Okay, so you've you've asked yourself the all-important question: should you do NaNoWriMo this year? And you answer with a resounding (or maybe a weak) yes! Now it's time for the next step: find yourself a writing partner or buddy and start training for NaNoWriMo.
You've gotten yourself pumped right?
And possibly a little scared. After all, your schedule's a mess, you don't know if you'll even have time to write. Maybe you haven't written since last year sometime. How are you going to get back into the practice? That's where your NaNoWriMo buddy is going to really help.
Who else do you know is doing NaNoWriMo?
A good place to start looking for a writing partner for your NaNoWriMo prep is amongst your friends or family members. Do you know anyone planning on participating this year? If so, offer to help them get prepared and to be their accountability partner in exchange for the same.
If you're not sure, try making a simple post on social media somewhere, either on your personal Facebook profile or in a writing group. You might be surprised at how many people are choosing to participate this year.
Check your favorite writers groups on Facebook.
I guarantee you there are writers in every group out there planning on doing NaNoWriMo. Go on a hunt in a few of them and find some people to partner up with. If you want, you can even create your own Facebook group specifically for NaNoWriMo to invite all your new (or old) friends to.
And, if you don't already belong to any NaNoWriMo groups on Facebook, here are a couple good ones:
- NaNoWriMo: The official group for NaNoWriMo. Managed by NaNoWriMo staff, this group is perfect for finding friends, accountability buddies, asking advice, and learning more about NaNoWriMo.
- NaNoLand: Technically, this was the first group on Facebook dedicated to NaNoWriMo participants, but it was set up before the NaNoWriMo staff created their group, and is not managed by staff at NaNoWriMo. Still, it's a good group with good people who want to help you any way they can.
How does an accountability partner work?
An accountability partner is just what you think it is: someone who will help you stick with your goals by holding you accountable even if all you want to do is make excuses or quit. And in exchange, you help hold them accountable.
You do this by helping each other through your goal setting and planning stages, being sure to establish goals that will push you to try without overwhelming you. And don't forget to set up regular meetings together so you discuss your progress and make any adjustments you might need.
How you do this is complete up to you and your partner or partners. You can do weekly phone meetings, daily meetings over Facebook messenger, short text messages: anything you like and can commit to that will help your partner.
And yes, you can have more than one accountability partner! You can even put together an accountability group. Just remember that the primary purpose is to push each other to succeed and not just hanging out to have fun.
Why do you need to start training for NaNoWriMo?
Don't you just have to sit down and start writing? Why train at all?
To win at NaNoWriMo requires writing almost every day of the month.
You may be able to get away with skipping a day here or there, or you may have to forego writing to make room for other things like research. But the more days you miss, the more pressure you place on yourself.
Writing, like anything else, is an exercise. And you only get better at it if you do it.
Now, if you already write every day, then congratulations -- you're already training. But if you aren't already used to writing every single day, now is the time to start getting yourself into that routine, otherwise you may have trouble finding time to write.
Pick a time where you can dedicate at least 20 to 30 minutes of time at the same time every day. Then do it. You might have to make adjustments -- I know this because my toddler follows her own clock and pays no attention to my writing times.
If you can, use these 20-30 minutes to do short sprints: three or four 5-minute sprints or two 10-minute sprints.
If you can do this every day for at least 10 (ten!!) days before NaNoWriMo starts, it will be much easier to kick your writing habits into gear.
What should you write during these sprints? Anything you want. Work on a short story, write a series of poems, or just work on an old idea you once had for a book. The point behind these exercises is to help stretch out those writing muscles and get your creative juices flowing.
Follow along as we all prepare together!