#NaNoPrep Season: Panicking With Style

As of today, there’s one full week left before NaNo starts. The clock is ticking. It feels real.

I get excited this time of year, because I know I’ll be fine. After 9 wins under wildly varying conditions, I’m so confident that I work conventions in November. There’s just something about NaNo that cranks my output to 11.


If this is your first time, or if you haven’t managed to win yet, you may have a different view. We’re getting down to the wire here. The thing is about to start. No matter how much prep you’ve already done, I’ll bet you can think of ten things that you’ll never get to in time, or ten problems you anticipate colliding with NaNo. Or just one really big thing looming that you know is going to crap all over your November.

As far as I’m concerned, there are two main things you need to win at NaNo.

  1. Confidence. Do or do not. There is no try. You’re gonna write a darn novel, and you’re gonna do it in 30 darn days, darnit. (Feel free to insert harsher words as you see fit.)
  2. Time. Let’s face it–all the confidence in the world isn’t going to mean diddly or squat if you can’t get your butt into that chair and put your fingers on that keyboard for long enough to type 1667 words per day.

Sure, you need ideas, a plot, characters, blah blah blah, but if you don’t have these two critical things, the rest doesn’t matter.

Now, I can’t help you with the time issue. That’s all on you. Most folks can find the time by turning off the TV and/or Facebook for the month.

As for confidence, I challenge you to take a moment every morning, look at yourself in a mirror, and tell yourself that you will succeed according to your favorite paradigm or idiom. Use Klingon if that helps. (I suggest Heghlu’meH QaQ jajvam!, which means “Today is a good day to die”.) You put that quitter in the mirror on notice. None of their crap during November. It’s all writing and victory.

Do it twice a day if you need to. Ask a friend or loved one to point at you and call you a dirty novelist. Get a NaNo t-shirt to support the cause and wear it every day as a good luck charm (Wash it sometimes, though. Please.). Write “you’re a writer” on pieces of paper and tape them to things around your dwelling.

Time to get your head in the game.

You’re a writer, dammit. Act like one.


  1. This is a great post; I really enjoyed reading it! I share your confidence, though for me anymore, my concern going into the month is how the story will turn out. I want to have a usable first draft as badly as I want to hit 50k words.

    Good luck with your NaNo!

      1. I realized after I hit the post button that I’ve already wished you luck. It’s become sort of a signature to my blog post comments during October. Oh well, you get a double dose of luck!

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