November is coming. Whether you plan your NaNo-novels in advance, or you like to fly by the seat of your pants, or this is your first time participating in NaNoWriMo and you don’t know which way to go, this page is for you. We’ve amassed resources of all kinds from around NaNoLand to help you prep your novel—and your life—for the marathon writing ahead. Stay tuned for our NaNoPrep Day on October 17. Wrimos will share their favorite prep tip on Twitter with the hashtag #nanoprep!
Guides and Workbooks
No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days
The seminal guide to NaNoWriMo by NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty.
Ready, Set, Novel: Plan and Plot Your Upcoming Novel
A workbook by NaNoWriMo veterans Tavia Stewart-Streit, Lindsey Grant, and Chris Baty.
Young Writers Program Workbooks
Amazing (and 100% non-lame) exercises for kids, teens, and adults!
Learn about your fellow Wrimos’ writing traditions and establish your own.
Figure out the mood of your novel.
Summarize your novel using comp titles!
Flesh our your characters’ personalities.
Get to know your character in 30 questions.
Pack your NaNo Survival Kit.
More Inspirational Site Resources
Peruse the special offers on planning and plotting software available from our sponsors!
Read up on five years’ worth of writerly advice from published authors and staff.
And stay tuned throughout November for this year’s line-up of all-star inspiration!
Still unsure about participating? See why others have!
How Your Fellow Wrimos Prepare for November
Participants’ pre-NaNo rituals vary widely, offering helpful ideas for how Wrimos can prepare their homes, their families, and their psyches for the November Noveling marathon to come.
“I get my notebook for my NaNo story all set up. I sort of ‘scrapbook’ the cover with inspiring pictures that reflect the story, then start outlining inside the notebook and writing character bios. My notebooks are works in progress and are fun to look back on when Nano is over.”
“My pre-noveling routine comes down to organizing my home, really getting in to self-care/relax mode, making sure everyone knows I’ve got things I need to do (like write every day!) and just picture a finished novel and calm writing time!”
“I usually prepare 6 or 7 huge meals in the freezer, homemade Mac and Cheese (Martha Stewart Mac and Cheese 101!), lasagna, stews, etc., clean the house, and make sure every bit of laundry is done, so I can fall behind in November”
“I like to outline in such a way that I end up with 30 sections (one per day) that are intended to be 2000 words each (so I have at least 60 000 words by the end of the month). (Those 30 sections are divided into chapters or, like this year, into a three act structure.)”
“I read and re-read books that I think will help spark ideas or inspire me for November. Usually I try to keep them within the genre or mood of whatever novel I plan to write (else I run the risk of having a favorite fantasy novel hijack my epic sci-fi plans). I name characters, try to figure out how the story will end or at least a middle point to shoot for, and get as familiar with my protagonists as possible. Then I do a bunch of writing and (as much as possible) get in the habit of writing a ton, lest I come upon NaNo unprepared. Finally, I drink a LOT of tea.”
“I like to do a brief read-through of No Plot? No Problem! and start keeping lists: character names, novel titles, snacks to buy, things like that.”
“I clip pictures out of magazines and pin them to black poster board: heroine, hero, likely locations they would go, house she/he might live in, bedroom they sleep in. I write small scenes on post-its on the pictures.”
More Pre-NaNo Preparatory Projects
Set up your writing nook! Is your writing area comfortable? Is it well lit? Do you have inspirational writerly incentives close at hand? See how these authors have configured their creative caves.
Do away with your Inner Editor. Symbolically disposing of your inner self-doubt and demons does wonders for your confidence. Find (or make) a representation of your Inner Editor (like Lindsey’s shark), and then find a secure place to store it so it can’t disturb your writing in November!
Start your daily writing practice. Writing every day can feel weird at first, and poses a scheduling challenge for many. Get in the habit of carving out time every day to write some micro-fiction (or anything that comes to mind!). You can find great prompts at any one of these sites:
Writerly Advice on the OLL Blog
Write or Die: An Experiment
The Mechanics of Language, or How I Stopped Worrying and Learned to Love the Fragment
What Doctor Who Taught Me About Inspiration
Conversations With your Novel
Why Do You Write?
When is a Writer a Writer?
Tool for the Tentative Writer
And So It Begins
Inside the Mind of a Planner
The Most Important Noveling Tools Ever
The Great Debate: Are You a Planner or a Pantser
Pantser? Planner? Percolator?
Pre-NaNo Go Time
Our final suggestions for your Pre-NaNo preparation?
Donate! Winner and donor stats show that year after year, participants who donate to NaNoWriMo are more likely to reach their 50,000 word goal and emerge from November a winner.
Let the countdown to November 1 continue! We’ll see you at the starting line to get this novel-writing marathon started.