July 2018's Camp NaNoWriMo is quickly approaching. I've decided not to participate this year, because I'm going to be out of the country the first two weeks of July, but I know many of you will participate. The purpose of Camp NaNoWriMo is to set a personal writing goal and complete that goal within a month. Your goal can be anything. Maybe you want to write a certain number of words or maybe you want to edit a couple of chapters. You can even decide to spend a certain number of hours plotting or planning your novel.
Regardless of what goal you decide to set, I've laid out five tips below to help you prepare and get in the right mindset for Camp.
Know Your Why: It will be extremely hard for you to stay motivated and meet your goal if you don't know what motivates you. Life is going to get in the way. You're going to hit a roadblock in your story. When those things happen, you're going to need to focus on what keeps you going. I can't answer this question for you. Every writer's why is different. However, I challenge you to seriously ask yourself what your why is, write it down, and then keep it somewhere close. On those days where you just can't seem to get motivated, read over your answer, and keep writing.
Do Some Basic Housekeeping: As much as we'd like to imagine that we are, none of us are superheroes. There are only so many hours in a day, and if we plan to focus on our writing projects for the month of July we may need to plan some things in advance. This may mean different things to different people. For some, it might mean preparing meals in advance so you can pull a meal out of the freezer or fridge instead of spending precious writing or editing time cooking. For others, it might mean cleaning your house in advance and then making an effort to keep it that way. This is me all the way. I can't write in a messy environment so I try to spend at least fifteen minutes before work tidying up the house so when I come back home after a long day I can get down to business and not spend precious time cleaning.
Schedule Writing Days: Some people are really good at writing every day. I've tried, but sadly I'm not that good. Therefore, I have to plan out my month in advance. Basically, I sit at my desk with a calendar before the month starts and pencil in all of my important dates. Am I going on a trip? Do I have a movie night planned with a friend? Do I have a crazy deadline to meet for a work project? Then I look at my calendar and pencil in blocks of writing time. This could be in the morning, the evenings, or the weekend. I'm also careful to make sure I switch it up. Sometimes I pencil in writing sessions at local coffee shops. Other times, I plan writing dates with groups. The important thing is that I schedule that time in and make every effort to stick to those times.
Get Support: Do you live with a partner, your parents, or have kids? Reach out to them. Let them know your goals and your ideal writing times. Ask for them to respect this time. Also, get encouragement from the writing community. This may be from a critique partner, a writing coach, or a facebook group. Reach out to them when you hit roadblocks or feel overwhelmed.
Be Proactive: Are you a blogger? Do you send out a monthly newsletter? Spend some time this month prescheduling your blog posts and/or newsletter. This may mean extra crunch time this month, but you'll thank yourself next month when you have one less thing to worry about. Also, if you know you're going to work on writing next month, spend some time this month getting a rough outline of your novel together or developing your characters. If it's to work on editing, then maybe you can read a proof copy of your novel this month and take notes on areas you want to work on. Then, next month you can focus strictly on making those changes and getting lost in the beauty of your novel.
I hope these tips were helpful in helping you prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo next month. If you have any additional tips, tricks, or questions, please leave them down below.