29 Oct 2012

NaNoWriMo: The Preparation

This year I am participating in National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo.

I tried to do this a few years ago when I was not as serious about writing as I am now, and failed. I do not remember how many words I managed to get done, but I was in high school and I think I just gave up part-way through.

That will not happen this time!

This time I am prepared. This time I am ready. This time I am anxious to begin.

There are a few things I think are necessary to have prepared before one begins something as big as NaNoWriMo. I mean, you are aiming to write fifty thousand words in a month. That is thirty days of writing at least two thousand words in order to achieve this. This might not be true for most people, but I know that for me, who is hoping to accomplish writing the 50k and finish most of a novel (because I really feel this one is going to be at least 70k - my last WIP's first draft reached over 80k), there are some things I need to have done before November 1st.

Number one is time. Let's face it. No one has time. School, work, family, and other responsibilities are big time-suckers. But we are all going to have to make some in order to get this done. Two thousand words a day can be done in two hours or less. I would suggest participating in #1k1hr sprints on Twitter (or doing them yourself if you are not a part of the Twitterverse). You aim to write one thousand words in an hour. And it's totally doable. If you keep writing for that entire hour, you can even hit two thousand if you have the scene you're writing plotted out. Which brings me to the second thing...

Number two is an outline. Or at least a solid idea of what you will be writing. I used to never write with an outline, but as I began to write my first WIP (working title: Dragon Legends), I found that an outline was very helpful. This time my outline is not as detailed as I would like it to be, but it's good enough that I know where the story is going and I know each scene I'll need to write. I'm sure mid-way through November I'll find myself re-outlining, but I have a start of something, and that's what is important. There's nothing worse than starting of NaNo without having any idea what you want to write. You write nothing the first day. Then the second. And the third. And by then you're already six thousand words behind. Have an outline or at least an idea of what you want to write. Hey - I know outlines don't work for everyone, but if they do, use one.

Number three is motivation. Motivation never comes when we need it, but if we're going to write 50k words in thirty days... well, is that not motivation enough? Again, this is where #1k1hr sprints are helpful. Click on the hashtag, find a fellow writer who's about to do one and hop in. Join them on the hour and write your 1k. Writing with someone really helps getting the motivation going because, for me at least, you cannot blow it off. You are not the only one participating in the 1k. It feels really crappy to end the hour by replying to someone's tweet saying "Congrats on the 1k you wrote. I didn't write anything." Now, life gets in the way sometimes, but don't be making excuses for yourself. That won't get you any closer to the 50k.

So far I am the only one of my writer friends (that I know of - I kind of decided to do this only a few days ago) who is participating in NaNo this year, so let me know in the comments or @reply me on Twitter if you are. I'd love to do some sprints with you all. There is more information on how to contact me on my Contact Me page up in the menu bar, but you can find me on Twitter @courtvents.

Also let me know some of the ways you are preparing for NaNo. Anyone take time off work to get some writing done? (I wish I could have, but I just started a new job and I kind of really want to keep this one for a while, so... Haha.)

Happy writing, everyone! And best of luck hitting that 50k!


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