Like I mentioned in my last post, November (and NaNoWriMo) is just around the corner. If you’re anything like me, you’re simultaneously itching to start writing and a little nervous about where you’ll find the time.
I’ve seen a lot of good advice on prepping, but I tend to run into problems. After all, I’m firmly in the “pantser” school of thought: doesn’t matter how much I plan, it usually goes out the window the second my characters actually have a chance to do their thing.
So here are some ways to prepare that don’t involve actually planning.
1. Get used to your writing schedule.
You don’t have to get your word count, but sit down and write *something* every day for the rest of October. Could be a journal, could be a blog post, could be whatever strikes your fancy over on Reddit’s /r/writingprompts. Doesn’t matter. You’ll get in the habit early, so by the time NaNo rolls around you’re not tempted to skip out on one of the early days.
2. Get the inspiration flowing.
If this means planning, go for it. If this means sitting on your roof at 2 AM listening to polka, all the power to you. If this means driving an hour and a half to run around abandoned ghost towns (article on that later), be my guest.
I suggest copious amounts of nature and writing prompts. The subreddit I linked above is a great resource: there’s also The 3 AM Epiphany, Seventh Sanctum’s generator, and my personal favorite, WriterKata. Check out local nature trails, grab a journal and a writing prompt, hike to the middle of nowhere, and go nuts.
Anything. Everything. Just immerse yourself in books. This is good for getting the inspiration flowing, but it’s also a great way to think about your style as a writer. Take a moment to analyze your most influential favorites: how do they write? How do they craft their plots? How do they let their characters shine?
I’m not talking about actually stealing content, mind: that’s plagiarism. Don’t read Harry Potter and decide you want to write a series about a magical boy at a magical school fighting against the Dark Lord who is totally not Voldemort. Unless you’re doing fanfiction, not what I’m going for. Rather, focus on the style. Learn from the masters.
4. Read specifically to write.
And in that style, go find some books on writing by authors you like. Choose carefully– remember, not all books on writing advice will tell you how to write the way you want to. But if you’re a huge fan of Stephen King, On Writing is an excellent choice. If you’re influenced by a writer and they have advice out there, check it out. You’re already building on their work, after all. May as well let them help you.
I just picked up Ursula K. LeGuin’s Steering The Craft and I’m loving it.
5. Talk to other writers.
Find writer friends (online, in person, from school, from work, anywhere) and tell them all about the book you’re gonna write. Listen to them talk all about their books. Plan or find a kickoff party. Just plain old get excited.
Good luck, guys. It’s a huge adventure, and I loved every second of last year. Let’s see where this takes us.