Here's a little recap of some of my pointers on NaNo from years past. Enjoy.
NaNoWriMo 101 (Part 2)
Must Have Resources
Now that you’ve got the basics, here are a few must have resources to help you stick to the rules!
If you haven't already done so, visit the official website to learn the rules and sign up as a participant. Join the forums, build out your buddy list, and most importantly ask questions. You don't want to lose time searching the boards once November comes. You want to know how to update your word count and track words before hand. Remember, time is precious!
2. Do the plotting and character development exercises
There are tons of books out there that are designed to help writers plot and develop their novel. Some of them even tote the tag line, write your novel in thirty days. Here are a few that I recommend. Check them out at Amazon.com.
- No Plot No Problem by NaNoWriMo founder Chris Baty
- Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt
- First Draft in 30 Days by Karen Weisner
- Writing the Breakout Novel Book and Workbook by Donald Maass
3. Get the write (he, he) software
Most people use word by default, but it isn't always the best writing software, especially if you are trying to keep track of your daily word count. Personally I love to use Scrivener. In fact, part of the reason I went mac is because I needed a better writing program that worked with my personal writing and organizational style. The great thing about a program like Scrivener is that it allows you to create smaller separate documents within a larger project that are inter-related. So you can easily edit or move scenes, keep track of scene word count and my favorite, enter a full screen writing mode that blocks out everything else from your screen except for a basic document file. There's no ads, no links, no Internet browser lurking about to tempt you away from your writing. Consider it a typewriter for the modern age. Scrivener also allows you store your research notes and prep work in one central place. Do you have pictures of your characters or settings? You no longer have to open up another program to view them. Did you create a separate PDF outline, link to a specific movie, or reference a certain web page. You can copy and paste it into the program without opening 100 word documents.
So, that's all fine and dandy, you say. But you don't own a Mac. Right. Well. That Sucks. I've been there. In a pinch, Word will suffice. Just familiarize yourself with the daily pacing vs the word count goal. i.e. on day 6 you should be at X words, so if you are writing everything in a single document, than you can easily see total word count with the click of a button. You could also do separate docs for each scene, but you won't have a running total and you will have to compile it all together at the end anyway. I do recommend using document maps and creating headers for each chapter to easily navigate through your 200 pages! it will help make highlighting chapters or scenes easier if you are trying to get a word count.
So that’s it! Happy writing and good luck.