Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Time Management Tuesday: National Novel Writing Month

Today is the first day of National Novel Writing Month, which I had hoped to take part in this year for the first time since 2004. ( I had remarkably little to say about the experience here. So unlike me.) However, because I did a second revision of the mummy book, I didn't have time to prepare. National Novel Writing Month involves writing a 50,000 word draft in one month. It's extremely difficult to do without preparation.

Set Aside Time

I'm a supporter of what I call Set Aside Time, a time scheduled for a specific task. For writers, this might be intensive writing, a binge, you might say. That's what National Novel Writing Month is about. I've heard of even established writers, people who write regularly all year round, taking part in NaNoWriMo in order to jump start new projects.

Word Count And The What-The-Hell Effect

One suggestion I'd make for anyone taking part in National Novel Writing Month is to not let that 50,000 word count requirement work against you. If you're going to make it to 50,000 words in one month, you need to write in the area of 1,666 words a day, every day. Weekends. Thanksgiving. The whole thing. That daily average doesn't sound like much? If you don't make it a few days, the average you have to make for the rest of the month grows larger. And larger and larger. That can become grim.

Remember, willpower failures are most likely to occur when we experience setbacks and feel bad about them. If you start missing your daily goals by week three, or week two, or the end of week one and feel you now have no hope of making your 50,000 word month goal, don't let yourself feel bad about it. You run the risk of giving in to the What-the-Hell-Effect. What the Hell? I'm not going to make it, anyway. There's no hope. I'll just quit.

If you just quit, yeah, there's no hope that you'll make the 50,000 words. Keep going, and who knows? You might experience a couple of really good days and get back on track.

More importantly, though, is that if you don't quit, you may finish the month with 30,000 words on a new project. Or 20,000 words. Or 10,000.  You could finish the month with any kind of start on a manuscript, material you wouldn't have if you hadn't kept working.

Sure, if you don't make the 50,000 word goal, you won't get whatever badge or reward the NaNoWriMo folks give out. (I really don't know what they do.) But is the point of your involvement with National Novel Writing Month to get the NaNoWriMo treat? Or is it to write? Because if it's to write, any writing you do is valuable.

Fine Talk From Someone Who's Not Doing NaNoWriMo This Year, Gail

NaNo Materials I Need To Go Through
I'm not doing National Novel Writing Month in the traditional sense.  What I am going to do, though, is the prep work I should have done before this month. What I'm hoping to have by the end of November is not a completed draft, but the prep work so that I can write a draft in the future. That will be a whole lot more than what I've got on this project now.

We'll talk more about this later.

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