It’s that time again, a little over 3 weeks to go. Just enough time to gather the supplies and finish the preparations. A month’s worth of food, a month’s worth of chocolate, and a month’s 4 months’ worth of caffeine should be enough. Preparations include clearing the calendar in November, setting up Scrivener, creating an outline (unless you are a pantser*), and creating characters (again, unless you are a pantser).
What am I talking about? Why, NaNoWriMo, of course. It’s that time when over 100,000 writers attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in November. This makes for a crazy month, especially if you have a job, kids, or anything else that imposes upon your schedule. It can be hard, but it is doable. It takes dedication and it takes writing every day. In order to get to 50,000 words in 30 days, you need to average 1,667 words per day.
I participated in and completed my first NaNo last year. It was definitely not easy. I had to balance work, family, and writing. Then, just as I was starting to get going, I had an ear infection that ended up rupturing my ear drum. I lost about 4 days of writing. Luckily, it was early enough so that I had time to catch up.
So what did I end up with? A 50,116 word mess. But it is a 50,116 word mess that can be shaped into a published novel. My original plan was to edit and revise (rinse and repeat as necessary) and self publish in June. My health issues this year has prevented me from doing that, but I still plan on finishing it.
When I first started to think about this year’s NaNo, I was planning on taking last year’s novel and sprucing it up. I figured, between adding more to the story and replacing sections that I will probably cut, that I could get up to 50,000 words. Then a story popped into my head.
I have started an outline that has about 25 headings covering all of the major plot points. All I have to do is average 2,000 words for each of those headings to get to 50,000. I have also done a couple of character profiles and started to create the world that the story is set in.
I still have over 3 weeks before the start of NaNo, so I’m in pretty good shape. I need to stock up on the food and drinks and create several more character sheets, other than that, I am all set.
One of the things that made NaNo fun for me was the interaction with other writers. The forums are always interesting and my Buddies kept me on track. If there are any others out there that are going to do NaNo this year and want a writing buddy, my NaNo profile is DJ in Florida.
*pantser – Noun – One who writes a novel without planning, outlining, etc. A pantser starts with a blank sheet of paper and just writes. Obviously, I do not fall into this category.