getting ready for NaNoWriMo

National Novel-Writing Month is coming up fast, and lots of people are blogging about getting ready. You can join your local NaNo support group, brainstorm ideas, learn about productivity tools, and practise telling your friends that you're busy when what you specifically mean is that you're busy writing*. Some people have also started to talk about outlining (I'm outlining for NaNoWriMo for the first time this year — we'll see how it goes), and about strategies for getting the requisite 50,000 words done in 30 days.

All of those things are important — for the writing part. But there's more to consider.

Housecleaning: This is the last week for the next month that most NaNoWriMo participants will have to do a thorough housecleaning. If you are a writer who can't write in clutter (erm, like me), this is very important. I do not think it's a coincidence that I've been getting more done since I moved to an apartment with a dishwashing machine and ensuite washer and dryer.

Food: For my first NaNoWriMo, I lived on takeout from the local Chinese/Canadian diner. They're a wonderful diner, but I don't think they're meant to be the main source of sustenance for an entire month. Now I have a slow cooker and a collection of casserole recipes that can be made quickly. Real food made from real ingredients is important if you're going to avoid getting sick around the 30,000 word mark. I know if you're half of a couple you can always bribe/cajole/negotiate with your significant other, but the rest of us have to think of these things.

Locations: Working from your usual spot at home isn't always the best. Scout out libraries, cafés, and anywhere else you might be able to write. I just found out that my local library has comfy seating areas with easily accessible electrical outlets. That means I can keep writing there after my laptop batter runs out.

Exercise: If your day job is a desk job, NaNoWriMo can be a drag because you're basically making yourself go home and do what you do at work (even if the output is very different). Taking half an hour to do some exercise is what you should be doing anyhow, plus it lets you take a better break between computer sessions. Which brings me to:

Decide what to do about your commute: Are you going to NaNoWriMo during it or not? I have chosen not to; instead, I'm going to use it for battery recharging and read or knit. Then again, I have heard enough stories of people who have written entire novels on the subway to know that for some people, their commute is their writing time. Something to consider.

* Actually, that's a good thing to learn how to do year-round.