Let’s start with a bit of background, shall we? I’ve been participating in NaNoWriMo since my senior year in High School (2008) and never won until this year. This year. The first year I’m working full time, the first year of home-ownership, and other adultly, stress-inducing type things.
I think the main thing that was different this year was my attitude. I’ve always been a bit too cavalier about NaNo, thinking I’ll write this masterpiece in a month as easily as snapping my fingers while I binge-watch Netflix. I usually enter November with a shiny new idea and maybe a bit of research or a few character profiles. Inevitably sometime in November I realize my story isn’t as shiny as I thought, the only way to make it interesting is by introducing zombies into my historical romance set in England, or I just don’t have enough steam to get me through 50,000 words. The most I’ve ever done is about halfway and that was during Camp NaNo two years back and it was the same story I won writing this year (though now completely different).
Here’s my 3 step recipe for winning NaNo:
(This is my determined face)
Easy to remember: 3D
(Not to be confused with overpriced, headache-inducing movies)
The other thing I did this year that I hadn’t before is PLAN and PREPARE!
(Not Ds, but still important)
I spent the whole of October prepping, making my November fail-safe. I created NaNo specific Pinterest boards, I created a Spotify playlist to set the mood, I checked out a few inspirational books and movies to refer to if stuck, I even created daily scene cards so I always had somewhere to start. I was set. If you’ve never won or struggled to win NaNo in the past, maybe this would be a good route to take. I always tried pantsing even though I’m clearly not a pantser.
Onward to Part Two!