We are close to November and NaNoWriMo, which many of us writers feel excited, anticipated, and perhaps even a little nervous to participate in. Some may feel that the task of writing 50.000 words is a daunting project. Some might even feel scared because they might think they will spend NaNoWriMo staring at a blank screen. No worries, I am here to help give you tips on how to prepare for NaNoWriMo.
A quick note: Many may think that NaNoWriMo is meant for fiction writers, but that’s not true. A non-fiction writer writes, too. So the tips in this post are aimed at the non-fiction writer. But first, a short introduction of NaNoWriMo.
What is NaNoWriMo?
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month and is based on the challenge of writing 50.000 words during the timeframe of November. The essence of this challenge is to get a part of your first draft, or all of it, done during November.
NaNoWriMo isn’t just about the pain and pleasure of writing, though. You can do more than track the progress of your 50.000 word-goal on their website. You can befriend and be social with other writers, participate in forums where you discuss different things that’s associated with writing, give support to struggling writers as well as getting support from others when you’re struggling, and other fun stuff. NaNoWriMo’s website is basically a community for people who have the same goal — to write 50.000 words during November and get that first draft (or a part of it) done.
Why You Should Plan Beforehand
Since you only have a month to complete 50.000 words you need to take advantage of all your writing time as effectively as possible. This requires some planning of your manuscript beforehand. Let me be clear on something first: planning your manuscript beforehand does not mean outlining your entire manuscript — if that’s not what you want to do. You do, however, need some guidelines jotted down before NaNoWriMo starts so that you’ll have a chance to accomplish the goal of 50.000 words.
The reality is that when NaNoWriMo starts, you should write. Not procrastinate or roll your thumbs or edit. To be able to make the most out of every minute of your writing time, you need some sort of plan.
So, what is this plan I’m talking about? Well, check out the list below and find out.
How to Plan a Non-Fiction Manuscript for NaNoWriMo
- Research if needed. Do you need to research a particular topic you want to have in your book? It might be a topic you’re not all that familiar with. If so, do the research beforehand so that you can concentrate on writing during NaNoWriMo.
- Jot down a structure of your manuscript. You can do this by jotting down the different topics you want to have in your manuscript. If you’re writing a guide with several steps you can jot down the steps in chronological order. You don’t need to be all that detailed about it; a more simplistic way to do it is to write a list of topics you want in your manuscript without thinking about chronological order. The thing about the first draft is that it can be shitty and in chaos, you’ll just fix that in the editing phase after NaNoWriMo.
This is basically what you need to begin writing your non-fiction manuscript during NaNoWriMo. At least this is what helps me to avoid staring at a blank screen. Hopefully this works for you, too.