Preptober// 8 Things To Do Before NaNo Starts

Oh hey there

 

 

 

This post was originally written by me for a site called Sprint Shack that I used to write for back in college, I asked if I could use this post because it had a lot of really good points and helpful tips, and Cristina said it was totally fine! So here we go!

 

It’s that time of year again, when the leaves start to fall, the crisp air bites at your cheeks and all of the coffee shops are full of the smell of pumpkin… and crazed over-caffeinated writers preparing for the impending storm. Okay, that might be a bit dramatic, but for people like me, this is the month of readying yourself for the battle against a novel that seemingly never wants to be written. Ideas for stories or novels swarm my brain on a regular basis, but as soon as NaNoWriMo is in arm’s-reach, it’s like they go into hiding.

There are millions of things we suddenly remember while NaNoWriMo is in progress that we wish we would have thought about before–or, at least, that’s the case for me. So I took it upon myself last year to keep a little ongoing list of all the things that I should have done before NaNoWriMo started. Here are some things you can think about or start working on now to have a more productive November.

Find Character Inspiration and Names: 
We all know the struggle of character naming in the heat of the moment. Even if you are a “pantser” at heart, you know the time that building a character can take away from your word count. So why not do some minimal planning and figure out your characters before you have to stress about them?

Create/ Brainstorm your Cover Art:
If you are anything like me, you know the pain of going onto the NaNoWriMo forums and seeing all the beautiful cover art all ready in the signatures of all the eager and prepared Wrimos. You try to ignore them, but in the back of your mind, every sentence you write is backed up with an unbearable longing for your own cover. For me, it was my greatest downfall and distraction in the first week of last year’s festivities, and I will definitely be working on mine before November this year.

Research your Genre and Take Note of Any Applicable Conventions:
This is a great thing to do, especially if it is your first time writing within this genre. Knowing the conventions or other common features of your genre will really help you get in the groove, and it’s one less thing you will need to research when you get started.

Do the Math, Plan Your Numbers for the Month:
If you are a student or work full-time, you will need to work around your life’s schedule to win NaNoWriMo. The lovely word count tool on the website will try to tell you that you need to write roughly 1600 words a day, but for some people that’s simply not doable. So go through your schedule, find the best writing days, and try to amp up your word count on those days. This is also good if you suffer from chronic stress and need to give yourself a little break once or twice a week from novel land. If you need a few days off, just calculate that into your weekly numbers and make sure that you can make up for them on another day. The biggest part of NaNoWriMo is keeping a steady pace and making sure you take care of yourself and life outside your novel, as well.

Book Some Days Off for Catch Up or Damage Control:
This one kind of ties in with the last tip. Slipping and falling behind is pretty easy to do–life happens and you can’t expect the world to stop for NaNoWriMo (not yet at least). If you can afford to do so, I highly recommend keeping at least one day near the middle and end of the month dedicated to catching up. I personally keep a few days closer to the beginning of the month to get ahead so that I can focus on all my duties as a Municipal Liaison, and that works best for me.

Figure Out Your Goals and Rewards:
I’m a big believer in setting goals and planning rewards for when goals are achieved. If you are someone who finds themselves unmotivated often, then you should definitely set multiple short-term goals and rewards, such as for every 10,000 words written. But if you just need that one big push to get to the end, give yourself one big end goal and work towards that. Every year my reward is a winner shirt for the year and a big celebratory dinner with all the friends that had to put up with crazy-NaNoWriMo-me.

Prepare Your Inner Editor:
I want to talk more about this in a later post, but for now, I am going to explain what you can do to get ready for your novel frenzy month. Any seasoned Wrimo knows that the biggest word count killer is your inner editor. That little voice in your head that moves your fingers to that backspace button, makes you read back 8 pages, or convinces you to delete whole chapters. You need to start training yourself to fight against that little voice. I have some tips and tricks to help you beat it once and for all, but right now, you can start by practicing the ever so simple mantra “write now, edit later.” It will seriously change the way you write anything and everything. There are settings for you to turn off your word-processors editing tools if that helps you at all, but just start practicing, I promise it will make a huge difference.

Clear Your Workspace and Computer of Distractions:
Nothing is better than a well-organized workspace. All your references in order, the perfect little spot for your coffee… it all helps everything flow better when things are in place. I always make sure to clean up my computer while I’m in the cleaning mood. I hide all the distracting files or games in a folder and flood my desktop with motivational quotes and inspirational images or references. It’s really helped me out when I am looking around for something to distract myself.

How do you prepare for NaNoWriMo? Will you be trying any of these tips this October? Let us know!

mazie bones

The Cozy Bones BUJO Guide

Oh hey there

Yesterday I posted a little photo of my bullet journal (BUJO) on instagram and asked if any of you wanted to know more about it! I got all kinds of comments, DMs and facebook messages asking and expressing interest so I thought it would be cool to put together a little post of everything that I’ve learned about bullet journaling along this little journey! In this post I’m going to include links to videos, sites, pictures and just some of my favourite bullet journalers in the community. This being said, you definitely don’t HAVE to be a part of the BUJO community, I know a lot of people that are solidary about it and don’t want to keep up with trends or the latest spread ideas, and that’s completely fine! Bullet journaling is all about making your system work for you, and only you. I’ll be showing you both the traditional way of bullet journaling, as well as my own personal system.

History:

The original BUJO system was created by Ryder Carroll to replace the average agenda. It combines rapid logging, an index, a key system or colour coding, migrating tasks and just random catch-all notes to create a seamless flow of productivity. If you want to learn the specifics of the traditional bullet journal go to this site and take a gander!

Customize it:

One of the deciding factors for me when I was researching the BUJO system was the overall freedom I had when it came to the way I use it. If you go into any of the bujo facebook groups you will see that everyone uses theirs differently and that the possibilities are endless. Some people decorate them, and kind of use them as an art journal. Some people use them as a simple minimalistic place to keep to do lists and tasks. Some people even have multiple bullet journals for different projects! It all depends on what you want and need from your planner, which is why I, a former binder planner/pretty planner dove head first into the world of BUJO. Which leads us to my personal journey with the bullet journaling system.

My BUJO:

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I knew getting into this that my type A personality was going to make it kind of challenging, but over the past four months since I started my bullet journal, I actually think it has helped me drop the perfectionism that kind of loomed over me all the time. I started with one of those cheap little dot-grid notebooks from Michaels, (sorry I can’t find a link) and kind of just jumped in mid-April. That alone is super out of character for me, as I’d usually wait to start a full month, plan everything ahead of time and make it all perfect. I’m super glad that I didn’t do that though. I got a good taste of what worked, and didn’t work for me, and it got a lot of thoughts and ideas out of my mind. From the beginning I kind of dubbed this BUJO my “Trial BUJO”, allowing myself to mess up, ruin pages, make mistakes. But after I began embracing that I kind of found my true style, thus finding my perfect system.

I think that my system is a little more on the simple side of things, I’ve taken out a lot of the traditional system that I just don’t need. For example, the standard month would look something like this.

  • Month title page
  • Monthly calendar
  • Month at a glance events/important dates
  • Monthly Trackers
  • Monthly Goals
  • Weekly Spreads
  • Daily To-Do Lists

(which seemed just a bit too extravagant for me)

My personal month looks a little something like this:

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  • Monthly Calendar/ important days/ goals on one page
  • Weekly Spreads
  • Notes whenever I feel like it

Keep in mind that a lot of my trackers are randomly placed throughout the journal, marked off with washi so I can find them easier, and that I also have a future log for events and important dates that I can refer too. It just works better for me this way.

Decorating:

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From the get go I knew I needed it to be decorated; given my past in pretty planning and my current addiction to washi tape and post it notes! (COMMENT IF YOU WANT ME TO DO A POST ABOUT THAT COLLECTION! ITS INTENSE AND IMMENSE!) As you can see in the photos above my front and back cover are pretty covered with stickers! The front cover has a beautiful galaxy R2D2 sticker that I found at Toronto Comic Con (I’m going to see if I can find more at Fan expo for my new BUJO) some Sailor Moon littles, a Snot Girl sticker from Bryan Lee O’Malley (my best friend got it for me when he met him in a hotel) and then the back cover has two stickers, one by Hunymilk and one by New Flesh, both local Niagara artists, both amazing and inspiring.

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When it comes to decorating the inside of my bujo, I really have no rules for this one, its full of washi, stickers, markers, swatches, everything, I think I might even have a pokemon card in there! I do plan on having a more aesthetic theme for my next bujo, because I really want to share more photos of it with all of you but I’m definitely not holding myself to that.

If you would like me to make an extensive list of pens and supplies I use please let me know. I know some friends have expressed that they want to know what pens and highlighters I use, so I definitely wouldn’t mind posting that.

Some Awesome People to Follow:

AmandaRachLee

BohoBerry

Cheyenne Barton

Ann Lee

Caitlin’s Corner

PalestBlue

 

If you want or need to know anything else, please feel free to post your questions in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them for you, but keep in mind that I am definitely not an expert at all!

Thank you so much for reading this, I hope it inspires you!
mazie bones

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