Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NANO Prep Tips Lola-Style

Hello Friends,

So, today I thought I'd share how I prepare for NANOWRIMO.

Even if you aren't participating in Nano, some of these tips may still be helpful for you in carving out the sacred daily writing time we all need more of, especially when we have busy families and jobs and such.

I won't talk outlining-type prep work (because, HAHAHA! *wipes eyes*), but if you do want info on how-to-plot-for-Nano may I suggest the blog of the lovely Alexandra Sokoloff. In fact, she's been doing a series specifically on nano-prep-outining, but her entire blog is filled with plotting and structure tips. 

My tips are also useful for when you are on deadline.

Before I commence with my tips, the most important thing to Nano-success, to ALL writing success, is COMMITMENT.

Okay, let's get on with it. Gird yourself...

Lola's Nano Preparation Tips:

 1. Do a HUGE grocery shop this weekend. STOCK UP! 
(3 dozen eggs, check. 5 loaves of bread in freezer, check. 10,088 frozen pizzas, check!) Stock up and utilize your freezer. If you are in charge of feeding a family, find some super easy crock pot recipes and stock up on those ingredient. Buy the veggies pre-cleaned and pre-cut, or do so yourself NOW. 

While you are at it...
 2. Stock up on your writing beverage of choice (coffee, soda, tea...whatever, AND the sugar and creamer you may need). Buy WAY more than a month's supply. Ditto for your favorite writing snack.  

3. Have the local pizza (etc.) delivery on speed dial. 

4. Get spouse/family/friends on board. You will need their support. (My husband will often bring home take-out dinner or take our daughter out for dinner and bring me home a meal...a meal which he quietly shoves under my writing cave door.) 
If you're married with children, get your spouse to bring home dinners and help extra with the kids. (if you have little ones home with you, buy some new little toys, movies, books, crayons, etc. NOW, and whip them out when you need some quiet time. Consider hiring a teen/senior helper.)

Friends and family need to know that unless their hair is on fire, to please cheer you on SILENTLY from a distance (aka leave you alone!); chatty visits, phone calls/texts etc. will have to wait until December 1st. You will be sequestered, MIA. Hold them (and yourself) to it. (make sure you make it up to them later, by spending time with them and thanking them for their support.)

5. Spouses/significant others/roommates should be pre-warned that it is possible (probable!) that your personal hygiene and grooming will decline substantially during the month of November. (all the more reason they should LEAVE YOU ALONE with your computer ;)

(*sniff* do I reek? Yes? *rubs on more deodorant, shrugs, goes back to typing*) (where's that scrunchy that isn't all stretched out??) 

(remember that shopping trip where you stocked up on supplies? Yeah, make sure you bought extra toothpaste, deodorant... and some cleansing wipes.) 

6. Get your nails done and hair cut/colored NOW, pre-Nov., or be prepared to wait until Dec. 1st. 

7. Preemptively CLEAN YOUR HOUSE and do ALL LAUNDRY like a mad person. START NOW. 
Then every few days during Nov. try to zip through and whirl-wind clean the hot spots (kitchen, toilets, quick vacuum). If you live with someone, try to enlist their help to do more than their share and you'll make it up to them another month.

DO NOT HAVE/ALLOW ANYONE OVER in November. You won't have time to entertain them and likely the house will not be up to company standards. 
Which leads me to... 

8. DO NOT host THANKSGIVING  (for those living in the States) at your house this year!! Go to your parents/in-laws/siblings/friends/restaurant. The amount of time it takes to clean for company, plan your menu, shop for the menu, cook, entertain, and then clean afterwards is death to your goal... not an option.

It's a wonderful day to spend with your family and friends you've been neglecting, so spend the day relaxing with them. 
(And then get RIGHT BACK on track the next day! Make sure you family understands that Thanksgiving was a one-day hiatus and now you still have to finish out your month of hardcore writing. They can have lots of time with you in December.) 

9. I make it my goal to write 2,000 words/day 6 days/week. The 7th day is for errands, chores and spending time with loved ones...preferably outside, in the fresh air and sunlight.

If I know I won't be making my goal (like Thanksgiving day, for instance), I 'bank' extra word count AHEAD of time. I will do 2,500-3,000/day for a few days before the day off.
I also try to do this (banking extra word count) a few times early in the month to have some 'savings in the bank' for a 'rainy day emergency', in case I get sick or something unexpected comes up. 

(I mean, if I get a last minute invite to a front row at Incubus/Kings of Leon/etc. concert,, I'm not gonna say no. Duh. I'm gonna ditch that ms like 4 day old stanky fish.) (So bank as many extra words each day as you can!) 

10. And this may be the most important tip: BACK UP YOUR WORK EVERY SINGLE DAY!!! Have a plan NOW of how  you will accomplish this. And have extra flash drives/hard drives ready now.

For those doing Nano this year, I know the Nano-site doesn't have the buddy list functioning yet (grrrrr!), but when they do, you can buddy me at: 

What are YOUR plans for November? If you are doing Nano, what are YOU doing to prepare? 



Len Lambert said...

10,088 frozen pizzas, LOL, I love that, Lola! I still have not decided if I'm going to join NaNo or not, geez. I think I'm too scared to fail! All the best to you on your NaNo piece! :)

Dan said...

Instead of posting my own list, I think I'll just refer people to yours since you've summed up everything nicely.

Susan Oloier said...

Love it!!! I am doing NaNo this year and have done it once before. You are right on with all of your tips. For me, the most important is getting in the extra word count for days like Thanksgiving. I am off to check out Alexandra's site as I am a big plotter.

Christine Rains said...

Great tips! I'm doing a big clean this weekend. Hopefully that will last through the month!

M.J. Fifield said...

I am doing NaNo. To prepare, I have bought enough halloween candy to last me through the worst zombie apocalypse. I figure that'll be enough to get me through the first week...

Love the tips. They are all so very true.

Laura Marcella said...

Awesome tips, Lola! I also write 2,000 words a day; it's a great cushion for those days when life gets in the way. Lucky for me my husband is super excited two new video games just came out for XBox 360 (something like battlefield or duty calls or mumbo jumbo, haha) so he'll be totally fine and won't feel neglected throughout NaNo. I'm happy about that too! Perfect timing, video game gods!

Karen Strong said...

Good luck with Nano! I don't think I'm gonna do it this year, but I'll cheer you on. :)

Juliemybird said...

Thanks for the tips, Lola. I'm doing NaNo for the first time this year (while rehearsing for a play, because I am insane), and I need all the help I can get. :)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Agree with getting family on board! They need to know why they won't see you for a month.

Tere Kirkland said...

I'm cheating NaNo this year. Need to add another 50K to my wip, but since things should be pretty quiet in the blogosphere, I figure it's a great time to write like a maniac with fewer distractions.

LOL about Thanksgiving. I should have just celebrated Canadian Thanksgiving this year instead. ;)

Nicole Zoltack said...

I can't wait for November! I love Nano.

But yeah... this is also the first time we're hosting Thanksgiving. What the heck was I thinking??? Clearly I wasn't!

Cheyanne said...

This is the most excellent NaNo post I've seen this year!!

However.. are you sure you have enough frozen pizzas?

Jon Paul said...

Finger exercises.

No. Really! :D (I cannot wait!)

Old Kitty said...

Beautiful Ms Lola! Thank you for your wise and wonderful words!!! May the Nano battle commence! You are taking no prisoners and glorious victory is your only outcome! Hoooorah!

GOOD LUCK with your Nano writing - enjoy and you GO GIRL!!!! Take care

Meredith said...

I'm not doing NaNo, but I may follow this list anyway! Sounds like such a good plan. Thanks, Lola! Good luck!

Kelly Polark said...

Excellent tips.
Except I'm probably hosting Thanksgiving and I have to bathe regularly for my job, and my hubby is gone during the week. :( I'll manage somehow!!! :)
I'm going to link to this post in my next nano blog post!

Natalie Aguirre said...

I'm not doing Nano but will use your tips to be productive. Love Alexandra's blog BTW.

Anita said...

I knew there'd be food on your tip list. And I've done that Madonna thing 200 times, just for fun! :)

The Golden Eagle said...

Alexandra Sokiloff has some excellent outlining posts!

Great tips. I didn't do nearly as much cooking last year as I do now, so I'll probably have to follow suit when it comes to #1, at least to an extent. :P

Liza said...

No NaNo for me. I just cheer on the rest of you and work on my own (more modest) goals. I had fun reading this though! Thanks and good luck!

Linda G. said...

You sound like a woman prepared! I will be cheering you on from the sidelines. :)

A.J. Mullarky said...

All good tips. Love the hygiene pic.

Jessica Love said...

Great tips! Let's do this!

Sarah said...

For some reason, I find this terrifying. Seriously, my pulse just sped up! I have no plans to NaNo it, nor have I ever, but I wish you the best of luck. :)

Miranda Hardy said...

Love these tips, of course the frozen pizza count probably won't fit in my freezer.

I'll be joining you for NaNo. Should be a blast.

Angel said...

This is a GREAT post! Thanks!

julie fedderson said...

You crack me up! Definitely #5. I'm not doing NaNoWriMo, but to steal someone's else's brilliance I read somewhere, NaNoRevMo, where I revise the WIP. Good luck to you on meeting your goals.

Lindsay N. Currie said...

LOL hilarious. Great tips Lola. I've never participated in NaNo before, but it sounds awesome and I'm sure one of these days I'll do it:)

Jemi Fraser said...

I love NaNo. I shouldn't be doing it this year, as I'm trying to finish up another story, but I know I'll be sucked in anyway! :)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful tips! This is my first year doing NaNo so I will definitely need all the suggestions and advice I can get. Thanks for sharing! :)

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I laughed and laughed through this. Then I took mental notes, figured out how to get some of these things done in the next five days and with share with my students doing the YWP program.

Thanks for the follow - returning in kind :)

cherie said...

Awesome tips! So funny with hints of truth. Can't wait to get started with NaNo. I'll definitely buddy you. :)

Jess said...

You're going to think I'm crazy, but all these tips about how to prep/keep calm for NaNo make me wish that I WAS doing NaNo. I got excited reading this post, then I remembered, "You're not doing it, because you're a weenie." That tip about not hosting Thanksgiving? So true! That holiday always takes more planning than you think it will. Boo on me for not participating in NaNo this year...hmm...maybe I'll give it a try after all. I've been looking for an excuse to stock my freezer with frozen pizza :)

Jenny Phresh said...

Fabulous tips! I'm a little scared, now. I can see myself staggering about with unkempt hair and blackened teeth.

Vicki Rocho said...

This has been the most comprehensive (and practical) list I've seen yet. Love it!

Neurotic Workaholic said...

I'm not doing Nanowrimo just because November is an especially busy month during the school year, but I wish I could. On the other hand, I love your advice. I think it's helpful to grad students like me as well, especially when we're trying to figure out how to get our dissertations done and finally escape grad school.

LTM said...

BAH!!! Lola, you are too hilarious w/the Madonna image at hygiene. Ew. And I do think a huge grocery trip and having the fam onboard would be vital. GOOD LUCK next month! cheers~

Shelley Sly said...

Hahaha! I love this! I'm not doing NaNo (I will, some year, but this isn't the year), but this was just too funny!

Sounds like you know what you're doing and you're all ready to go. Wish you the best this November! Get those words down, girl!


Krista said...

I have given you an award on my blog.

Jessica Lindsay said...

Hello! We bumped into each other through Jennie Bailey's blog last fall. I'm gearing up for another NaNo, too, and I'm so glad to read these practical tips. My plans were just to jump in and hold my breath. This is better! This is much better--to plan for 2000 words a day, allowing a day for errands. To honestly allow for some building of dust and collecting of laundry piles. It will all be worth it to have the draft done in a month. Good luck to you! And thanks again for the advice!

bridget said...

I get the impression you like pizza! Loved this post.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Lots of wonderful tips. I'm also doing NaNoWriMo. I went shopping yesterday, so my freezer is well stocked. I'll have to go out to pick up some things once or twice during the month, but not until my writing is done for the day.

Please stop by my blog to pick up your blogger awards. Have a great day!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

I'm lucky enough that i can get most of my NaNo writing done during the work day, so really, not much of my day to day schedule changes.
BUT. And this is a big But. (tee hee. Big but) we are hosting a baby shower for a co-worker of Twin's (both she and her husband are pubbed authors. Time to rub some elbows!) next week. So i know i have to try and get ahead as much as possible as fast as possible. Because combine that with thanksgiving and my mom's b-day and it's going to be the toughtest NaNo evah!

Less than 12 hours!!

j. littlejohn said...

check. check. check...... check

Portia said...

Great tips! I'm definitely not doing Thanksgiving this year. The banking words is a good idea too--you never know when a day is gonna blow up!

Happy NaNoWriMo eve!


Susan Fields said...

Excellent tips, Lola! That last one about backing up your work every single day is sooo important and something I regularly forget to do. Thanks for the reminder and GOOD LUCK!

Harvee said...

I'm not doing NaNo but if I were, I'd follow your tips. Instead I'm reading Murakami's 1Q84 on Kindle and would you believe it, his novel includes stuff that writers could use on writing, editing, etc.

Chris Phillips said...

amazing tips. Like hearing about taking care of house chores so they don't interrupt.

Ainsley Shay said...

Great post!!! I'll be doing a few of your suggestions!

Christa said...

This post wins in many, many ways, but primarily for the Desperately Seeking Susan picture. I frickin' love you. Good luck with NaNo.

Angela Ackerman said...

Sounds like great advice--you can't help but succeed (especially if you don't host Thanksgiving!)

Angela @ The Bookshelf Muse

Lydia Kang said...

Yep, if I was doing NaNo that's how I would do it! I'd also make a gigantic barrel of ready made snacks and just point the kids towards it at mealtimes, LOL!

Thanks soooooo much for the congrats, by the way! ;)

Alexis Bass Writes said...

Brilliant. Good advice. Especially the part about not host Thanksgiving. Also, love the spin about how bad hygiene can be a writing-positive. :)

Matthew MacNish said...

I don't do NaNo, because if I stocked up on my writing beverage of choice (Scotch Whiskey) I'd be passed out by noon.

May your pen be mighty

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Lola Sharp
My name is Lola. (I'm not a showgirl) Yes, L-O-L-A Lola. It's the least of my worries. Let's move on, shall we? This blog is mostly about my misadventures on the journey to publication and beyond. My passion for lush prose, quirky characters, art, music, literature, performing arts and anything creative will be a major theme here. This journey of mine will not always be pretty. Much like rubbernecking a train wreck, I know sometimes you just can't help but look at the carnage that is often my life. So strap on your neck brace, helmet and 5-point harness and come along for the ride! Licentia poetica.
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