#1 Make sure your writing space is all set
Nobody’s saying you need to have a writing desk or anything remotely as obscene as that (although I do have a hunch a lot more of us will have some version of a personal office space this year, than before). Even if you’re just writing from your favourite spot on the oldest and creakiest couch in the flat, check that you have access to an unobstructed wall outlet, enough space to safely put down the inevitable coffee cup once you start writing, and, if applicable, a functional pen for jotting down those fleeting ideas—the ones you get mid-chapter three, when your brain starts working out the very ending, because.
#2 Brainstorm a working title for your novel
When I write short stories, I mostly give them a title at the very end, but with novels, it’s not so simple. The important thing to remember is that it needs to be fun for you, and that you can always change it later, even quite late into the revision process. You don’t have to share it—although I most definitely encourage you to, through your NaNo profile—but do make the future novel tangible by giving it a name.
#3 Write your novel’s blurb/pitch
This is actually one of my favourite writing tips of all time. I have a hunch I’ve said it before, but I’ll most definitely say it again, and not for the last time—by writing an awesome blurb for your future novel, you’re basically selling it to yourself. The opportunity to share it with the world through your NaNo profile is even better—mostly because you can tweak it any time! Make it personal. Make it powerful. Make it sexy.
#4 Research main character names
Oh, are you writing a specific time in history, too? Why the hell do we keep doing this to ourselves?? (This might be a good time to make sure you have no major characters sharing their first initial and/or names which sound too similar, but nobody’s perfect.)
#5 Update your NaNo profile
And try not to curse the inevitable homepage overhaul this year, alright? (I’ve stopped trying to track my past novels precisely years ago, and make sure to take a few screenshots of the progress graph during the month for future stats purposes). I know it sound weird, but… cute copy and even cuter pictures have done wonders for me in the past, motivation-wise.
But, most of all, what worked best for me personally, even though it takes a little more time, was getting excited about the novel I’m about to write—the same way I’m getting excited about JG2 just by writing this right now!—and finding a writing buddy or 60. (Not kidding.) If you’re dying to write that exact story—and you’ve got company to see you through said process—you just might live to see Dec 1st!