The days leading up to November 1 are always a blur for me. Not only does time seem to rush by once you realize that in just a few days, you will lose a significant amount of spare time (if you have any to begin with!) but it doesn't help that Halloween is literally the night before it starts. I'm going straight from a Halloween party to a kick-off party. On the plus side, Hit Girl is the perfect costume in which to kick some Day One NaNoWriMo ass!
We have two more days to prepare, and I don't know about you, but I plan to make the most of them! Here are my suggestions for what to spend your next two days on to make the transition into NaNo-ing the smoothest you can make it.
#1 — be ready to write
This one seems obvious, but if you wait until 12:01 am on November 1 to even think about your story, you will probably have a rocky start. In Friday's post, I outlined the ways I'm planning for my novel. It's not too late to come up with an idea! And if you have an idea, it's not too late to flesh it out.
Remember, planning out your novel is not against the rules. As long as you don't write any prose before November 1, you are still on the level. Don't think about it as taking away the excitement of the month-long race; instead, think of it as revving up for a strong start right out of the gate.
#2 — get your materials
How are you planning to write your novel? On a desktop, laptop, iPad, cell phone, spiral notebook? Have you been putting off installing Microsoft Word on your new laptop? Is the "M" key on your keyboard broken? Do you have enough spirals, enough pens? Whatever your primary writing medium is, double-check to make sure it's 100% ready to go.
But what about when you're not at your desk? Do you have a little notebook for your purse? Do you know how to use the voice memo recorder on your phone? Do you have a pen for that little notebook? If you want to leave little messages for yourself, consider a free program like Evernote. If you want your novel to be accessible anywhere, try Google Drive.
If you want a more detailed list of stuff to get to prepare for NaNo, I highly recommend Chris Baty's "No Plot? No Problem!" He has a long list of items you'll want to stock up on, including snacks you can eat while typing (Cheetos = bad) and a magic writing pen that makes you feel important. I suggest getting yourself some writing wear, something you can put on your person to associate with "writing mode." For me, I have a pair of grey fingerless gloves that my mom knitted for me. They make me feel like I'm starving to death in a cafe in Russia or something. Perfect!
#3 — warn family and friends
This isn't a joke. If you really dedicate yourself this month, you'll be turning down social invitations, ignoring chatty phone calls, and spending a lot of time holed up in your room, your office, the library, etc. I find that family and friends are most forgiving when you give them notice, and also make sure they are aware how important this is to you.
NaNoWriMo is a fun challenge and a whirlwind ride, but it can be hard for people who aren't involved to understand. You might even want to plan a post-NaNo get-together with friends and/or family to celebrate your return to the real world and thank them for putting up with your crazy November.
#4 — eliminate distractions
This is an impermanent solution, but a helpful one for getting a smooth start: Find anything that might distract you, and do it now. Is laundry piling up? Do it today so you won't be worrying about it on day one or two. Need groceries? Hit the store today. Concerned about feeding yourself? Make some pre-made casseroles and stuff to put in the freezer so you won't waste time and money on fast food trips and extravagant cooking adventures.
It's easy to find ways to distract yourself, and no matter what you do, there will be options. But by getting some potentially distracting tasks out of the way early, you can tell your distracted brain, "Hey, calm down. We did all the necessary stuff. Time to write."
Depending on how you feel about NaNoWriMo, the next two days could either race or drag by. Either way, you don't want to hit November 1 unprepared. It's not too late to make sure everything is ready for a smooth start to NaNo!
Do you feel ready? What do you do to prepare for the month? Tell me in the comments!