NanoPrep /// Part 4 /// Are you Ready? (it's okay - I'm not either)

6:00 AM

So I was sitting there, chilling, feeling all chill and cool for the upcoming month of craze. And I realized my plotline was kind of foggy in my mind so I pulled up my folder and realized ... I hadn't written one yet.


So yeah. As you might imagine, I was mildly concerned after this discovery. Nano is in just three days, after all. And ... I don't even have a plotline??

So not ready.

But, even though I made this startling discovery just yesterday, and when I started to grind out a plotline and realized there was a bunch of stuff I still didn't know, I still feel peace with the rapid approach of November 1.

You know why?

I will never be completely ready.

There are so many aspects to a story, because a story reflects life. Just think about your life for a second. There are hundreds of things, thousands of things, that have happened to you to shape you into the person you are today. There are tons of things that you believe, hundreds of people that you know, bunches of things that you've done and seen. It would take years to figure out every little thing that has happened to your character, and the world around them.

You could spend so long on trying to figure out everything, that you never end up writing the book. If all you ever do is plan it, and think about writing it, and ponder what will happen and what happened before to lead up to the now ... then you'll be old and gray before you're ready.

Nano is about taking a leap. It's about jumping into the ultimate abyss of writer doom and trusting the wings you have written to carry you up and out of that pit. It's about stepping out of our comfort zones. We might not feel prepared. But will we ever?

Last year for nano, I wrote the first draft of The Thief's Conspiracy. Since draft 2 of that project is giving me such grief, I think that's why I found myself struggling at the beginning of this month, when I started planning The Dream Walkers.

I was planning to make it perfect.

"Duh," you might say. "That's what planning is for. We all want to be perfect."

But it doesn't work like that. First drafts are supposed to be bad. THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO BE BAD. Yet here I am, going into this thinking, "I can't mess this up. There's no way I'm going to spend seven months on editing the second draft of a book again."

I was failing at trying to write a plotline because I couldn't fit it in the three act structure. The middle was all hectic and I didn't know what to do. I was terrified of messing up again and having to edit it for months. This idea has so much potential. How can I risk ruining it?

And that's where I need to stop. If you're thinking this, just stop.

You cannot ruin your story.

You hear me?

You cannot. ruin. your. story.

It doesn't work like that. You can write a really horrible, wretched, messy first draft which you end up saving exactly 0.00298% of, but you can't ruin it. Heck - you can write five drafts, all of which you end up scrapping.

But still. You cannot ruin your book. You cannot fail. You can do badly. But you can always take that bad, and try again. You can work with it. You can make it better. You can't write a book so badly that there is no hope for it.

You learn the most when you fail, after all.

So ... nervous about nano? Why should you be? You can't fail. If you don't meet the 50k, you didn't fail. As long as you do your best and write what you can, you have not failed.

So do not fear! Go plan, but realize it's okay to change those plans halfway through. It's okay to plan a bunch. It's also okay to not plan much at all.

You're not supposed to get it perfect on the first try. Especially not when you're writing half the book in a month. Quality does not happen that quickly. Nano is about quantity, not quality. So, just for this month ... let quality flutter out the window.

Cut yourself some slack. Go make a list of what you love about this story, before you're in the heat of nano-craze and are despairing. Remember why you love this, your story, your writing. Why you love this thing we do.

Go forth, fellow writers. Be courageous!

Are you ready for nano? What do you have left to plan, or are you all set? 

Quick note: if you're on Facebook, you should totally join in on Abi's 5k1day event! I am co-hosting it with her on November first, and we're planning to do one at the midpoint of the month and one on the last day. Please come and join us! (You don't have to write 5k - you can write 3k, or 1k, or 10k. Whatever fits your pace the best!)


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  1. Ahh, this post! <3

    I have a finished outline for NaNo, so I feel pretty ready. I'm just scared about taking the big dive. o.o

    And I think that the 5k1day would be so much fun to join in, but I don't have facebook, unfortunately. :/ I'll probably just do it anyway, without facebook. :P

    1. DO NOT FEAR!!! You've got this! If you put your mind to it, and give it all you've got, you will not fail! <3 And I could post about it here on Tuesday, and we could all hang out in the comments maybe? Those who don't have facebook?

  2. I am just in total awe of this post, Hannah, this is brilliant and touched me to the very depths of what I didn't even realize was there, I literally almost teared up, okay? THANKS SO MUCH FOR THIS YOU'VE INSPIRED ME SO MUCH. <3

    1. Ahwww don't make ME tear up! XP You're so sweet! I'm so glad it touched you <3

  3. OKAY I JUST REALLY NEEDED THIS i've srsly done like limited plotting. (I'm trying to re-plot the end of my book for nano 'cuz I had no end..whoops.) but yes, I really needed this. THANK YOU SO MUCH. you're totally right, my book could never be ready but it's not like I can ruin it 'cuz its mine. good luck on nano!

    1. Yes, and you can always try again. Nothing you write is junk, and nothing is ever ruined beyond repair. Thanks! Same to you! <3

  4. WOW OKAY THEN THIS WAS GREAT. Like I totally felt the same way about plotting and stuff, that it needed to be perfect (since this is my first time actually plotting after all lol) but yeah this totally makes sense. *goes to post this to everywhere because everyone needs it*

    1. OH ALSOOOO I am doing the 5k1Day woot woot woot. But I'm not on Facebook so I'm in the Google Hangouts one. :D BUT I'LL PROBABLY BE ON MYWRITECLUB WARRING AT SOME POINTS JSYK XD

    2. Ahw thanks dude XP Ahhh i haven't warred on MyWriteClub I must try that! And if you want to drop by here, I'm pretty sure I'll be hosting some wars!

  5. Yup yup this is me right now!! My afternoon is going to be full of plotting and doing all of the stuff that I procrastinated on so I can be ready for Tuesday! xD EEP I'M SO SO SO excited though!!
    Great post, Hannah!! Good luck on Nano!! ♥♥♥


    1. Thank you! <3 Good luck to you to! Go kill plotting XP

  6. I need to own the fact that my first drafts can be bad.

    1. Own it, girl. Be proud of it! You've written a whole stinkin' draft. Who cares if it's horrible? You did it. That's what matters. <3

  7. I NEEDED TO READ THIS TODAY THANK YOU. "We might not feel prepared. But will we ever?" <<< things just got deep omg. I love this though...BECAUSE I RELATE SO HARD. I never feel ready because writing is always a leap of unknown no matter what. I WILL ALWAYS BE SCARED NO MATTER WHAT. (How comforting ahem.)

    *gives you waffles*


    1. Yes yes *nods* You got it! Take the leap! <3 *munches waffles and sips coffee*

  8. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU FOR THIS, HANNAH!!! *hugs* I so needed to hear it.

    Even if I'm insanely excited about NaNo, I have been stressing over my story some. I keep losing the "feel" of it, if it get what I'm saying. I'm writing a story that's pretty far out of my comfort zone (and it's a very strange story at that!), so I was worried about what would happen if I couldn't get a good grip on the "feel" of it.

    Would the story turn into a big, horrible train wreck that I would never want to touch again? Then I would be ruining NaNoWriMo with this wrecked story - AND THEN YOU WENT AND WROTE THIS EPIC POST ABOUT NOT BEING ABLE TO RUIN YOUR STORY. You are epicness and probably a mind reader *nods*.

    Thank you so much for this! I'm SO excited to conquer NaNoWriMo with you :D.

    ~ Savannah

    1. I'm so glad it helped you! You cannot ruin your story - don't forget it! <3 YES LET'S. LET'S KICK NANO'S BUTT. *high fives*

  9. YES. I am wholly unprepared for NaNo, with basically no plot outline, but I'm trying to not to worry and just accept the fact. I know how hard it is going to be to do NaNo with all the crazy amount of work that will hit mid-month, but this year, I'm more using Nano as motivation to get started than to desperately hunt for a win. Any one who tries NaNo is a winner in my eyes. :) Beautiful post as always! <3

    1. Amen! I totally agree. NaNO is not for everyone - not everyone is meant to write 50k in a month. It's just not how some writers work. So it can definitely (and should!) be used in other ways, for other reasons! I'm so happy you've found your reason! You're going to rock it! <3


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