Carbo-loading for National Novel Writing Month
By Rochelle Melander
In five days writers across the world will begin their 50,000-word write-a-thon, hoping to finish before midnight on November 30. If we were marathon runners, we would spend the next five days resting and carbo-loading in order to preserve the glycogen stored in their muscles. Runners need this fuel on race day. When a runner hits the wall, it’s because their muscles have run out of glycogen. They need to fuel themselves with carbsin order to finish.
But what about writers? How can we maximize the next five days so that we are ready for NaNoWriMo? Start by designating one of the next five days as a planning and preparation day for NaNoWriMo. If you cannot take a whole day off, use a few afternoons or mornings to complete the five tasks below. The following five actions will help you start strong, maintain a steady pace, and finish well!
1.Plan Your Book. Relax—there’s no heavy outlining involved in this step. Still, it helps to have some idea of what you are writing about before you begin the write-a-thon. Get a notebook or open a fresh document on your computer. This will be your story bible. Take a few hours to sketch out characters, setting, and plot points for your book. If you have time, imagine the first five to ten scenes. If you have already done this, review what you have and add anything you think might be missing. You might also use the time to bookmark some of the online sites you will visit regularly during NaNo.
2.Create a Writing Space. Now that you know what you are going to write, it helps to know where you will write. You do not need to have a fancy office to create a great novel. Barabara Kingsolver wrote her first book at night in a closet while pregnant with her first child. Claim a small corner of your house as your study—you can use a favorite chair, a small table, or even a counter in your kitchen. Gather your NaNo supplies—your story bible, computer, and any books you think you will need. Sometimes it can be helpful to post a sign to remind family members (and yourself) that this is your sacred writing space!
3.Cancel stuff. Before you schedule time to write, take a long, thoughtful look at your calendar and decide what you can let go of for the month. You probably won’t be able to get out of Thanksgiving dinner, but maybe you can skip book group or the monthly neighborhood block watch meeting. Send those regret emails now and cross the items off your calendar.
4.Schedule Writing Time. We tend to do the activities that we put on the calendar. If we want to succeed at National Novel Writing Month, we need to schedule enough writing time to get the book done. Check your calendar and count the days you will not be able to write because of previous engagements. Subtract that number from 30 and figure out how much you will need to write each day to be able to finish on time. I recommend that most people plan to take off about four days during the month, even if they do not have anything scheduled. Emergencies happen. By planning (and writing) ahead, you will have a better chance of finishing on time. When you schedule time in your calendar to write, be as specific as possible. For example, “Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 5:00-7:00 AM Write at home.”
5. Plan food and snacks. It’s hard to write on an empty stomach! When I had my first child, we spent the month before his birth cooking and freezing food so that we would not have to cook while we figured out how to parent. Plan some quick and easy meals now before NaNo starts. At the very least, stockpile your favorite NaNo snacks in a secret place so that your friends and family don’t eat them.
There you have it writers, your quick and easy carbo-loading guide to write-a-thon success! Now it’s your turn. What do you do to prepare for NaNo?
Rochelle Melander is a certified professional coach and the author of 10 books, including a new book to help fiction and nonfiction writers write fast: Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (And Live to Tell About It) (October 2011). Melander teaches professionals how to get published, establish credibility, and navigate the new world of social media. In 2006, Rochelle founded Dream Keepers Writing Group, a program that teaches writing toat-risk tweens and teens. Visit her online atwww.writenowcoach.com.
Write Now Coach
Chief Executive Officer
Rochelle Melander is the CEO of Write Now! Coach, a writing, editing, and coaching practice that she founded in 2001. Her 10th book, Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell About It) will be released in October 2011.
As the Write Now! Coach, Melander coaches professionals, executives, writers, business owners, and aspiring authors. Write Now! Coach Rochelle Melander values the power of writing to change the lives of writers and readers. She teaches aspiring authors how to make time to write, shape their ideas into a book or product, sell their work, and navigate social media.
Write Now! Coach evolved from Ms. Melander’s related careers as an author, feature writer, copywriter, editor and coach. Rochelle writes a popular Ezine, Write Now! Weekly Writing Tips, blogs regularly, and hosts the Write Now! Mastermind Class.
In 2006, Rochelle founded Dream Keepers Creative Writing Workshop, a program that teaches at-risk teens how to use writing to express dreams, set goals, and connect with readers.
Rochelle Melander earned two Masters degrees and is a certified graduate of Coach-U. She is a graduate of the National Writing Project Summer Writing Institute and in 2006 was awarded a writing fellowship by the Louisville Institute, part of the Lilly
Foundation. Melander is a member of the International Coach Federation and the American Society for Journalists and Authors.
She lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin with her husband, the writer Harold Eppley, and their two children.
GIVEAWAY: USA/CAN a signed, print copy is available for one lucky winner. Leave your name and email with a comment, thank you for stopping by! Giveaway will end November 3rd.