How To Prep For NaNoWriMo As a Pantser

There are all kinds of resources for planning your novel for NaNoWriMo. Plot outlines. Character sheets. You name it, it’s there. Usually in multiple formats.

I’m not going to get into the Planner vs Pantser debate. You do you.

But did you know there is planning that even a Pantser can do?

Maybe even some planning that a Pantser should do.

I actually have a plot outline this year, so I’m more of a Planner this year, but I have been a Pantser in the past. These are the things I’ve found helpful when I’m pantsing NaNoWriMo:

NaNoWriMo prep for pantsers

Inform the Important People

Let your friends and family know what you will be doing. If you live in a country where Thanksgiving is an issue, this can be a big one. When you disapear directly after dinner, they’ll be slightly less likely to disturb you if they’ve already been warned that you’ll be writing.

But throughout the month you’ll be bothered less if you’ve let the people most likely to invite you out to hold their invitations until next month.

Get Help

No. I don’t mean get someone to ghostwrite your novel for you. I mean help with things around the house that usually take up your time.

Recruit your spouse to help out a little more with the chores or with meals.

Ask your mom if she can keep your kids for a few days this month.

Or you can scope out places where you could take the kids to play with minimal supervision so you can squeeze in some writing. Locally, my best options have been ¬†McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A.

Think About Food

Man may not live on bread alone, but you do need to eat. It takes less time to plan what you will eat ahead of time than it takes trying to make up your mind when you’re already hungry.

If you’re ambitious you can try making out a whole month of meal plans. To make this easy, just do 15 days and repeat. Make grocery lists. Minimize your shopping trips in November. Shopping trips take up so much time. Especially if you have kids.

If this sounds too much like being a Planner for your Pantser soul, just writing down some of your family’s favorite meals and making sure you have the ingredients on hand will go a long way to carving out extra time for writing.

You can always put your favorite pizza place on speed-dial.

Gather Inspiration

What? Why should you plan inspiration? Because you’re going to hit writer’s block at some point.

Use Pinterest to keep a collection of inspiring things. You can have a board for writing prompts, inspirational quotes, character inspiration, settings. Anything that strikes you needs to be pinned to a board for later reference.


Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas to help your NaNoWriMo go a little more smoothly this year. And if you make a last minute decision on October 31 to join NaNoWriMo with absolutely nothing done ahead of time at all? Well that’s OK, too.

Are you a Pantser with experience planning anything other than your novel? I’d love to hear about it. Let me know in the comments below.