My NaNoWriMo Game Plan

Posted: October 22, 2009 in Books, NaNoWriMo, writing
Tags: , , , ,

The nerves are getting to me. nano_understand

I’ve won NaNoWriMo five times. I know I’m capable of writing 50,000 words in a month. But, as always happens in late October, my eye twitches when I look at the calendar and realize November is close. Too close.

For me, the challenge is not the word count, but staying on top of the rest of my life. I procrastinate my classes and housework in favor of my novel, not the other way around as Chris Baty would suggest. I know some of you WriMos out there are the same as me; we live for this month. Homework doesn’t matter this month, at least not in our brains. In December, before exams, we discover how wrong we were.

This year, I have a plan based upon years of experience that should keep both my GPA and novel happy.

The Plan:

1) Finish large school projects due at the end of the semester NOW. I have a few papers that I typically would (and so far, have) put off because they’re not due until exam week. This weekend, I’m knocking them out. Yeah, they’re a long way away…but the bulk of time between now and then is NaNoWriMo.

2) Make a DETAILED outline of the novel. Usually I head into the month with a few notes scribbled on my class notebooks. This year I’ve made an effort to keep my notes in one place (Liquid Story Binder) and think the plot through. My plotted novels tend to be faster to write than the unplotted ones, even if the unplotted ones are more fun to write.

3) Strict word count regimen the first two weeks. I’m always the most enthusiastic about the novel when I first start it, so why not ride that momentum? Why stick to 1,667 words a day? I know realistically I can’t expect myself to go much farther than that, but the guilt in knowing that I should be able to do more will propel me forward.

4) Stop writing sessions in the middle of a sentence. I don’t remember where I heard this trick, but it helped me last year. When you stop writing in the middle of a sentence, as opposed to the end of a chapter or scene, you can dive right back in to the story next time to sit down to write.

5) Don’t write with people. Yes, write-ins are fun, but I know I never get much written, and neither does anyone else. We can talk novels after we win.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to focus on item one of my game plan.

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