Preptober for Pantsers

The definitive prelude to NaNoWriMo for the Pansters out there.

Hello and Welcome to October’s Newsletter.

I cannot believe it is October already. For me this is really where the writing season starts. I take part in NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) which is in November. In order to prepare myself for that intense month of writing I like to take part on what is known as Preptober where you prep for November. This allows you to write freely throughout November because you have planned the novel in advance.

Now if you are like me you may be asking “what about those of us who do not plot?’ Well, I am one of those people. I rarely, if ever outline or plot out a novel in any sort of real detail. For a long time I would take part, plot out my novel and then abandon it all in November because it just isn’t how I write. It became a waste of time and I felt that Preptober had nothing to offer me and how I write.

However, I have since acknowledged that Preptober isn’t the same for me as it is for others but it doesn’t mean that it cannot be equally as useful for us Pantsers. I use October in a different way, prepping other things that effect my NaNoWriMo and now I am going to share them with you.

  1. Work out your writing schedule. Rule out days where you know you cannot write, include buffer days for the unexpected and then divide the word count you are wanting to write by the days you have left.
  2. Create your ideal writing space. If you want days to write outside the home go have a look at those that interest you to see if they have that writers vibe you are looking for.
  3. Create a reward system for your mini goals, i.e 1k words, 5k words etc.
  4. Meal Plan in advance. This will help ease the burden when you are in the flow and gives you quick access to writing snacks and hydration.
  5. Motivation Boosters – playlists, vision boards, favourite YouTube videos, podcasts. Whatever helps get you motivated and excited to write.
  6. Self-Care ideas. It’s important to look after yourself during such intense months. Plan some nice activities to help look after yourself whether it is a nice autumnal walk, bubblebath or simply an hour reading.
  7. Lists – I like to create lists of names, places etc things that I might need to think of on the spot. This helps streamline my time thinking and more time writing.
  8. Not sure what to work on? Brainstorm story ideas.
  9. Who inspires you and why? I like to have this handy to remind myself why I want to achieve this.
  10. Writing Tools – make sure you have everything you need for the following month. Whether that is paper, sticky notes, index cards, paper and coloured pens or access to a USB for backing your work up, renewed subscriptions on writing software, it could even be scented candles.
  11. Research. While I don’t plot I often know roughly what my story is about so I can pinpoint elements of research I may need. For example the 1800’s features in some of my story so I like to research elements I may need like house decor. This way I have notes to hand when I may need them.
  12. A one page summary on everything I think I know about my story. This isn’t an outline, it’s just to empty my head so I can be clear when going forward.
  13. This is the final step and not for everyone. I like to do a writing tarot spread for the month ahead and I also check the moon phases and planets for the month of November so I can see which weeks have more creative energy so I can factor that into my schedule.

And those are my top tips for preptober for pantsers.

If you are looking for more information on Preptober or want to add a little more detail to everything then I highly advise you check out Sarra Cannon on YouTube who has many videos and a free Preptober Workbook and also Natalia Leigh on YouTube who also releases a donation based workbook. (I have used both of these for a few years now).

You can find out more information on NaNoWriMo on the official website


I would love to know if you are planning on taking part in NaNoWriMo and if so, what your project is, or how you plan for the month.

Thanks for reading.

Emma-Louise x


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