#Preptober Hacks for 2018

Pretpober2018Hacks

I like writing hack posts for Preptober and NaNoWriMo every year, because I learn something new every year! That’s the fantastic thing about participating in an event like this every year, you learn something new about your writing style every year and how to turn yourself into the best writer you can be.

I’ve got some new tips and hacks for this year. So let’s JUMP right into it!

A Good Notebook Goes A Long Way

We all have a notebook that we love and adore. The notebook that never leaves your bag or your back pocket. A writers notebook is almost like a haven from the planet.

Now, I talk about how to lay out that notebook A LOT. Obviously, it’s kind of what my blog is about.

And I have EXTENSIVE TIPS on the subject.

Why Your Bullet Journal Needs a Character Inventory

Outlining Using the Three Act Structure in Your Writer’s Bullet Journal

How to Create Characters Using the Meyer’s Briggs Personality Types

Top 5 Formula Spreads for Your Writer’s Bullet Journal

5 Questions to Ask When Outlining Your Romance Sub-plot Arc in Your Writers Bullet Journal

Using Your Writers Bullet Journal to Write Romance

How to Jumpstart Your Writing Habit Using Your Bullet Journal

Editing Using Your Bullet Journal

And the conclusion to THAT is: I can PRATTLE on a bit, can’t I?

WRAP IT UP ZOE!

RIGHT! Okay…

All of that was a set up to say that I have said more than enough about setting up your journal so that you can be as productive as possible.

But what I haven’t really talked about is my ACTUAL notebook and I promise that I will. But I have to review and use a couple more before I feel like I can speak to that.

For now, I’ve been using the Leuchtturm1917 dotted and that’s been really great for me. But… Moleskine has the dotted now and I’m eyeballing that sucker because Moleskine for LIIIIIFFFFEEE.

Just so you are fully aware, all of those are affiliate links, so if you’re in the market for a new notebook and you use one of my links, I get a small commission from the sale on Amazon, at NO extra cost to you! I use affiliate links to keep the lights on here at the blog, so that I don’t clutter the blog with AdSense ads that pop up and make it hard to read my posts. I only show you products that I love and use and think you’ll love too! So thanks for using my links and helping keep the blog running!

I’m super in love with the copper one, but I already know that I love the Leuchtturm1917 and really want to try the Moleskine version. I might end up ordering the black one soon.

Also Moleskine has limited edition Harry Potter notebooks right now and I’m HERE for it!

Plan Ahead Always

I mean, I shouldn’t have to go TOOOO deep into this thing right? I’ve got a whole printable to buy so that you can stay on track.

But really, if you plan ahead, you’re going to stay ahead.

You know that the day before November 1st is October 31st: Halloween. And you know what you will be doing before then AND that you can start at midnight of November 1st! No worries.

So my personal plan is to have everything ready before I take the boys trick-or-treating on Halloween, make sure they don’t have too much sugar, make sure I have enough coffee to get me through until midnight. And then pour myself a pumpkin beer and get to writing.

You should also be planning ahead for November, so make sure your November spread is all set up for NaNo and ready to go. But we will be talking NaNo hacks in just couple days.

Be Kind To Yourself


I haven’t had the best month, to be completely honest. But most of the stuff has been outside of my control. We’ve had several sickness waves roll through our little house and then I had to recoup from that sickness by binge cleaning the house several times. It’s been a lot.

So, obviously, I haven’t been able to write as much as I like. So when those moments of self doubt roll around…

You know…

The moments where your brain gangs up on you and you sit and wallow in your spiral of self doubt.

“YOU’RE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.”

“YOU’VE BEEN LAZY AND HAVEN’T WORKED ON YOUR WRITING OR THE BLOG OR THE PEOPLE IN YOUR EMAIL GROUP.”

“YOU’VE BEEN SNUGGLING YOUR BOYS TOO MUCH AND WATCHING TOO MUCH ANIME!!!”

But the things that have happened that are outside my control, and when the little guy has a fever, the thing that means the most to him is me snuggling him while we watch Monsters Inc and Finding Dory for the twelve billionth time.

So you have to be kind to yourself! Somethings are outside your control!

Like babies being sick!

And work obligations.

And mental illness.

So be kind to yourself, because unless it’s outright laziness (like watching 3 hours of Netflix instead of writing, which we are all guilty of at SOME point.) it’s a lot of things outside your control.

You can do things like power through, theoretically. But when it comes to things like outright exhaustion and mental illness, that may not be possible.

So just be kind to yourself!

Have a Support System

SPOUSE BRAGGING TIME!

My husband is the BEST! Especially about NaNo. He’s even really good about bugging me about the blog and my book and everything.

But he's AWESOME when it comes to NaNoWriMo. He even withholds VIDEO GAMES and does things like take the boys so that I can get my word count in.

My best friend understands my need for writing during November and so does my family. Even if not everyone understands completely what it does for my brain, they can see how it helps me externally and that makes all the difference for their understanding on why I do what I do.

Having a support system starts with one simple, but fucking terrifying thing: talking to your loved ones about how NaNo makes you feel.

You know how NaNo makes you feel, if you have done it before.

You feel accomplished.

You feel challenged.

You feel WHOLE.

At least that’s how I feel during NaNo or when I’m on a really good NaNo writing streak.

I’m really lucky that my friends and family saw the one-eighty turn that my attitude took the first time I participated in NaNoWriMo.

And that I was kinda in a manic-depressive episode and the act of writing helped me focus and centered me a TON. But that’s besides the point.

I didn’t have to have the super awkward conversation with my parents about how writing calms my mind and helps me deal with my anxiety and depression. They encourage me and read my books and give me feedback.

I didn’t have to have the discussion with my best friend about how I can’t do things with her during NaNo because I have to write. She’s chill with me hanging out in her living room, while I type furiously and chug RedBull.

I don’t have to tell my significant other that for an entire month out of the year there I will be neglecting things like housework and personal hygiene because I will be doing just the BARE minimum for keeping myself and the kids alive because I’m focusing on craft. He just takes the kids, snags me some more water or tea of coffee and tells me to make it all happen.

All of these people are supportive because they have seen how instrumental writing is in my life and want the best for me, just like I want the best for them.

If there are people in your life who don’t get this even after you’ve made positive, visible changes in your life, maybe it’s time to set them loose.

I know that’s hard to hear. But you just plain don’t need that negative influence in your life.

As for the people who haven’t seen it yet, they just need to be TOLD that it’s a good thing for you.

Maybe write down how it makes you feel FIRST before you have this hard talk. Get your “why” clear for you. THEN you can better explain it to your friend, or parent, or significant other. If they are the right person to have in your life, they will not only get what’s happening, but they will also look for ways to support you in that endeavor.

Power Through

When worst comes to worst, power through.

I know that’s nearly insurmountable when it comes to mental illness and other factors. I get that, but sometimes it just takes turning everything off, except for your computer, and doing the thing ANYWAY.

This won’t help with depressive downswings or panic attacks.

This won’t help when you fall asleep at the dinner table from exhaustion.

This won’t help when the kids get sick.

But it will help with other things. And these other things are VALID excuses.

But procrastination is best solved with productivity. Take it from The Queen of Procrastination.

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this! I know it was a little more weird than usual, but you are a cool human for taking the time!

Let me know in the comments who is YOUR best supporter for NaNoWriMo and maybe practice thanking them in the comments section. YA KNOW. If you ever have to give a speech for an award or something. That’d be FUN!

Happy Writing!

Zoe Fleicher

The Ginger Wordsmith