participating the last three years is that NaNoWriMo is a glorious, agonizing, fun, terrifying, stimulating level of Hell. Completing 50,000 words in 30 days in no small feat. We all write differently, but i hope some of the advice below may be helpful for the novice Nano'er. So offer Charon your coin for passage and hope you make it to December unscathed.
- Register on NaNoWriMo.org Say hi on the forums, you'd be surprised how much activity there is year round. It will start to get very busy next month. Leave a post for writing buddies. A little friendly competition/encouragement will help you make it through your thirty days.
- If you like to outline - start now. Decide on your genre, setting, characters, plot, sub-plots, theme, ect. You may throw half of it out once you start, but having a rich starting point will lessen the shock if you've never written 1667+ words a day. If you write without outlining then damn you, I'm jealous!
- Use your outline to get into a routine. Try to write 250 (or 500 or 750) words a day for now as you jot down ideas. The hardest part is learning to make time for your writing and forcing it to become a part of your day.
- Learn to write without editing. This one is hard. The trick to NaNoWriMo is to keep writing, don't stop, don't edit, don't correct, don't reword...just write. You can edit when in December.
- Remember what Hemingway said "The first draft of anything is shit" and I guarantee your story will be. At the end of November you will have an dirty, back woods, banjo playing, red headed step child of a story that someday....just someday, might grow up and have a top 20 video on CMT, but I doubt it.
- Start buying your supplies. What do you need for your writing, we all have our vices.
- Coffee, soda, tea, water...whiskey?
- Peanut M&M's, pretzels, carrot sticks, whatever will keep your ass in the chair for 1667 words/day.
- Journal - the one I keep by my bed. I can't tell you how many times I woke up during the night with the world's greatest story idea only to forget it when I rose that morning. I finally bought this journal for the nightstand. A spiral notebook would work just as well.
- Favorite pens or pencils? If you have special kind you love buy a few extra for November.
- What are you going to use for your word processor?
- Word - probably the most widely used.
- Scrivener - my personal favorite. Allows me to brainstorm, outline, and write all in one work space. If you decide you like it, grab the coupon code here while you can still get Scrivener for 20% off.
- yWriter - Free software is always good.
- There are many other good choices. The point is pick your favorite and become familiar with it.
- Dress up your desktop with some inspirational wallpaper. I always use a few different NaNoWriMo wallpapers throughout the month depending on my mood. Here is the first NaNoWriMo Wallpaper for 2014. I will add more as I find them.
- Decide on your writing space. Do you write at the desktop in your office, laptop on the couch or favorite chair, or do you like the stimulation of your neighborhood Starbucks. If you can set aside the same time every day to write, let friends and family know not to bother you until you're done.
The most important tip is have fun, enjoy the experience. Realize that if you finish you a part of a small group of people that have ever sat down and written 50,000+ words. It is an accomplishment to be proud of.