It’s less than 48 hours to go before the start of NaNoWriMo 2018, and my dedicated push this year to write daily with a focus on fiction. I already have my daily(-ish) writing habit established, and at the moment I average around 900 words a day. That’s a little more than half the daily (not -ish) wordcount needed to complete NaNoWriMo. Plus, I already know of 3 days where no writing will get done, so there’s a need to plan ahead this time.
When I say “This time” it’s because I have attempted NaNoWriMo – and the seemingly-defunct NaGaDeMon, where you design, test and play a game in a month – many times in the past. By “attempted” you can already guess that means I have failed. Repeatedly. Generally, it comes down to a lack of planning and a lack of belief in what I’m doing. This year I’ve short-circuited those by both having a plan and by realigning my beliefs.
I Love It When A Plan Comes Together
As part of my 104 book GoodReads challenge this year, I read a number of books on writing. In addition to the primary advice of Just Write, more than a few added two more ideas that stuck with me.
- Know what you’re going to write
- Know how long you’re going to write
Trust me, I’m aware of the Planner vs Pantser debate, and whether or not you can even begin to assign a one-size-fits-all amount of advice beyond Just Write to any unique group like writers. But knowing what you’re going to write doesn’t require a full outline, or even more than a sentence. And as I’m already using the Pomodoro method at work, it was simple enough to use it for writing. Already I’ve seen a change in both word count and in the focus that gives to my ideas.
For overall planning, I’ve started using the Snowflake Method, and it has been a game changer in terms of both my excitement in writing, and in my ability to see where I’ve had issues in the past with plot and characters.
I Am A Writer
This has lit a fire in me for writing that I haven’t experienced since the shadows of my youth. I look forward to sitting down and getting started, even if I’m not excited by the blank page/screen. But I’m not afraid of the blanks now. My beliefs have shifted from “Maybe I can write something, I guess I’ll try, it probably won’t be good” to “I will write, if it’s not good, so what? I’ll write again tomorrow!” I’ve gone from falling apart if a page or section isn’t working to just setting it aside for the time being and moving on. I’ve stopped seeing everything at eye-level, and with a plan in my pocket I can have that 30,000 foot view to see how it all connects, and not get hung up on a paragraph or sentence here or page there.
Chomping At The Bit
Now, there’s still some trepidation about November 1. It’s still embarking on a massive undertaking, in addition to all the other work, tasks and obligations that November brings my way. But, damn! I’m ready to go now.
In the end, I’ll just burn with patience until I flip that calendar to the next page, set my timer, review my plan, and write.