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Okay, guys! We’ve got 7 weeks to whip ourselves into shape for the most intense writing event of the year!

Can we do it?

YES.

Here is the game plan:

1. This week, Sept. 7: Clear the decks. Wrap up any projects that you are working on and make sure that there are no distractions come opening day.

2. Week of Sept. 14: Lists, lists, lists! Take stock of your supplies: pencils, printer paper, typewriter ribbons, post-its. What still needs to be researched? Will there be any special trips involved to a special library or do you need to request an inter-library loan?

3. Week of Sept. 21: Conditioning begins today! Start with writing 500 words a day–on anything. Journal entries, blog posts, random prompts from the internet. Get in the habit of sitting down each day and writing.

4. Week of Sept. 28: Work on your player stats. Put together your 1 page summary of your story, and make a list of themes, important settings, names, and one sentence bios for your main characters. Daily word count goal for this week is 750.

5. Week of Oct. 5: If you haven’t already, start digging in to that research. Compile a list of sources so that you can go back again later if you forget something. Daily word count goal is 1,000.

6. Week of Oct. 12: Outline, outline, outline. Get at least the first few chapters hammered down.

7. Week of Oct. 19: Keep outlining. Figure out what program or tool you will be using, and make sure that it is in working order. Double check your stock of supplies, and arrange for a backup. Daily word count goal is 1200.

Do you have your backup?

8. Week of Oct. 26: Finishing touches. Wrap up your outline. Gather any “inspirational” things that you want to have handy–a stack of movies that remind you of the feel of your novel, music that gets the gears turning, etc. Make sure that your work space is clean and tidy. Daily word count goal is 1500.

6. Oct. 26: Only 6 days this week!

Finish your outline. Line up your Netflix queue or create your Itunes playlist. Make sure that all of those extra projects are put to bed. Set up your workspace and whatever you do, for goodness sake, don’t fall into a jibbering mess. it’s only October and we’ve still got all of November to panic!

I’ll be reminding you every Monday of your weekly goals to help you (ah…me) stay on target. I’ve won my last three Nanos, so I’m hoping to keep up the streak this year.

Come on, we can do it!