Those of us who have ventured into the stormy seas of NaNoWriMo before know this familiar feeling. Whether you are a pant-ser or a plotter, with seven days to go you are itching to get started.
You could start writing now, stop reading this post and pull out your notebook or journal, or open up a new word document and begin putting down the words you’re aching to write. Nothing is stopping you. NaNoWriMo works on an honor system and you’re the only one who will ever know that you didn’t follow the rules. Winning though won’t feel quite as sweet, knowing that you reached the finish line because you started early. So what do you do with yourself for the next seven days? How do you avoid temptation? Having done NaNoWriMo for more years than I can count now and having won and lost I have a few suggestions; seven in fact, one for each day until November 1st.
1) Housework. Ugh, I know but if the hamper is empty and all the dishes washed you’ll have more guilt-free time to write and less complaints from those who live with you. So NaNo clean. Trust me your house will fall apart over the next thirty days, so consider this a preemptive strike.
2) Go shopping. Make a list. What do you need to make it through these intensive days of writing? Get yourself a crock pot. Stock up on K-Cups or buy yourself a couple of Starbucks cards. Buy some Halloween candy and make yourself a stash. Look for deals on frozen pizzas or frozen dinners. Do you have enough pens, a flash drive? Stock up now. Don’t forget a new DVD for the kids. Frozen, anyone?
3) Plan your meals for the next 30 days. Watch Rachael Ray’s Week in a Day (available on Netflix). If your kids are old enough or your partner (or roommates) are willing, teach them a few simple meals that they can throw together for when the muse has struck or you’re struggling for every word. Or as my son used to say, “When Mom makes dinner she uses the stove. When Dad makes dinner he picks up the phone.”
4) Go on a date. Chances are your partner or your best friend is going to feel a little neglected in the month of November. So right now, before things get started, take them to a movie or out to dinner. Spend a day pampering them. They’ll be more patient about the next thirty days. Especially if you promise them another one when you’re all done.
5) Indulge your muse. Did a movie or a novel inspire your current NaNo project? Read or watch it again. Read your favorite book on writing. Binge watch your favorite shows. Clear your DVR and program it for all those shows you’re going to be missing. You’re not going to have a lot of time for entertainment so carpe diem.
6) Write. I know this seems counter-intuitive but sometimes you just have to scratch that itch. Just don’t let it be your NaNo project. Write an article, a short story, a series of flash fictions, fan fiction. Write notes to your family and friends. Look over that outline or that character bio one more time.
7) Plan your victory celebration. That’s right. Assume you are going to win before you begin. Buy yourself a reward. I plan on getting Prince Lestat by Anne Rice and not cracking that spine until I’ve produced 50,000 words.
I hope this has helped and perhaps even inspired some ideas of your own. See you at the starting line.