Preptober #1 | How To Get Started With Your NaNo Project

“Preptober” is a term that some writers who partake in November use to describe the month of October, where we’re all deciding what to write and laying out plot, characters, setting etc. In these blog posts, I want to help you along your own Preptober journey! But, before we continue on… what is NaNoWriMo, exactly? To put it simply, it’s a 30-day challenge with hundreds of thousands of other writers around the world, where you attempt to write 50,000 words – or the threshold of a novel – in a month. You can find out more on the website.

preptober 1

I would say that, at this point, I am a NaNoWriMo veteran. This year will be my 6th year attempting NaNoWriMo, which is so exciting and scary!

As of now, I have a few ideas milling about my head. One of them, that I’m actually leaning towards, is simply this: “a contemporary romance”.

Yup, that’s it.

Getting started is certainly the hardest part, and some people begin to panic that they have no ideas. Honestly? Don’t worry about it.

Those three words are the only thing I currently have to go on for the novel I’m thinking about writing this November, but if you have less than that, you still don’t have to panic.

Firstly, there are still a few weeks to go before you have to start putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) in the frenzy that is Day 1 of NaNoWriMo. That’s plenty of time to get an idea for a novel! Even if it’s the day before, you can still have a fledgling novel idea that would create a brilliant story.

uust do itSecondly, all you need is a spark. Contrary to popular belief, not everyone has a JK Rowling kind of idea that strolls into your head fully formed. Having the tiniest pip of thought is all you need to get the ball rolling onto a novel idea. The plot will unravel itself in front of you as you write.

And thirdly, don’t force it. I like to “force” myself to write short stories with prompts and things like that, but it takes a lot to sustain a novel for that many words with a very weak story idea that you got off the internet. I’m happy to sit on my “contemporary romance” idea for a week or so and just let myself daydream, and the characters, plot, and setting will hopefully manifest themselves. You never know, it might turn out that I discard that story in exchange for one that comes along instead.

TL;DR: don’t panic, don’t worry about not having an entire idea, and there’s still lots of time to go. Even if you’re reading this on the eve of NaNoWriMo, all you need is the starting line. It will carry itself from there, I promise you!

I’ve been panicking myself about NaNoWriMo a little, so if you are too, don’t worry – you’re not alone! But I’m going to force myself to calm down, and relax. After all, this is meant to be fun, and I know that I can create something from nothing even in the best of times, so I’m not wholly worried. All ideas start out as a little pip that grows with plenty of TLC – just think of your story ideas as a conker you plant in a pot and water to grow into a beautiful tree.

Until the next time,



7 thoughts on “Preptober #1 | How To Get Started With Your NaNo Project

  1. Great tips for beginner NaNoers! 🙂 I’m a NaNo veteran too! This will be my 8th NaNo! I had to go back and look because I didn’t think it was that many…haha. Right now my only idea for this year is “small town.” Just that basic idea, and I’ll let it grow from there on November 1st.

    1. I know, I had to look mine up too – I was so shocked / impressed with myself! I’m glad you like the tips 🙂 I’ve actually changed mine, I think, since I wrote this post, because I’ve recently become reobsessed with the 1940s…!

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