Thursday, October 8, 2015

It Approaches... aka NaNoWriMo

That is right. After a long silence I'm going to talk about the first thing that comes to mind and right now, with it being already October 8th, the thing I'm focused on is getting ready for NaNoWriMo.

Yep, I'm doing it again this year. Last year was one of my not successful years but I don't have any qualms or regrets about taking part in it or any of the camp ones where I didn't write much. Even not making it to 50k (or in camp whatever goal was chosen) is still an accomplishment if something gets written.

Whether to prepare ahead of time or not is going to be a personal decision. It did help me the first year that I succeeded in getting 50,000 words. However, since then I have both prepped novels and written ones with no prep. Either way can go well and the end result tends to vary on the novel. Some are easier to write than others. I'm prepping this year but not as ahead of schedule as I've been in the past but still making progress. Although I'm finding I don't know much about this story yet. We'll see if that's the case when writing time comes too. Either way, I'll be writing.

One thing I need to work on as we get closer to November is going to be a schedule. I have a lot going on in general, plus will be gone for 6 whole days as my stepsister is getting married and I'm driving out to attend the wedding plus spending a day with family in a different state. I won't have much writing time at all from the 3rd through the 6th. So, I won't be trying to get 50k in 10 days or less this year. In fact, my normal beginning push and end of month slow down will need to be reversed. I will have work at least 5 days a week and the hours will either be closing or middle of day shifts, but not sure at this time. Plus, I have the gym though I will be running a little less by then since after the 10k the goal is just to maintain until spring, when I start training for the half marathon. The last few months, I have struggled to keep up with things, like blogging, and am slowly working on  regaining my ground. Hope to keep it forward so that by 2016, things run smoother.

I do have some suggestions, however, when it comes to November's writing and the results of the excursion. I could talk a lot about tips for during and before NaNoWriMo but we'll keep it to a few things for now.

A couple of things I don't recommend during and after NaNoWriMo:

1. Sending out to publishers or agents right after November ends, or with that novel a few months later. While it's exciting to have a novel written, there is much left to be done and the first is to take a little time away from the story. Plus, many agents and editors are closed to submission over the holidays.

2. Publishing right after November or a mere few months later. I'm not against self publishing and if that's what you want to do then great. However, I do recommend taking a little time between drafts and doing more than one draft of the story before putting it out for the waiting audience. Unless that is your already established protocol of doing very fast drafts and putting it out there where you have a readership that supports such, I just don't recommend it.

3. Fretting over word count often. I have seen a few spend almost more time worrying about how behind they've gotten than actually writing. Don't put too much into panic or talking about how you should be writing. Or posting too much in forums when you have 10,000 words to catch up on. Plus, even if you only write 5,000 for the whole month (I might have made close to that my very first attempt), it's still more than you had October 31. Whether you take a month or three years to finish a novel, doesn't matter. Just write.

4. Ignoring everything for the sake of the novel. Perspective and balance are still good to have during November. Sure, the house can be a little messier and meals take less labor, but it's also not good to completely ignore everyone or skip out on responsibilities just for the sake of getting to 50,000 words. Write, yes, but don't ignore the rest of your life entirely.

Those are just some general pointers. I know not everyone is a fan of the national novel writing month with the quick writing and rough draft results. For me, it works and helps me focus on a single story for exactly one month. Now I'm going to get back to preparing for it and write a few scenes/stories on the side because I multi-task and over commit.