One of the things which was a big help for me in my SoFoBoMo effort last year was that, with weeks still to to, I got busy making sure that I knew which PDF generation software I was going to use (Adobe InDesign, in my case), took the time to build a mockup of a book using images I had on hand, figuring out things like title pages, copyright pages, and a general page layout for the project I had in mind.
It turned out that I didn’t use ANY of those things quite in the way I envisioned. I changed around the layout, I changed the font and the arrangement of the title page, and so on. But by having done all that work up front, I was familiar enough with InDesign that the inevitable changes went smoothly and I spent almost no time during my month struggling with software issues.
Another thing I did was really streamline my photo processing workflow. I built custom actions in photoshop to perform the important steps, like sizing and sharpening the images to go into the book. Again, it turned out that I was still making tweaks to those actions, but the up front investment of time and energy into putting together a smooth, trouble free workflow from exposure through to plopping the images into InDesign paid handsome rewards when my month long effort started for real.
There’s only so much you can do to offload effort OUT of the 31 day period, because if you’re at all like me you’ll find your plans changing as the project progresses. But having a solid plan in place BEFORE the period starts not only ensures that you’re in a good starting position, it ensures that you’re up to speed on all the tools you’re going to use. And getting the learning curve part of your workflow out of the 31 day period sure leaves a lot more time and energy for the creative stuff. I still had plenty of anxiety during my month of activity, but it wasn’t the high stress “How can I get this #$%^&*(*^%$ software to do what I want” variety of stress.