Well, that most special time of year is coming up, NaNoWriMo!
In case you don’t know, NaNoWriMo takes place in the month of November and is one of the few times a year that the world wide writing community really comes together. The challenge is based around the idea of writing a novel in a month, hence the full name National Novel Writing Month. Around the world hundreds of thousands of people start writing 1,666 words per day for a full month, so that by the end they have 50,000 words of new writing.
Of course, that isn’t how lots of people use it. Some people who are more experienced or are professional writers, might use the artificial deadline to get them writing a bit more on something they have already started. There are a whole bunch of famous authors who use NaNo to give them a boost in their productivity.
I will be doing something along those lines myself. Thanks to some very nice murmurings, I have a lot more reason to finish a story I’ve had bubbling away. 50,000 words will likely be enough to get me to the end of the story and finishing all of that in a month would be incredible. Of course, the other side of the coin is that when you write a lot quite quickly you will have a lot more to edit. But it’s better to have a lot waiting on being edited, than to not have anything written at all.
I am currently working on writing up a list of scenes that need to happen, things that need to be in place for later events, plus those later events. I find this a better technique than straight up planning everything, because I can find having a rigid plan constraining. Having a list of things that definitely need to happen is a lot easier, because I can play around with them a bit, adding them together into bigger scenes, or stretching them out.
One thing I’ve found myself doing in previous years that I want to avoid, is planning every day out to an almost hour by hour schedule. There is nothing more likely to make me look at what I am supposed to do for a day and run away from it, than a schedule like that! But despite that, I forget and try to force my brain into working like that. It does not work. It has never worked. It will never work. I need to try a different way of doing things.
One way that looks pretty interesting and plays to my need to gamify everything, comes from Mur Lafferty’s, I Should Be Writing Podcast. Basically you write out a to do list of all the things you need to do, you number them, and then you roll a dice to see which one comes up. Then, if you have a higher priority piece of work that doesn’t come up earlier on, you fill in the gaps where you have done work with an extra chance to pick one of these tasks. That way you can make luck pick what you are going to spend your day doing, but also you are almost definitely going to end up doing the important things.
Which in my case will be finishing off this novel. I’ve got about 50,000 words down already, what’s so hard about doubling it in a month when that took me a heck of a lot longer to write? I am kidding. Sort of. It is going to be a lot easier, I have all the characters figured out, I have the character voice pretty well internalised (she’s me, but more expressive and prone to swearing externally. Also, sometimes she falls out of trees on purpose onto monsters and only figures out how bad an idea it is once she’s falling) and I’ve done a lot more world building and plot planning.
So, that’s got to be easier. But, it’s still 50,000 words in a month. Which is a lot. Aaaahhhh!
So, that’s my goal for next month sorted. Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Leave a note if you are, misery loves company, as they say.