Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Time Management Tuesday: The Reason You Need To Plan To Make Good Use Of NaNoWriMo Time

U.S. Visitors: Once you've taken care of voting, it's time to get back to National Novel Writing Month.

Visitors From Other Countries: No, I have no explanation for what's been going on here.

Visitors From Everywhere: Even if you're not actually taking part in NaNoWriMo this year, there are things we can learn about managing time during National Novel Writing Month that we can use all year long.

Last week I explained that I'm not doing National Novel Writing Month in the traditional sense.  Instead, I'm doing the prep work I should have done earlier in order to really do NaNoWriMo. Now, I'm sure I have readers (one in particular) who are thinking, Prep, prep, prep. Why don't you just sit down and write? Because prepping is how you write faster with a better quality result. What can happen with no prep? you ask. Read on.

A Case In Point

The first thing I did last week for my NaNoWriMo event was read over the work I did for NaNoWriMo 2004. I think I may have done some revision on it sometime in the past twelve years, and I've certainly thought about various things I could do with it. That thinking and all the time that's passed meant that I didn't recall this material in detail.

Well, I couldn't be happier with what I read. Clever dialogue. Clearly defined characters (at least to me). Interesting structure. And, when I did a word count, I discovered I had something like 53,000 words. I'd made the NaNoWriMo word goal. Why, I was nearly done.

No, I was not. All I had were some scenes. I had a situation. Barely. Those 53,000 words were not remotely like a novel.

The Mistake I Made Before My First National Novel Writing Month

In 2,000 to 10,000 How to Write Faster, Write Better, and Write More of What You Love, Rachel Aaron says that an important element in writing faster (which is what you have to do during National Novel Writing Month) is knowing what you're going to write before you get started.  I clearly entered that first NaNoWriMo attempt with just some ideas about a couple of women saying funny things at church. I had not prepared myself with a story. I did not know what I was going to write before I got started.

I won't say that that first NaNoWriMo effort was a waste of time. Very little in life is a true waste. What I will say is that I made very poor use of my time in November, 2004.

Next Week: What I should have done, and what I'm trying to do now.

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