Top Ten Sites & Tools I Found Helpful in Prepping for NaNoWriMo

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Image courtesy of National Novel Writing Month

Those of you who follow my blog will know that this is my first time participating in NaNoWriMo, or National November Writing Month. As this is also the first time I have written anything longer than around 1500 words, I was understandably feeling overwhelmed.

Thankfully, writers on twitter and in the NaNoWriMo forums, are incredibly kind and helpful. They give loads of encouragement, share plenty of resources and are always willing to point newbies in the right direction.

Thanks to these wonderful people, I was able to read a lot of tips and advice that I found calmed my nerves and have given me at least the illusion that I know what I am doing.

With NaNoWriMo beginning tomorrow, I decided that today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme should be related to writing somehow; and with all these lovely new (to me) resources at my disposal, the theme quickly became obvious.

Therefore, without further ado, here is my personal top ten list of sites and tools that I found helpful in preparing for NaNoWriMo, from ten to one:

Number 10

NaNoWriMo Prep Library

This may seem like an obvious choice, but I was actually surprised at the number of participants I have communicated with who have not explored this resource. I highly recommend that you do. This list contains hints and tips on topics ranging from world building, to character development, to motivation and lots more besides. It is well worth taking a look.

≈ The NaNo Prep library can be found here: https://nanowrimo.org/nano-prep
≈ If you are reading this today, or in the first couple of days of November, it isn’t too late to sign up for NaNoWriMo2017 here: https://nanowrimo.org

Number 9

Scrivener

Scrivener is a software programme made by a small company called Literature & Latte. It prides itself as being ‘made by writers, for writers’. Scrivener does have a cost involved, but isn’t too much, about $40 US, which is incredibly low, given how much functionality you get for it. They do have a free trial, as well, which is good for thirty days of actual usage, not the usual thirty calendar days.

As an official NaNoWriMo sponsor, they offer participants a special extended trial that lasts until 7th December, instead of the usual thirty days. This ensures participants can try it out before NaNoWriMo begins without worrying about their trial running out before November finishes. Participants who choose to buy the product after NaNoWriMo receive a 20% discount. For winners, that discount increases to 50%.

Scrivener can be a little complicated, and involves a steep learning curve. There is a detailed tutorial that takes around four hours, or a faster Quickstart tutorial that covers just the basics. If your novel involves lots of planning or research, you will probably find this software helpful. Even University students would find this helpful with writing and compiling assignments.

≈ NaNoWriMo participants who want to try out this software can find a link here: https://nanowrimo.org/sponsor-offers
≈ Everyone else can get their free 30 day trial here: http://www.literatureandlatte.com/scrivener.php

Number 8

Cozy Creativity Blog

The Cozy Creativity Blog is a blog for writers and knitters. Posts alternate on topics relating to writing and knitting. I haven’t read any of the knitting posts, as I’m not really into arts and crafts. The writing posts I have read, however, I have found to be helpful.

≈ Cozy Creativity Blog homepage: https://cozycreativityblog.wordpress.com/
≈ The post I read first: https://cozycreativityblog.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/plan-out-a-novel/

Number 7

Shadiversity

When I first contemplated writing a novel, I planned on writing a fantasy. I may have changed my mind on the theme of my novel, but that doesn’t change the fact that, at the time, I found the Shadiversity YouTube channel to be helpful in my endeavours. As I still feel that his videos would be useful to anyone planning to write in the fantasy or medieval history genres, I decided that his channel was worth including in this list.

≈ Shadiversity channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkmMACUKpQeIxN9D9ARli1Q
≈ Sample content: https://youtu.be/5_90AkvkH24

Number 6

Writing Prompts for Writers on Pintrest

Pintrest may not be the first website you think of when looking for advice on writing. However, if you do a pintrest search on ‘writing prompts for writers’, you will not only come across loads of prompt ideas for those writer’s block moments, you will also find plenty of tips on the writing process.

≈ Writing Prompts for Writers on Pintrest: Link to search results
≈ Sample pin: https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/408420259939284351/

Number 5

FocusWriter

If you’re a panster whose novel doesn’t need a lot of research and the detailed software that is Scrivener just isn’t your thing, you might like to try out FocusWriter. This is a simple software program that allows full screen, distraction free writing over a background of your choice. I now use this all the time for my flash fiction, and one feature I really like is the ability to vertically centre your text, so you continue to type at eye level without having to constantly scroll up. Another feature I really love is the ability to switch off spell-check while you type. No more red squiggly lines to distract from your writing.

FocusWriter is a free programme (though you can make a small donation if you like the software) and I am loving it so far. I highly recommend downloading it and giving it a try, especially if you’re the kind of writer who just wants to sit and type without a lot of features to distract you.

≈ FocusWriter is available here: https://gottcode.org/focuswriter/
≈ Check out a review here: http://www.techradar.com/reviews/focuswriter

Number 4

Writer’s Edit

According to their about page, Writer’s Edit is ‘a young online literary magazine created especially for writers and book lovers.’ The site contains tips and advice on writing, editing and self-publishing your novel, as well as advice on freelance writing. I have found a lot of the articles to be helpful in my NaNoWriMo prep. and anticipate that I will continue to find them helpful when I am done writing, and feel ready to move on to everything that comes afterwards.

≈ Writer’s Edit homepage: http://writersedit.com/
≈ The post I read first: https://writersedit.com/fiction-writing/9-unique-books-to-make-you-rethink-the-way-you-write/

Number 3

Helping Writers Become Authors

Helping Writers Become Authors is run by K.M. Weiland, an internationally published author of several fiction and non-fiction books. Her site contains a lot of helpful advice for budding authors, as well as several free e-books and an online store.

≈ Helping Writers Become Authors homepage: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/
≈ The Post I read first: https://www.helpingwritersbecomeauthors.com/preparing-for-nanowrimo/?platform=hootsuite

Number 2

Ellen Brock

Ellen Brock is a professional freelance editor who uses her experience to make videos giving writing and editing advice to viewers. Her videos are clear and concise and her outgoing personality makes her content easy to digest. I have found her videos to be both helpful and entertaining.

≈ Ellen Brock’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/KeytopServices/featured
≈ Sample Content: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPHjb0MqX9g

Number 1

Jenna Moreci

Anyone who knows me will know that I absolutely love Jenna Moreci, author of Eve The Awakening and the upcoming novel The Savior’s Champion. Jenna is a talented writer who chooses to share her knowledge on writing, editing and marketing a novel on YouTube and Skillshare. Jenna’s videos are highly entertaining and informative. I strongly recommend them to anyone contemplating a writing career. Jenna’s videos have had a large impact on my flash fiction stories, and she was one of the driving factors in my gaining the confidence to begin my own novel this November.

≈ Jenna Moreci’s channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS_fcv9kBpDN4WWrfcbCrgw/featured
≈ Sample content: https://youtu.be/GcAnOSyDpRI
≈ Jenna Moreci’s website: https://www.jennamoreci.com/
≈ Support Jenna on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/jennamoreci

Well, that’s it folks. Let me know in the comment section if you agree or disagree with this list, or if you know of any writing resources you feel I would find helpful. Until then, happy writing.



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