Thursday, October 30, 2008

NaNoWriMo: The Plan

Since the work I need to do on the proposal for The New Project isn't all that extensive, I think I will bite the bullet and go for NaNoWriMo. I'll be overlapping projects the first few days, but I think I'll be able to stay on track. This is going to sound odd when talking about a push to write a 50,000 word book in a month, but I think I need to do this to get some balance into my writing schedule and life.

That's because I have that bad all-or-nothing habit I've mentioned before. I'll goof off and procrastinate and find any excuse not to work, until I come up to a deadline or get a fire lit under me, and then I write furiously, to the point it consumes my whole life. Sadly, a lot of the "nothing" time is spent telling myself I should be writing, so I'm not really getting anything else done while I'm avoiding writing. I also think the all and the nothing feed on each other. I sometimes need to hit the all state because of all that nothing, and then I'm so exhausted after the all that it brings on the next wave of nothing, which makes it harder to get back into writing regularly, which brings on the need for another "all" phase.

50,000 words a month is slower than my "all" pace -- I've written a 100,000-word novel in just over a month. It averages out to under 2,000 words a day, when I only count days I'm likely to actually work (I imagine I won't work much on days I travel for Thanksgiving). That was my target pace when I was writing in the evenings while working full-time. But this pace is a lot faster than my "nothing" pace. I can do 2,000 words a day, easily, and having that focused a goal may help me find some balance. I'm going to try readjusting my day to write earlier and use some of my usual early stuff as a reward for finishing. If I'm on a roll, I can certainly go over that count, but I don't have to. When I finish my word count for the day, I can then do other things. So, if I do this right, I may actually have more free time that truly feels "free" than I usually do, and maybe this will instill some good time-management habits. That may then raise my productivity levels. I'd like to be able to have multiple irons in the fire, with at least two different series in different genres or categories with different publishers. That way, if one slips, I'll still have something going.

I'm doing a little less pre-writing planning on this project than I usually do, mostly because I need to be focused on the revisions on The New Project now during the ramp-up time. But I'm not going totally without preparation because this is a project that's been living in my head for more than twenty years, so I've put quite a bit of thought into it.

I think I'll go with my M&M system for reaching page goals as I write, then use TV or Internet fun for my daily goal reward. I'll have to think of something fun for a completion reward.


Carradee said...

I'm thinking I'll actually participate in NaNoWriMo this year, too...

Though since I've recently started playing an MMO I like again, we'll see how that goes. I'm figuring if I tend to write 2k words each day (since I won't be writing on Sundays or on days I hang out with friends), I should be good.

But that's 2-3 hours for me.

In the least, I'm hoping this will help me speed up. Did you have to learn how to write as fast as you do, or is it pretty much natural?

devon ellington said...

It's definitely do-able.

By the way, I have a free download handbook for surviving Nano (tested on several years' worth of newbies I've mentored).

You can download it from my site:

It's the second book on the page, under HEX BREAKER.