Aside from write-in's, word sprints, and all the buddies you make, if you don't have a plan, your going to have a tougher time of it (just my experience). Feel free to add me as a buddy!
This year I've spent most of October for #NaNoPrep.
First I chose a stand alone horror story that has haunted me for a couple years now. It's had plenty of time to brew, so writing out plot points only took one evening. I then set out to S&S the entire outline. This takes a bit more brain power, but will be like a GPS vs a printed road map. I wrote this in my little NaNo Survival planner, along with mind maps, research, names, a NaNoWriMo calendar, and of course reward stickers. I then plug that outline into Scrivener, and set the target goals.
Next I downloaded every Pomodoro app I could find in the app store. The Pomodoro technique is great for focus. You work in 25 minute intervals, and are rewarded a 5 minute break. After 4 complete Pomodoro you get a 15 minute break. Toss in a couple of rewards like cookies and you have yourself a great tool to keep your butt-in-chair!
I have an Android (Samsung Galaxy S4) and only found a few apps that worked the way I wanted. The top three in order of most favorite to least is Simple Pomodoro, TimeWise, and Clockwork Tomato. Simple Pomodoro is just that... Simple. It does have an awesome way of keeping you from getting internet distracted by turning off your phones internet. If you like widgets though, you may prefer using Clockwork Tomato. Check them out, and see what works for you. If you are on the computer and want to keep from using the net, I suggest Cold Turkey. Set up a time for when you are working and it will lock you out of the net until the time is complete.
I'm a graphic artist as well, so I'm inspired by images. So anytime I am working a novel, it helps if I do up a cover. Here is the one I did for my NaNoNovel.
Next week I will be preparing pre-made freezer meals. It will take up an entire day to get the shopping done, put the food together, and store them all in the deep freeze. This is so I have more time to write and the family wont starve while Mom is on a writing binge... You can check out Pinterest for hundred of great meals.
Backup. I like to store my writing in several places after a session. I have a USB, my laptop, my desktop, and my GDrive for on the cloud storage. Make sure you back it up! Nothing worse than getting to the 50k mark and then losing all that hard work because of hardware failure, or tiny button pushing hands... In Scrivener you can set up your automatic backup to go to your dropbox or GDrive file by going to tools > Options > Backups > Backup Locations and choose the file you want it to save to.
I'm a mega tech junkie so I write on several platforms. All have to be updated and prepped for writing. That means Scrivener is updated and backups are set up to go to my GDrive file so that I have auto backups to the cloud. My Ellipsis 7 tablet has a word processor and plenty of space on my SD card. The bluetooth keyboard is charged and ready to go. When I do decide to hit up a coffee shop for a write-in or whatever, I won't have to waste a ton of time getting things ready to go. Just grab my bag and go!
I'm sure I will have plenty more to add to my prep list, but for now I think I am ready for a month of binge writing.
How do you prepare for NaNoWriMo?