I’ve never been a big fan of Halloween (honestly, I tolerated the antics for the candy) so for me today is NaNo Eve.
It does feel a bit spooky, hovering on the verge of creating a complete novel in 30 days, and other similarities to today’s scary festivities–hoarding candy and the arranging of writing costumes like lucky hats and fuzzy footwear (or pants–we won’t judge)–bear similarities as well.
If you’re getting ready to pound the keyboard at midnight tonight, here are some other things you can do to properly celebrate NaNo Eve:
Bid farewell to loved ones. It’s a month, people. A long month that will feel like the shortest one you’ve ever lived through. Tell the significant others, the children, the friends and the dog that you’ve enjoyed their company but you will not be any fun for the next 30 days. The good news is that by week 3, they will be eager to get away from you anyway.
Check the DVR. November is sweeps month, so all the good episodes are scheduled for your viewing pleasure. You won’t be watching them, so be sure the DVR is programmed for all your favorites, and most importantly, be sure you check the setting for the number of episodes it will save at a time. Less than 3 or 4 and you’re screwed. The upside is that most shows go on holiday hiatus in December, so you’ll have plenty of time then to catch up on “Glee” while avoiding editing your still-warm NaNo novel.
Load the freezer up with Lean Cuisines. No, they’re not haute but you won’t be picky come week 2. And you should get the “lean” versions to make up for all the snacks you’ll be ingesting in a fit of power writing. The good news is Thanksgiving falls during week 3, so you can get through the end of the month on pumpkin pie and other leftovers.
Be sure all laundry is done. Sure, you won’t care how you look or smell by mid-month, but your family will. Think of the children. And the upside is–well, there’s really nothing good about dirty laundry. Sorry.
Stake out and stock the sacred writing space. If you don’t already have a writing area at home, choose one now. Make sure everything you need can be reached simply by leaning over. If you live with others, you may need to cordon off this area in the beginning. Later on, they won’t want to come near that mess anyway.
Stop thinking about your novel. Enjoy these last few hours when you’re not living inside your characters’ heads.
Don’t write (unless you are writing a pithy blog post about preparing for NaNo). You need to rest your fingers. And your mind.
Admit right now that you can’t do it all. I’ve been stressing all weekend about how I’m going to write a novel, blog, work, work out, continue my ongoing art journal project and prepare for Thanksgiving. Last night I realized I’m not. Stuff is going to fall through the cracks. Warn your loved ones, get your conscience to come to terms with it and then get over it. All the action items will still be waiting for you on December 1.
Sharpen lots of pencils. Of course very few of us write in longhand these days but if we’ve learned anything from TV and movies, a pencil tucked behind the ear or a mug filled with perfectly sharpened No. 2s lets people know you’re a serious writer, giving you leeway for all kinds of outrageous behavior simply because you’re writing.