Even if you don’t have an idea of what you want to write, it’s time to go out to www.nanowrimo.org and sign in or sign up. That will inspire you!
Navigating the website at www.nanowrimo.org can be confusing. However, if you take the time to explore it and get to know all the many tricks to using it, you’ll be more comfortable with it.
If you haven’t been a participant for several years and are considering joining again, you’ll find the new website is radically different from the old site. Many features we used and loved in the past are no longer available, but it includes numerous features that really are nice. The following screenshots will help you find your way around the website:
First, go to www.nanowrimo.org. This is the landing page:
Once there, create a profile. You don’t have to get fancy unless you are bored and uber-creative.
Next, declare your project: Give your project a name if you have one. I don’t have a working title yet, so I’m just going with Accidental Novel 2 since it features the same characters as last year’s accidental novel. Pick the genre you intend to write in. Write a few paragraphs about your intended project if you know what you plan to write.
You can play around with your personal page a little to get used to it. I use my NaNoWriMo avatar and name as my Discord name and avatar. This is because I only use Discord for NaNoWriMo and one other large organization of writers. (Next week, we’ll talk about Discord and why NaNoWriMo HQ wants us to use it for word sprints and virtual write-ins.)
While you are creating your profile, write a short bio, and with that done, you’re good to go. If you’re feeling really creative, add a header and make a placeholder book cover—have fun and go wild.
Next, check out the community tabs. If you are in full screen, the tabs will be across the top. If you have the screen minimized, the button for the dropdown menu will be in the upper right corner and will look like the blue/green and black square to the right of this paragraph.
When the button is clicked, the menu will be on the righthand side instead of across the top.
Your regional page will look different from ours because every region has a different idea of how they present themselves, but it will be there in the Community tab. And don’t forget to check out the national forums, also on the Community tab.
You may find the information you need in one of the many forums listed here.
Now, let’s talk about eliminating heartache and attempted suicides among authors.
Losing your files is a traumatic experience. Some authors within my writing group have lost several years of work in a surprise computer crash – an unimaginable tragedy.
I use a cloud-based storage system because entire manuscripts can go missing when a thumb drive or hard drive is corrupted.
Make a master file folder that is just for your writing. I write professionally, so my files are in a master file labeled Writing.
Inside that master file are many subfiles, one for each new project or series. My subfile for this project is labeled Ivans_Story.
Give your document a label that is simple and descriptive. My NaNoWriMo manuscript will be labeled: Accidental_Novel_2.
First of all, you need to save regularly. I use a file hosting service called Dropbox. I have a lot of images on file, so I pay for an expanded version, but they do have a free version that offers you as much storage as a thumb drive. I like using a file hosting service because it can’t be lost or misplaced and is always accessible from my desktop, laptop, or Android. I work out of those files, so they are automatically saved and are where I want them when I closeout.
You can use any storage system that is free to you: Google Drive, OneDrive, or a standard portable USB flash drive.
Save regularly. Save consistently. DON’T put off saving to a backup of some sort – do it every day before you close your files.
One final thing for those who have participated in the past: NaNoWriMo HQ has announced that there will be no sanctioned in-person write-ins again this year. While this is disappointing, we care about the health of all our writers.
Still, we can come together and support each other’s writing via the miracle of the internet. My region is finalizing a schedule for “Writer Support” meet-ups via Zoom – little gab sessions that will connect us and keep us fired up.
Our region will use the Discord Channel for nightly write-ins in the general chat and word sprints in our wordwars room. The pandemic has had one positive benefit – our region has remained active for the last year, with several intrepid writers doing nightly sprints.
Check out what you region offers you for year-round support. You might be amazed what they are doing.
The #NaNoPrep series to date:
#NaNoPrep: part 1: What’s the Story? (the storyboard)
#NaNoPrep, Setting: Creating the Big Picture
#NaNoPrep, Building Characters
#NaNoPrep, More Character Building
#NaNoPrep, Designing Science, Magic, and the Paranormal
#NaNoPrep, Terrain and Geography
#NaNoPrep, Connections and Interconnections
#NaNoPrep, Construction and Deconstruction
#NaNoPrep, The Story Arc Part 1
#NaNoPrep, The Story Arc Part 2