The Off Campus Writers' Workshop in Chicago publishes an on-line column, About Write, on writing-related material. The most recent offering, by Susan Bearman, is National Novel Writing Month: you should give NaNoWriMo a go Sadly, I didn't give National Novel Writing Month a thought until I saw this article. Once I did give it a thought, I realized that I could use this temporal landmark this year.temporal landmarks are special occasions and calendar dates that mark out a period of time that's different from what came before and creates an opportunity for a fresh start. For hundreds of thousands of writers over a number of years now, National Novel Writing Month has become that special occasion and calendar date that creates opportunities for starting to write a new book.
Or, you can become a rogue writer, as Susan describes herself, and use the NaNoWriMo period to write something other than a novel. She'll be working on short stories. I'm going to be going rogue, too, and working on what I'm calling a "tonal revision" of a book-length work I finished earlier this year. My plan at that time was to put the manuscript away for a while and then work on heightening intensity all the way through the book and revise the last chapter. But when? Time was passing. Then Susan Bearman reminded me that NaNoWriMo is coming up. And I immediately assigned that job to that month.
While I'm a little late with this, I'm going to share that I have a number of blog posts on preparing for National Novel Writing Month. The more work you have done on the various elements of your story--characters, plot, setting, theme, voice--the easier it will be to get down to real work. I actually had the good luck last week to take a workshop that relates to next month's work. I'm also doing practical life prep--getting ahead on cooking. I do quite a bit of cooking but will be doing less next month.
Susan Bearman's article is not about prepping for NaNoWriMo but on encouraging people to try it at all. One of her reasons involves building writing community. I'm interested in paying attention to that next month. I'm shifting my writing interests from children's lit to short-form writing for adults. Dipping my foot into other communities would be a good idea for me.
I'm also being careful about how I frame NaNoWriMo preparation. It was probably October 16th or 17th when I realized I could be doing NaNoWriMo this year. Instead of allowing myself to think that this was out of the question for me because an important planning month was half over, I thought that I had half a month to plan.
Today we have seven days left to plan. I'm going to submit two short-form manuscripts to editors and maybe rough out a few blog posts before the 31st. And then, of course, I'm going to do more cooking.