Prepping for NaNoWriMo: Step Seven – Business End of Things
You were surprised I have one more preparation step, weren’t you? If you’re thinking, “Hey, I did all of those other steps and I have a killer outline. I’m ready for NaNoWriMo already!” then bear with me while I explain the importance of having one more step. The business end of writing is important. But this isn’t the business work you are thinking of. Keep reading.
First, put the story away. Just let it percolate in your mind for a few days. You’re going to grab your calendar for this step.
Using Your Calendar Wisely
Look at your calendar. Cross off any days that you aren’t going to be writing. Let’s be honest, hardly anyone wants to write for seven days each week. We need a break to stay sane. I cross off Saturday and Sunday. I know that when my girls are home, I’m not going to be productive as a writer. So, Saturday is Family Day and Sunday is God’s Day. That leaves me five days of writing. Down to twenty days in which to write 50,000 words.
But wait. Are any of you planning on writing during Thanksgiving? Probably not. Are you traveling before or after with too many distractions to allow you to write? Cross those days off.
What’s left? This is your actual goal. My personal writing availability is 16 days in November. If I didn’t do this exercise I’d set myself up for failure. But crossing off days I know I won’t be productive allows me to set a realistic daily target in order to reach 50,000 words by the end of November. My daily target? 3,125 words. That’s completely doable. But if I’d divided 50,000 by 30, I’d end up with a target of 1,667 words every day. I’d write for the first week, see how much I have left, and then give up in frustration every day I wasn’t able to sit at the computer. This way I am setting myself a realistic goal that I know I can achieve working five days a week.
Once you’ve arranged your calendar, arrange your schedule. What’s your best time of day for writing? Put it on your calendar, in you phone, and on whatever device you need to make sure you have blocked out your best time for writing.
A Couple More Organization Tips – Space and Time
Yes, Doctor Who Time Lord wannabes, I’m talking to you! You do have the ability to be a Time Lord, in complete control of Space and Time. Your space. And your time. Organize your space. The mind works better in an organized space than a chaotic one. Print off motivational sayings to keep you writing when you get tired. Write out your purpose (some call it your “why”) and put that on the wall where you can see it. I have a quote from Handel printed and set by my writing desk: I should be very sorry to only entertain them. I wish to make them better. It’s my why. What’s yours?
Arrange your writing space so it’s productive, inviting, and inspirational. Make yourself excited to use it.
And finally, download a Pomodoro app. If you don’t know what a Pomodoro is, it’s a timer you can set for focused time. I like to do twenty minute spurts with a five minute short break. After two rounds of twenty minutes, I need a fifteen minute break. The small and large breaks are scheduled in the app so you aren’t worried about watching the clock.
Scrivener has a Distraction Free setting. Find it. Learn how to use Scrivener effectively and print off the shortcut codes so you have them in an easy-to-look-at spot.
Having these tools at the ready will help you feel more than ready for November 1st.
Oh, and don’t forget the snacks and the water bottles. And the handy portable list of topics on which you can converse that aren’t directly related to your manuscript. After all, some people (crazy as it seems) aren’t as obsessed with your manuscript as you are…yet.
Good luck on your NaNoWriMo journey!
I’m writing a YA paranormal novel for NaNoWriMo this year, the first in a six-book arc that I’ve plotted using the methods I describe. I’ll be checking in periodically to let you know how it’s going. Feel free to let me know in the comments below how you are coming along!
Read why I love Scrivener and learn about The Story Shop cloud-based software for writers here.
Miss Step Six? Read it here!