National Novel Writing Month 2011: Introduction

Hello, folks! Two days ago was November first, the beginning of a month that means a lot to me, and one of the reasons it does so is simple–it’s nation novel writing month! For those of you who don’t know about it, National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), November, is a month where many writers start a goal to write at least 50,000 pages of a novel by the end of the month. It, to me, seemed like a wonderful opportunity to finally finish the first novel in a series I’ve been planning for two years, and, ironically, I began working on this novel long before I knew about National Novel Writing Month and just so happened to begin planning it in November of that year!

I’ve sprung head-first into my NaNo novel and am currently nearing 8,000 words. It’s not much, but seeing as it’s so early into NaNoWriMo, I’m proud of myself for that. I’m very excited to participate, so tonight, I’m going to share my plan for the month and how I’m going to get through it!

Since I’ve got relationships to sustain, I’m trying to get a plan that works with my schedules and will let me keep free reign over my life rather than let NaNoWriMo take over  it. How am I going to do this? Well, I’m naturally a fast typer, so, obviously, I’m going to start off by working on the computer in one document for the most part, so that I can get in as many words as I can in during the free time I have. I’m trying to set aside an hour or two per day to just focus on getting ideas and increasing the word count as much as possible, without going so much that my mind turns to mush for the night and everything gets shitty.

I don’t want my NaNoWriMo project to make me cringe at every other word when I finish, so I don’t want to be working on it to the point where it stresses me out, makes me run out of ideas and lets my brain run dry. I want to take the time with wording, plot, and making sure I’m not just using a pen filled with shit to write it. I’m not going through and taking the time to edit it all, only taking the time to make sure what comes out in my first draft isn’t a bunch of shit so when it’s done, I can edit it into something worth publishing.

If I can’t get a lot of writing in for the day, if any, then that’s okay. I’ll just make up for it on a day when I’ve got some extra time. Family and friends come first for me, so if it comes down to it, I pick them first, maybe try to get a little writing in right before if I have the time. If it starts to stress me out too much, I won’t force myself to keep writing, instead I’ll take a break and just calm down by doing something I enjoy, like spending time with people or watching a movie, reading something, taking a nap, watching the ID channel, or if it’s got me so stressed out that I’m feeling aggressive, I’ll try to get some work done on other things, since, for me, aggressive, stressful and frustrated feelings make it easier to be productive.

An important part of my plan is making sure I’m inspired to write. What tends to inspire me is being away from home, somewhere I can relax, so I’m going to be going to a nearby Starbucks every day or two to have a mocha (or if I’m feeling adventurous, a latte) and maybe a scone, piece of banana chocolate chip coffee cake, or even a double chocolate brownie, sit down and type away. My cousin, who’s like a sister to me, has gone with me during the preparation period, and earlier tonight, and once or twice, to get her college work done or catch up on her reading, so it’s both being productive and spending time together for us both.

If I’m feeling particularly inspired for it when I’m at home, I’ll get cracking. Of course, when I’m at home working on it, I will be much more ‘chill’ over it, talk to my family if they try to talk to me, chat with my beau, dick around tumblr, watch a little investigation discovery, you know, so that i’m not risking what I enjoy or any relationships while I take some extra time out of life for my NaNoWriMo project. If I’m not at home, but I don’t have my computer with me, and I’m getting all of these ideas on lines to use or new scenes, I won’t hesitate to whip out my trusty cell-phone and make a few memos containing whatever ideas I get.

It seems like some of the worst things to do during NaNoWriMo, at least for me, is to take it on too strong and spend so much time on it that you don’t have any or much time for the things and people you love, stressing yourself out about it and trying to force yourself to keep going, and not giving yourself a break. Don’t be hard on yourself, or your life – you CAN do it! It seems overwhelming at first, but if you try hard and keep in mind that you can do it without sacrificing your life or things you really enjoy for the month, you can do it, or at least make a lot of progress in your novel. If you don’t hit 50,000 by the end of the month, who cares? You can still finish it! It’s not like you’re forbidden from it, so just chill out, give yourself a break, and let your mind flow–do what’s best for you, not what’s best for pumping out a bunch of words faster, and don’t let writing become something that you have to do whether you like it or not rather than something that you WANT to do.

I’m going to try to post something about NaNoWriMo on here every week, be it about the event itself or my project, and I’ll probably be including word counts and updates on how it’s going no matter what in my NaNoWriMo related posts. I hope whoever finds this enjoys reading about my experience as it goes, and hopefully my plan can at least help someone else manage to do their NaNoWriMo without it getting out of hand for them.

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