I’m convinced every writer hears the echoes of anticipation every October. It starts with the distant sounds of a band firing up the crowd. With the adrenaline rush of the boxers about to step into the ring, the collective energy of players running into the tunnel. The call of the announcer:

Are you reeeeeaady to WriMo???

Whether we plan to participate or not, our #writingcommunity is full of friends who do. If you’re one of the hundreds of thousands of writers committing to a novel draft this November through the annual NaNoWriMo challenge—or if you’re looking for help running any writing marathon, any time—you’ve come to the right place.

Every year, we at Career Authors strive to collect top resources for you to bookmark to help you on your way, and to offer up some of our own, too. This time, we’re starting a week early to help those using these precious last days of October to prep.

As our resident CA member of the NaNoWriMo Writers Board, I’m happy to take the lead, because we all know knowledge is power.

  1. Start time management now.

The official NaNoWriMo calendar is already up and running, with plenty of live links and open invites for anyone to join. If you’re hyper-focused on November 1 as your start date, you might be missing some crucial momentum-building and planning tools and opportunities.

This week’s free NaNoWriMo resources focus on managing your time, with tips ad ideas ranging from writing checklists to grocery lists (think easy meal prep). And it’s not too late browse all six weeks’ worth of the full NaNo Prep 101 kit to skim for the ideas that best meet your needs. Better late than never, and besides, there’s no such thing as being late when you’re still early!

Back to the calendar, some highlights: Community makes a big difference when you’re training for a writing marathon. Thursday, October 26, there’s a Virtual All-Community Meetup on Zoom, and anyone can register for a chance to make some early connections and introductions. When you start feeling the heat on Tuesday, October 31, why not join the virtual write-in live on YouTube to get those writing muscles warmed up?

  1. Find an app for that.

First Draft Pro is an official sponsor of NaNoWriMo 2023, and in conjunction with the partnership they’re offering an Ultimate Guide to NaNoWriMo 2023 for First Draft Pro users. Among the app’s highlighted functions: worldbuilding notes, outlining tools, structure templates, and a “goals and focus mode.” A free plan includes all basic features, and a premium plan starts at $9/month for full functionality. NaNoWriMo registrants get a 20% discount off the rate (plus a bunch of other partner discounts at Scrivener, Plottr, and other high-tech tools).

Again this year, the free Evernote app (now at more than 100 million downloads) is offering templates designed to make NaNoWriMo story-planning easier on the go, including a Story Premise Worksheet, Character Profile, and dedicated Dashboard for your story elements. Especially if you’re going to be doing a lot of your writing in smaller snippets throughout the day (and night), check out their guide to using Evernote for NaNoWriMo. (And read one writer’s well-illustrated Medium piece—with plenty of screen grabs—on how tech-savvy creatives can improve their process via Evernote templates.)

  1. Remember the best NaNoWriMo tips are evergreen.

Beyond the new live events and tools, don’t be dissuaded by any how-to roundup on NaNoWriMo that isn’t brand new. A few oldies-but-goodies:

  • If NoNo Prep 101 was a little too intense for you (six weeks of content is a lot to cram in before a Nov. 1 deadline) our friends at Writer’s Digest teamed up with the NaNoWriMo staff to offer a more concise, equally Free Downloadable Toolkit including advice, motivation, and prompts to keep you going. (On the flip side, if you’re looking for more hands-on guidance rather than less, you might consider investing in WD’s NaNoWriMo Prep Bundle which bundles OnDemand webinars, ebooks and more at a steep discount.)
  • Pssst…. Just want some quick tips right this minute, so you can get inspired and then get to work? Here are 5 Tips for NaNoWriMoSuccess from yours truly.
  1. Get visual.

Turn to our Career Authors Infographic Library for grab-and-go checklists full of bite-sized advice and poignant reminders perfect for visual learners. We’ve covered all the bases, from The Hero Checklist to The Villain Checklist, from The Hero’s Journey to the ABCs of Character, from Settings to Amazing Endings. Print the ones you need and tack them up next to your Novemer calendar: Your NaNoWriMo word count will thank you.

  1. Beat procrastination before it starts.

Our own editor extraordinaire Dana Isaacson offered some wise NaNoWriMo-specific advice for beating back the procrastination beast.

  1. Always have a Plan B.

Bookmark this one now, and you’ll thank us later: Help for the Home Stretch of NaNoWriMo.

Have a favorite NaNoWriMo survival tip of your own? Join our discussion on Facebook.

The countdown is on! We’ll be cheering you every step of the way.