How I’m doing this year’s NaNoWriMo

I am so psyched about this year’s National Novel Writing Month. The goal: write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November. This year I’m doing some things differently:

  • I’ve taken the planning charts from James V. Smith’s You Can Write a Novel and transcribed them into one Excel document. There is a worksheet for characters, minor characters, scenes and thematic images. I’ve already created all new characters and planned out my novel’s scenes. If you want a copy of the spreadsheet, let me know and I’ll email it to you.
  • Usually I write the first draft straight through, unwrapping the story chronologically. This year, I am jumping around from scene to scene. This helps with motivation because I will only be writing the most important scenes first and if I get to 50,000 words, I stop. If not, I keep adding minor scenes to fill in the gaps until I hit my goal.
  • Just like Oprah says we should write down what we eat to keep on top of weight loss goals, I’m journaling my NaNoWriMo progress by writing a few sentences each day reviewing how it’s going.
  • I’m taking a break from writing the second draft of the novel I’ve been working on and writing a totally new story for NaNoWriMo. I had decided to make some major changes to the second draft, but before I do that, I want to write an unrelated story.
  • I’m going to be deliberate about writing every morning at the coffee shop and get my daily goal of 1600 words. On my free evenings I’ll write more. I’m making it sound so simple.

As I say every year, NaNoWriMo is not about creating a masterpiece of literature. It’s about having a blast while writing a story and not worrying about how good it is, not editing oneself on the journey, and being amazed how much a writer can accomplish when a goal has been set.

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