NaNo Prep Checklist

So, you’re doing NaNo this year, and you’re about to start getting ready for it? You’ve got your writing supplies and your plotting shenanigans and your character details and your unstoppable, headbutting courage.

What else will you need to get through this November in one piece?

#1 Did you sleep?

If you didn’t, it might get tough. Ditto for November – very, very important. If you feel like sleeping’s optional, well, writing will become optional, too, especially later in the month. Rest when you need to!

#2 Do you have enough frozen meals in the freezer?

If you don’t you’ve got enough time to stack them, right until you’ve used that last cubic inch. Frozen meals, apart from being hell on the environment, do two things incredibly well: filling up a writer’s tummy and keeping the sink empty. Those two things will be important in november.

#3 Do you have snacks?

Snacks don’t have to be complex, nor sweet, nor salty, but you’ll be grateful for them when even taking said frozen meals out and shoving them into the oven will seem like too much time, and too much work. Be careful not to mess your keyboard too much and keep your diet plans for December.

#4 Did you enlist your friends?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in the past eight years doing (or trying to do) NaNo, it’s that it’s not what you do, but who you do it with. The forums can be okay, the Facebook groups too, but it’s those in-person contacts with fellow writers that will help get you through the whole shebang. There’s this thing you might’ve heard of, called the write-in, which can literally save your novel. One of the (many) reasons I’ve kept at NaNo this long is that, well, there might be things which compare to meeting fellow writers, but they are very few and very far between. Go out and get those writing companions. Human ones. (Snacks, above, might help you with that.)

#5 Did you tell your family to take it easy on you in November?

If you’re a first timer, it might seem excessive, but deadlines are sucky and NaNoWriMo is, basically, one big, hairy writing deadline. Apart from non live-in family time, you might have to take it easy on your TV, reading and other hobbies time, too. (If you think I’m joking, go see this.) Since NaNo is so huge and so googlable, you probably won’t have trouble explaining to your people what you’re doing, but it pays off to do the explaining in advance.

(Please note that I’ve already made the assumption you’ve talked it through with your s.o., if you’ve got them, and they’re not participating in NaNo. If you haven’t, stop reading this. very. instance. and go do your homework first!)

#6 Did you buy enough pet food?

Umm… let me get back to you on that.

#7 Is your coffee and tea collection big enough?

There’s a running joke in the NaNo community that caffeine is obligatory (you might’ve run into the term overcaffeination before), but even if you’re a tea person yourself, you’d do good to build your beverage collection before November starts. You’ll probably have time to run to the store if you run out of it, but not if it’s already nearing midnight and you’ve been writing for the past few hours and your eyelids are dropping and you need to write that last three hundred words… wait… what did we say #1 was?

And, most importantly…

#8 Are you ready to rock?

Well, then you’re good to go!