Today is September 12, 2016. Today is the day you start preparing for Novel in November. Today is the day you start on your journey to completing a first draft, maybe your first complete draft ever.

Sounds dramatic, right? And scary. If you are like me, something like this sounds good until it’s time to start. Then, something like this is seems scary and overwhelming.

Don’t worry. At the moment, I just want you to think about how you are physically going to accomplish writing almost 2000 words a day for a whole month. There’s a reason we don’t churn out a rough draft every month. It takes time, effort, concentration. It takes dedication. It isn’t something most of us can do during our regular lives. So how are you going to do it? How are you going to make sure you have the time, energy, and space you need to pound out the rough draft that is currently just an idea in your head?

Here are some tips from Mez and me. If any of you have any ideas, ones you have used in the past or are planning on using, post them in the comments to share with everyone else!


  • Prepare your writing spot. If you don’t have one, look for one! I plan on cleaning up my desk. Or…er…finding the surface of my desk. It has been unseen for a long time.
    • Somewhere in your house where you can close the door and concentrate. If you can’t concentrate in your own home, is there a friend or family member who has a room you can use?
    • A café or library where you can sit for a couple hours without being disturbed.
    • Have all your tools ready and waiting! Notecards, pens, blank calendars, journals, whatever you need. Don’t wait until November to get them!
    • Don’t forget the music! If silence is your thing, make sure you can’t hear your family running around or your neighbor’s dog barking over and over. If you like ambient noises or certain songs, go ahead and make your playlist.


  • Time. How are you going to make the time? I’d say at least 2-3 hours everyday. For this month, take drastic action. That’s a lot of time! Fortunately for me, my job won’t be taking up too much time by November.
    • Is there anything you can give up for the next 7 weeks to save up some money? You can pay a babysitter (or your own kids to behave!), eat delivery, pay someone to clean the house. Whatever it is that eats up your day, if you can afford to pay someone to do for you, go for it!
    • Can you take off a couple days from work? Or leave early? Work overtime now to make the time up?
    • What do you normally do that you can cut out? It’s only four weeks. What time consuming thing do you do not what you can do without for four weeks?
    • Meal prepping! If you can, make ahead some meals and freeze them. Or just make a plan with quick meals
    • Rehearse polite ‘no’s’ to people’s requests & invitations – it’s easy to let your writing take last place behind all the little spontaneous things that pop up. Think of a succinct way to explain what you’re doing when others want to know why you’re busy. (it could be straight forward – I’m taking part in an intensive, 1-month novel writing challenge, so I need to hunker down & focus. Let’s raincheck for December! Or, if you’d rather keep the writing thing under wraps, I’ve taken on a time-sensitive project this month, but I’d be happy to see you once it’s done!)

What else can you think of? How are you going to make sure you have the time and space you need to accomplish this goal? Think creatively and dramatically. Take steps now to make sure you have time then. It will be here before you know it, don’t let it catch you by surprise! We’ll keep counting down with you and planning with you. Are you getting excited to start? I am!