Right now, a good number of my writer friends are sharing articles on plotting and preparing for NaNoWriMo. Some of them are helpful, some of them sort of irritate me a bit. Some of them make it seem like you have to prepare in the first place to succeed at NaNoWriMo or even writing a book at all. You don’t. There is no wrong way to write a book. There are certainly people who can open a file and write 50,000 words in a month or less with no plotting, no prep work at all. Maybe it’s not the popular way but it isn’t impossible. I should know. Guardian of the Gods, Hunter’s Crossing, and Eldercynne Rising all had their zero drafts done during NaNoWriMo (Hunter’s Crossing is the only one that kept its title) and I had one sentence or one whisp of an idea in my head when I sat down on November 1.
This year is a little different because I’m writing a sequel so, I’ve got to keep continuity with the first and follow some threads I’ve prepared there already, but you absolutely can do NaNoWriMo with no prep work at all. I am not a plotter. I don’t do outlines or sketches. I do a zero draft and build up from there. My zero drafts are pretty sparse but for me, it’s more about the plot than the pretty (though pretty can happen during the zero, mostly it gets cut during drafting and edits).
If you want to write a book, sit down and do it by whatever means necessary. If you need an outline, make one. If you need that prep work, please do it. If you don’t and you just need an open file or a piece of paper – that works too. You do you and tell a good story. This world needs more good stories.