Nanowrimo is upon us again, and this is the perfect time for you to start drafting your novel! But at the same time, Nanowrimo is a lot of pressure and filled with expectations you can’t necessarily meet. Since preptober is almost over, this isn’t just a ‘how to outline’ post but it does include how you can get some last-minute outlining done. So if you want to do NaNoWriMo but haven’t gotten your outline ready, don’t worry, you can still do it.
Subscribe so you don’t miss the next post (which will hopefully be next week) and let’s get started!!
1. Character profile
Whatever genre you write, character profiles are a great way to get started. You can just find one online or make one yourself. I have a character profile you can download by clicking here if you want to. But be sure to only fill in the things you need to. A lot of character profiles online are going to have a lot of information that may not necessarily be relevant. If you’re writing a story set in a fantasy world, your character's favorite songs and movies are definitely not anything you need to figure out.
Knowing these things may help you create playlists and do all of that, but the only things you really need to know about your character are what is relevant to your story.
Some important things to figure out are your character's goals, fears, negative traits, relationships with people around them, and prejudices.
2. Brain dump
Brain dumps are honestly so helpful and amazing. Outlines aren’t always super clear and concise and a brain dump is probably the first step to get an outline. Just open a doc and write every single idea you have. There really isn’t a lot to say about it but that makes a brain dump. Eventually, you’ll be able to collect your thoughts and put them into better words but just do a brain dump.
3. Bullet point outline/chapter by chapter outline
There are so many ways to outline out there including the three-act story structure and a ton of other structures. I do have a post related to the three-act story structure which you can check out by clicking here. But these outlines are often a lot and tiring for people.
Bullet point outlines and chapter by chapter outlines don’t have to be as detailed or long. You can literally just have one page of bullet points listing out the details of your story or have a list of things that happen in every chapter. Do what works, but these are some pretty great ways to outline fast.
The traditional NaNoWriMo goal is 50k words but you don’t have to do this. Yes, it is fantastic to aim high and do the 50k but sometimes it just isn’t realistic for a lot of us with the fun schedules.
Even if 50k is the goal you want to reach, have smaller, more achievable ones too. Like 15k, 20k, etc. This way you don’t lose NaNoWriMo if you don’t complete the 50k because writing any amount is pretty cool.
Nanowrimo functions on quantity over quality, but that may not work for you. If fast drafts are how you get your story down and you prefer to edit later, great! Nanowrimo is perfect for you! But if you want to write a pretty cool story, keep a lower word count goal too.
At the end of the month writing, 50k is so cool and so is writing quality 10k which you are proud of.
5. Scheduling time
To succeed in your NaNoWriMo wc goal, you will have to schedule your writing time. This could just be an hour or a little more than that every day. Make a schedule for your writing time around school, work, or whatever else you do.
Nanowrimo already gives you a number of words you need to write every day to get where you need to, but you may need a day every week off. So figure out how much time you can give every day and do it. If you can just do a half-hour every morning, schedule an hour in the night too when you’re done with all your other work.
6. Eliminating distractions
It’s always so easy to get distracted from writing and what you’re supposed to be doing, especially if there’s a deadline over your head. So, when you sit down to write, clear your space and your mind and maybe even write down what you need to do in the session before, so you can best utilize your time. If you can write better while watching a tv show or listening to music, do that but if silence works better use it.
7. Don’t be too hard on yourself
At the end of the day, hitting your 50k goal isn’t as important as you think it is. Go easy on yourself and if you don’t reach the goal, it is absolutely okay. Value any progress you made over the month and even if you could write only a few hundred goals try harder the next month and take care of yourself.
That is it for today’s post! I put out a post last year around the same time on writing a draft really fast for NaNoWriMo which could be very helpful to you know! So check that post out too and subscribe if you want to stick around for more posts and emails from me!