Prep-tober: preparing for the writing road

It’s that’s time of the year again.

The leaves are changing color, the air is getting colder, and my social media is flooded with writers gearing up for NaNoWriMo. Every year as November rolls around, writing from around the country plan to write 50,000 words in a single month. For the more mathmatically minded, that comes down to 12,500 words a week, or 1,666 words a day. That’s more a day than most people write in their lifetime after leaving school.

Every writer has their own strategy for NaNoWriMo.

Some writers are serious planners. They plan every plot point of their novel before the month begins, and use create charts or use apps to track their daily word count. Others have a more relaxed approach. They write when the mood stricks, and see where inspiration takes them. Most writers use a more mixed approach to the challenge: some level of plotting and some level of sponanteousness. There’s no “right” way to approach this yearly venture.

I try a new strategy every year.

Every year I ry some version of a writing challenge, any every year I fail. Whether I try going for all 50,000 words, writing a new short story every week, or even just writing every day- I can’t seeme to do it. I’ve tried the detailed charts, goal-reaching rewards, letting the words flow naturally, and everything in between. Nothing ever seems to work. Still, I have no plan on giving up, no matter how unlikely I am to fail.

What’s this year’s plan?

This year it’s all about accountability. If no one is watching, if no one is checking in, I won’t do it. Word count trackers that give me gold stars when I meet my goals aren’t enough. I need the fear of shame, the pressure of the people to keep me on track. So, I’m enlisting my writer friends to scare me into meeting my deadline.

How are the preperations going?

  1. First comes the plot. I am a plotter: I need to know the whole story from beginning to end before I start. Sometimes the story will evolve on it’s own, and that’s okay! But I feel most comfortable when I have a roadmap to start the journey. Right now my plot is outlined and awaiting final details.
  2. Second comes the tracker. There are a variety of great apps created just for NaNoWriMo. There are trackers that include writing chatrooms, some that allow you to compete with friends, and some that publish your progress for the world to see. The right app can be the best tool in your writing kit. This week I’m trying some out to find my fit.
  3. Finally comes enlistment. I have a few friends I’ve discussed this with before, but now comes time for confirmation. With one or two people checking in on me each week, and putting the pressure on when I don’t meet my marks, I think I’ll keep my feet to the fire.

Will this all work? Probably not. I am nothing if not realistic, but I like to try. Failure isn’t always a bad thing. Even if I don’t finish my novel, I’ll at least get a start on it. That’s good enough.

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