Posts Tagged ‘planning’


NaNo ’09

   Posted by: Faith    in NaNoWriMo

It’s almost that time of year again… time to hunker down at the computer for hours on end, typing away furiously, drinking too much coffee and eating far, far too many potato chips… ah yes, National Novel Writing Month. What could be better?

Not only will I be attempting it again this year (year three!), but I’m also the Municipal Liaison for my region. As a first-time ML, the learning curve is a bit steep, but so far we have more people signed up than we did last year, so that’s encouraging. I’ve also done quite a bit of promotion, and I think that may be helping as well — not to mention that several other Wrimos in the region are helping out with posters and promo, which is fantastic. Really, NaNo is a community event that works best when everyone helps out, so I’m extremely grateful for the help I’ve received so far.

If you’ve never tried NaNoWriMo, why not make this year your first? Afraid that pumping out 50,000 words in one month is too hard? Or you’ll end up with too much crap if you try to write that quickly?

As writers, we should be writing every day anyway (though I admit, that’s not always realistic). I know many writers try for 500-1000 words per day, which seems like a reasonable goal. If we’re going with the high end, that’s 30,000 words in one month. You can do that, yes? So why not just tack on an extra 667 words per day — that’s just a few paragraphs! — and make it to 50,000? Easy, right?

Well, it is if you know what you’re doing. Here are a few tips to help you make it through the 2009 NaNoWriMo season, if you’ve decided to join up for that wonderful journey. And if you’ve signed up, come friend me on the website! (dark_phoenix)

Tips for Surviving NaNoWriMo 2009

1. Plan ahead.

This doesn’t mean just thinking about your novel… I’m talking actual planning. Whether it’s point form notes, a character interview, or plot cards, you’ll be more likely to keep momentum going if you have at least a bare bones idea of where your story is headed. You might also want to plan ahead in terms of your laundry, groceries, pet care, and babysitting. NaNoWriMo can get pretty consuming… just sayin’.

2. Decide to scrap the linear approach.

This is a real preparation step, because for some people, writing out of sequence is the most terrifying concept they’ve ever heard. However, if you get stuck at a scene because your Muse decided to take the afternoon off, how are you going to make your word count? You could pad it, sure… or do the cheap thing and fill your novel with song lyrics… or you could pluck a scene card out of the pile, and simply begin writing a different scene in the novel. Then, when you’re ready, come back to the one you left and finish it.

3. Prepare meals ahead of time.

If you live alone, or without parents, or with a signficant other, meals are going to cause a bit of concern. Making a decent dinner can take upwards of an hour, and with busy lives, how can you fit food AND writing together? Why not make some casseroles now and freeze them? Or, you could go the easy route and just eat boxed Kraft Dinner all month (I might…). Either way, prep and warn. Just make sure you actually eat… that’s pretty important.

4. Vaccum. Now.

No, seriously. You won’t be cleaning your house for the next month, so make it a goal to get the place spotless by Oct.31st. Besides, the neighbors will be bringing the kids over for trick-or-treat and will probably be nosy enough to glance inside your front door, so you might as well make the place look great ahead of time.

5. Buy snacks & coffee.

Instead of worrying about what you’ll eat when snack time rolls around, stock up on things like coffee/tea/hot chocolate & chips/popcorn/cookies/fruit bars/crackers… whatever brain food you need. Prep some veggies & fruit a few days before November hits, and you’ll be set for about a week and a half. Remember that while junk food makes you feel great for awhile, you’ll eventually crash and feel like crap afterward… I say, pick the chips when you’re having a late-night catch-up writing session, but go for the healthy stuff when you need longevity during the day. But that’s just me — pick snacks that’ll work for you and that won’t make you feel disgusting when Nov.30th arrives and you awaken from your writing stupor.

6. Clear your schedule.

Dinner party invite? Nope. Visit to the in-laws? Sorry! Coffee with friends? Well… okay, you’d better make sure you don’t decline everything. In fact, telling others what you’re doing will create a system of accountability that’ll keep you writing, even when the only thing keeping you going is guilt! “How’s that novel coming? You know, the one you missed my birthday party for?” See? Guilt is an excellent motivator. Create a managable schedule, then let everyone know about it.

7. Visit your regional forums & attend local events.

Stats say that people who do this are more likely to accomplish the 50,000 word goal… because you’ll have a support system, encouragement, and competition from others in the area. Are you seriously going to let that 12-year-old finish writing her novel ahead of you? Well, maybe, but you’ll give it a good run in the meantime.

…so, get plotting, cleaning, and cooking… and you’ll have a successful NaNoWriMo! What’s that? Who has time for all of that now, let alone at any other time of the year? *hrrumph* Well… don’t say I didn’t warn you.

And if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to CostCo to buy a case of KD. Or two.

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Where Am I Now?

   Posted by: Faith    in Everything Else

It’s mid-September, 2009. How did we get here so fast? Another summer zipped by, and another fall is well on its way… and what do I have to show for it?

Well, not much. Or at least I feel it’s not much, but here’s where I stand in terms of WIPs and so forth:

  • A Work in Progress (2007) – First Draft complete, currently under second read-through.
  • The Door in the Wall (2008) – First Draft complete (minus a few paragraphs at the end), currently under first read-through.

Yikes. That’s a lot of work… the 2008 manuscript needs a lot more work before it’s coherent in any way, and I feel the 2007 novel is much, much closer to being ready than it was a year ago. Lots of edits still to do, but progress is progress. The frustrating part is that I want to be able to devote myself to new stories, and I wish these ones would just be done & get out of the way for awhile. But, that’s not how we writers do things, is it? :) Baby steps, baby steps.

In the meantime, I’m trying to:

  • Plot my 2009 NaNoWriMo novel.
  • Think about which novel to write as part of a course I’m taking (more on that sometime soon).
  • Do the work for above mentioned course.
  • Finish my cat care ebook.
  • Finish edits on an inspirational booklet for a client.
  • Learn my way around in my new volunteer editor position for an online flash fiction magazine (more on that another time too!).
  • Find more work that I can actually be paid for!

This comes in the midst of teaching 2 dance classes a week, taking an additional 3 dance classes for myself (two of which are performance troupes), trying to read & review all the ARCs that keep showing up in my mailbox, maintaining this blog, editing the blog for Lifeline, keeping my friends (haha), caring for a cat/bird/husband & all associated things that come with a marriage and household. Ah, and I have an application in to be this year’s NaNoWriMo Municipal Liaison for my region (which I should hear back about within the next week).

It’s a lot. I probably missed something in there, but that’s that, and now it’s documented… so people can bug me about getting my work done! I figured, it’s been awhile since I updated everyone on what I’m doing, so there you have it! Apologies if it came off as whiny… not my intention :)

And to all of you who have huge projects you’re dealing with, or many little ones you’re trying to juggle, I wish you all the best in the coming months. Autumn is a beautiful season (my favorite, actually), but is it ever busy… yet somehow, I look forward to it every year. Good luck with whatever you’re doing! And if you’re really excited about it, please go ahead and share it with us in the comment section!

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I am perpetually making plans.

  • I have a plan to write X number of words per week.
  • I have a plan to submit X number of articles/queries per month.
  • I have a plan to complete X number of Masters’ courses per year.
  • I have a plan to wake up at this time or that time every day.
  • I have a plan to make this or that a priority, “for real” this time.

Then I scrap all the plans and start again. Whoever said “those who fail to plan, plan to fail”, well… they obviously never met me!

Inevitably, my plans fail over and over again. It’s this bizarre cycle that I can’t seem to break. Every time I make a new set of plans, I feel like I’m getting a fresh start. Another chance to ‘get it right’, and how could it go wrong with such a perfect plan?

I’m still trying to figure that one out. Trying to figure out how to hit that sweet spot where motivation is accessible, and how to cover over that inevitable, often comfortable, pit of despair that we writers fall into.

What about you? Do you make plans & are you able to carry them off consistently? What keeps you on the right track?

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