There’s only six more days before November 1st and the start of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I’m beyond excited at this point. November is my favorite month of the year because of all the fun I have during the yearly writing challenge.
So I may have a slightly skewed perspective on this since I’m a Municipal Liaison (ML) for my local National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) region, but is there such a thing as it being too early to prep for the upcoming NaNoWriMo challenge?
Let me give you a little perspective. NaNoWriMo HQ usually starts the NaNo prep emails to participants (WriMos) sometimes in mid-September. NaNo HQ themselves start prepping for November 2018 before November 2017 is actually over. It’s fairly common for MLs to start prepping for November in June or July. My two coMLs and I started prepping for November 2018 in December of 2017 and finalized our major dates in May 2018.
Just as a writer, I have a bit of a local reputation for not planning. It’s completely unsurprising to my WriMos now when I tell them on October 27th that I don’t know yet what I’m writing for that November. The actual story idea may not solidify until October 31, or even November 1. But the scheduling, the funds saving, and the gearing up are definitely happening far in advance. Before I was an ML, I still liked to host write-ins and I loved to attend write-ins, so I saved money all year so I’d have the funds to eat a snack or meal at each and every write-in I attended in November.
For anyone who’s been on my blog across a November, April, or July, you’ve probably heard me talk about National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) before. This paragraph will be to catch up anyone new to the concept. NaNoWriMo is a writing challenge that occurs every November. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world challenge themselves to write a 50,000-word novel from scratch in the 30 days of November. Whether someone makes it to that word count or not, it’s a month full of crazy inspiration, challenge, and an amazing community. Camp NaNoWriMo is a similar challenge held in April and July where participants can select their own goal (words, pages, lines, hours, or minutes are options this year). This gives participants the versatility to say they want to do 500 lines of poetry, a 100-page script, or a 120-minute screenplay.
There are a lot of things in my life that I’m in prep-mode for right now. Halloween is approaching, and if I want to make my own costume I need to get to work sooner than later. NaNoWriMo season starts in October for me, so I definitely need to finish prepping for that since it’s only nine days away. Thanksgiving happens in the middle of NaNoWriMo so I need to have a plan for that well before November 1, and I’m making a lot of my Christmas gifts this year, so it’s time to get cracking.
Last week I talked about some of the NaNoPrep I’m doing as an ML for my region. (If the terminology is confusing, checkout the last post for a brief vocab guide.) This week, I’d like to talk a little about how I’m preparing (or not) for NaNoWriMo as a participant myself.
So I’m a pantser. This is a commonly used term for an author who “flies by the seat of their pants” while writing, and is the opposite of a planner, who has a plot outline and a lot of other planning and prep done prior to writing the first word of the story. These aren’t the only options, obviously, just the common extremes (who playfully battle for supremacy in NaNoLand).
It may not be officially October yet, but I’ve already been in prep-mode for NaNoWriMo for over two weeks. And that doesn’t count the prep I’ve been doing on and off since December. This may have something to do with being an ML.
An ML, for those who haven’t been infected by the NaNoWriMo virus yet, is a Municipal Liaison, also known as an unpaid but very appreciated local volunteer. Basically, we’re in charge of keeping our regional forums moderated, hosting one write-in a week, and generally being available to WriMos in our region for explanations, cheerleading, and other help.
I’m throwing around a lot of NaNo specific jargon in this one, so let me take a minute to explain my terms for those outside the community.
I am an unrepentant pantser!
There. I’ve said it.
And with that knowledge, it should be no surprise that only now, eight days before November, am I worrying about prepping for NaNoWriMo.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been preparing for November almost all year. I’m stepping into the ML role to help wrangle the event for my entire region, so I wanted to be very prepared. I have a nifty new donation box (it’s pretty, check it out), stickers to award as prizes throughout the month that can be ‘redeemed’ for raffle tickets at the TGIO party, prompts and challenges bagged and ready to share, and a host of other things to offer my regions WriMos. As far as all that goes, I am more than ready.
Yet I have no plot.
And according to NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty, that is No Problem.