The biggest thing to remember about Nano, for me at least, is that it isn't a big deal. Sure everyone is in a race and there's a lot of competition out there to be first and have the highest word count. Which is fine. I thrive under pressure and competition. I'm naturally that person that is done first on a test or when my teachers used to say that we had to sit and write a page about how our summer went. I was usually told that my page had to include the back for that very reason. But while 50k might seem like a lot of words it is completely doable as long as you have a few strategies in place.
First, when can you write? Pick a time and set it aside for writing each day. It doesn't matter if its three hours or thirty minutes. You'll be writing at that time. Get the support of whoever is around you so that they know that during that time you're off limits as much as you can be. Maybe its during your lunch hour at work or on your bus ride home. Maybe its that time in the afternoon when the kids are down for their naps. Whenever it is, try to stick with it. Then it'll become a habit for you.
Next make sure that you have everything that you need now, before Nano even starts. If you write on paper get extra notebooks, pens, pencils and whatever else you need. If you're on the computer you will still want a notebook and pen handy for ideas. They can come at any time and you want to be ready. If you're phone does all of it for you even better. You'll need healthy snacks handy so stock up now. If you haven't seen that old friend in months arrange it for today or tomorrow just in case they want to do something in November just in case it turns into something longer than an hour and you haven't written. Sound extreme? Kind of. Nano is fun and if you don't hit the 50k that's fine. Many people don't. It is important that you tried and these are just my strategies to make getting there easier.
If you can write daily that's great. Your word count to hit is only a little less than 1700. If, like me, you don't write everyday then your word count is probably closer to 2800 per day. I don't write in the evenings or on the weekends. That's my time with my family.
Bookmark write or die even if you're not getting the paid version. It will help. Or it will send you into panic mode when the crying babies and wailing cats start. So there's that too. Try it out now and see if you like it.
Is your plot done? If not do you at least have an idea formed of what you're doing and who the key players in your novel actually are? If yes then that's fantastic. You can start writing on November 1st with a good idea of where you're going. If not you may want to start that today or tomorrow so that you aren't scrambling for even a day in the start of November to get the ideas down. Its okay to change the idea, its okay to toss it out completely. That's not a big deal. The idea is to write for 30 days and get the novel down.
If you don't already have character inspiration pictures picked out you may want to get on that immediately. I'm visual so having my pinterest board with my novel ready to go on it helps me immensely. Especially when I forget what color eyes I gave that character.
Have your music ready to go. I have a few different Pandora stations ready for whatever I'm writing. I know what music I write young adult better to or what I need for this dark fantasy lesbian werewolf novel I'm writing next month. It'll save you time if you already have some music picked out and ready to go.
And remember, you want to write because of some desire or need inside of you. When November gets stressful, and it will, remember that one piece of why you wanted to do this thing in the first place. It'll help get you through the rough times.
These are my two favorite writing quotes and I have them up on my wall. I live by them and they help me. Find your inspiration and keep it handy.
Writers write everyday.
You can't edit a blank page.