For Writers – How to Prep for Camp NaNoWriMo (As a Pantser)


Pantsers come in just as many shapes and styles as Plotters. Just as each Plotter might have a different method for how to prepare themselves for writing, individual Pantsers usually have their own little starting rituals or attack strategies in place, too. Just because a Pantser doesn’t plot doesn’t mean they’re necessarily going in blind, either.

I’ve collected a few tips and tricks for how Pantsers can prepare for a productive Camp NaNoWriMo session this July… no pre-writing necessary:

  • To feel fully charged and ready to tackle your Camp NaNo project, spend the rest of June reading books in the same genre or style as the one you’ll be working on. Good books raise the bar for your own writing and can inspire you to be more creative. Not-so-great books can show you pitfalls of the genre, kickstart your critical thinking, and force you to ask questions. Not only is this a fantastic excuse to get through your summer reading pile, but it counts as research.
  • Are you a squirreler of ideas? Dig through your writing notebooks (or other places you usually keep ideas stored for winter) and collect the ones you think might fit in your project. On their own, your little nuggets of inspiration probably don’t add up to a full story, but together they might become something shiny.
  • Not sure which of your many shiny projects you should tackle? Create a shoots and ladders sheet to pick a winner and then go hunt down a new backdrop for your computer that matches the mood of the story. Steep yourself in story-related music, scents, and maybe even foods to help fire up some excitement for your new project.
  • If you’re the kind of writer who has to spend a lot of time picking people/place names, do some of that in advance. Instead of searching for The Perfect Name, create a big, long list of names you like (or that fit the era/world/origin). That way, if you run into unexpected characters or locations later on, you have a collection of approved names ready to pull from FAST.
  • Prepare your writing space. Making it tidy and pleasant will make it much more appealing to visit every single day in July. If you’re a particularly skilled procrastinator, keep necessities like lip balm, a pen jar and note pad, drink coaster, a stopwatch/egg timer (for monitoring your social media breaks), or a small fan close at hand so that you’ll have no excuses to wander away during your writing time.


How do you prepare for Camp NaNoWriMo?


Camp NaNoWriMo is hosted by the lovely people who created NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). It runs during the month of April, and again in July. Find out more about Camp NaNoWriMo here, or sign up to join now!

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