits your book’s mood or theme. Places like Spotify can suggest songs that will match others in your playlist if you are unsure, and may help you to keep the motivation for your project just by turning the music on at the beginning of a writing session or throughout your day.

I will be going on a trip to Hawaii this week. While I am excited to be there, it will be the first time I have been back since I left my home where I was born and raised since I left it twelve years ago. I will be spending a full week there with family, and will not have much time once I am back to prepare for NaNoWriMo. I am hoping that with some meals in my freezer, and my Scrivener files setup, I will be able to go into November with all I need to survive NaNo this year. 

Discussion Questions

  1. What would you say is the bare minimum preparation for going into NaNoWriMo?
  2. What are your best tips and tricks for making 50,000 words in November?
  3. Do you plan on participating in NaNoWriMo this year? Will you do a full 50K, and if not, what are your goals?
  4. What are your favorite freezer meal recipes? Drop them below!
  5. What questions would you like to see me answer in a blog post or podcast episode?

Click this link to hear this blog post as a podcast with your favorite podcasting app!

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