It’s true. I’ve never participated in NaNoWriMo before.

But this may be a great time for me to jump head-first into the competition, because my debut historical novel, Summer Rain: Getsikahvda Anitsalagi is in the galley review stage, and unless I have something to occupy my mind while I wait to hold my baby, I could easily lose what's left of my sanity.

Being a newbie, I’ve been paying close attention to those who have graced the NaNo halls before me and have been taking lots of notes. And ya know what? I can DO this!

In order to reach my 50,100-word goal, I’ve mapped out a few things that I’ll share with you.

1.   #1    I’ve notified friends and family that I’m in this thing to actually finish it; this isn’t to get attention or to win some kind of virtual pat on the back. This is for ME. To prove to myself that I can accomplish this huge task. I need to do this. So please leave me alone so I can.

2.     #2    A spreadsheet has been printed out so my daily word count of at least 1,760 words can be kept track of; I think it will be important for me to do this not only as a way of keeping myself motivated, but also to keep myself aware of how my time is being spent.

3.    #3    After sifting through seven stories that I have been forming into novel-worthy works, I have decided on the one that will become my NaNo project.

4.    #4    In a separate spreadsheet, I have mapped out a character sheet that contains each character’s name, characteristics, flaws, physical description and which chapter each character makes his or her first appearance. I’ve also mapped out a daily writing course: each day of this competition, I plan to cover a specific detailed amount of information that I’ve neatly typed out for easy reference. The storyline is easy to understand and the outline flows well, which will be important if a brainfreeze finds its way into any given writing session!

5.   #5    During the whole process of #4, it occurred to me that there may be a few things I’m not certain about, and being the perfectionist that I am, I decided that it just isn’t possible for my mind to go forward unless what I’m writing is correct. I write historical fiction, and I want my work to reflect the fact that I genuinely care about presenting true information when it’s checked out. So with this in mind, I’ve pre-researched a few things and thanks to the concept of cut and paste, I’ve printed out a small booklet of facts pertaining to this piece of work. (I can always add it to the three-ring binder on my desk that already contains historical information!)

6.    #6    I’m no artist, but have even sort of drawn a rough guess of how I might like to see the cover to look for this novel – it just makes the writing process feel more “real” to me if I can actually see the end product in front of myself … paper-clipped to my mail basket on my home office desk.

7.    #7     Thinking about this project, visualizing myself sitting with my hands on the keyboard, a hot cup of coffee next to me – I have to continually put my head at the scene and get myself really excited for this so the option of not even trying is no option!

8.  #8    Of course, my author’s page over at NaNoWriMo.org has been set up, and I log in daily just to make sure it’s still there!

From what I’ve seen thus far, there are folks out there who are really beginning to get into the tweeting & blogging frame of mind in order to draw more attention to this competition; that’s good, because when we all have a similar goal in mind, it helps to hear how others are getting geared up for the ride!

Some ideas I’ve come up with that might stir up some food for thought:

·        *    Instead of presenting myself with a sentence … how can I switch the words around to form a question that has to be answered?

·        *    Before writing anything that is describing a person’s actions, how could I show that action to my readers without actually saying that it’s being done?

·          *    Have I prepared a surprise or a twist that will cause someone’s mouth to drop or put a grin on their faces?

I’m no expert – yet – but these are just a few of my thoughts for NaNo ... what are some ideas that  you've come up with?