So I know that not everyone has a lot of time to prepare for an event like JuNoWriMo, so I decided to collate my last minute preparation tips if you have less than two days until the event starts. Okay, here are my top 5 tips for last minute preparations!
1. Brainstorm a plan
So when you normally plan, you think about characters, plots, setting, and then you start putting things in order. Well, unless you can plan like a demon and get a full detailed plan out in less than a day, you’re out of luck. But a brainstorm plan pulls together all the key elements in a simple format.
As you can see there are three key areas of consideration for the ‘brainstorm plan’; characters, plot, and setting.
When considering plot, the conflict of each element is a useful thing to understand, mainly because then you know why it is pushing your story forward. If you can put three to five points in each of the plot sections, you have enough to work on until things develop throughout your first draft.
There are a few basic things you should know about your written world before you start writing, this way you can keep things consistent throughout the novel. First big decision is whether the world is ‘our’ world, where the laws are known and you already have the basics of the world down, or is it a completely fictional world where you have to create a new set of laws for the world? Once you know that, you can jot down the key laws, not just ‘murder is…’ but things like social hierarchies, magic, symbolisms; generally things that you think the reader needs to know about your world to understand your plot. Just don’t go crazy creating hundreds of laws, you may have to change the laws at a later date.
Now, there are very few books that don’t focus on characters; so understanding a few important details about your new characters can really help when trying to get into their heads. Yes, you can go and fill out all of the character sheets you can find through the internet, but the event is starting soon and have you really got time to decide what your main character’s favourite music band will be? Nope. Key things include age and gender as these generally affect how the character is presented and treated. Another consideration is what makes the character special enough to be the main character? Special abilities? Lineage? Inheritance? What it is, is up to you.
But don’t forget, they are not the only character in the story, so consider a few things about the antagonist, love interest (if there is one), side characters, and you can even consider the main character’s family.
2. Check your planner
You’re raring to start this month long challenge, but then you realise that for the first two weeks, you have THAT MUCH ON that there is no time to write. Bugger.
Alas, if you take a few minute… okay it may take more than a few minutes if you’re that busy, and decide whether the things on your schedule are:
- Not really important
So what I’m saying is pretty clear, you need to prioritise your schedule, decide the things you must do and when, then you can start planning in some much needed writing time around those. So you work set shifts, those are vital, but then you have a Yoga class for an hour after work, missing a month of Yoga won’t kill you- scrapable. Kids have doctors appointments, that’s vital; you have a nail appointment when you don’t really have any special occasion for them- scrapable. See the pattern?
3. Meal Prep
Okay, preparing a month of meals is not easy, and unless you know that you are going to be able to do it, then I wouldn’t attempt that much. But there are other ways of planning, you could decide on what meals you are going to eat each day for a week at a time, or even two weeks if you can. Then plan one or two shopping trips- viola you have turned shopping time into writing time!
The added bonus of meal prep/ meal planning, is that when you’re writing, you tend to forget food. So if you have everything handy for some fast meals, then you wont be missing much writing time trying to figure everything out.
Take Out is great too for months like this. Just not every day. Your health is important.
4. Set up your writing space
Most people write at a desk, in fact I recommend writing at some sort of desk because it creates a productive environment. But if you don’t have a desk, don’t worry. Clear a specific spot for you to write every day. Stock it well, pillows work wonderfully if you start to get uncomfortable. Make sure it is well lit, and that once you are settled, you don’t really have to move for much.
No matter what space you are using, if it is filled with clutter, then chances are you are going to have to stop writing at some point and clean it. Mainly because you’ll probably lose your notes and plan in the mess and wont know what is happening next in your novel.
Messy desk. Messy head. Fewer words.
5. Get your snacks ready!
An important part of any 50k event is the snacking. Snacks keep you going on those full writing days, can be used as rewards for hitting certain word counts, and they keep you energised so you aren’t falling asleep on your keyboard and waking up to 10,000 ‘zzzz’s’. Here are some of my favourite snacks:
- Crisps- terrible for you, messy, but vey satisfying as a meal when paired with bread and butter (which I also tend to keep a stock of throughout the month for this reason exactly, and that makes making a sandwich 5x as quick).
- Fruit- On my desk, there is generally a lunchbox filled with fruit, I like pineapple, mango, and melon, which I eat with a fork. But I also keep small tubs of a variety of berries, apples, oranges… the list goes on. Fruit gives you a natural kick because of the natural sugars. And, they counter all the junk food you will probably consume this month.
- Chocolate bars- my favourite chocolate bars are the vegan white chocolate bunnies from Holland and Baretts, yum. But chocolate is a great reward system, if you have a tub of mini bars (that you can pick up at most major stores) you can reward yourself with one every 500 words!
- Sweets/ candy- Okay, I am slightly weird but I love hard boiled candy (rhubarb and custards are my favourite) and I am constantly munching on them throughout any 50K event, but whether you like hard candy, gummy candy, powdered candy… whatever you like, stock up on them because writing can be draining (even though most people argue that you cant get tired sitting in front of a computer- naïve!).
On a separate snacking note, lets quickly consider drinks. Firstly, I am not going to suggest stocking up on energy drinks, mainly because the high consumption of these can seriously endanger your health, a lot worse than sucking on candy. The chemical involved can seriously effect your heart, and I would not recommend using them. I do suggest buying a litre bottle, filling it with water or squash and aiming for two to three refills each day. Of course there is the heightened intake of coffee, but I try and limit myself to three mugs a day, and never after 9pm. But please, try and drink a lot of water, it helps focus your brain and your productivity will soar.
So those are my top five tips for last minute prepping for a 50K event! If you are just starting your prepping for #JuNoWriMo, let me know if any of these are helpful for you!
Good luck my friends, the final countdown has begun!