Every year I think I’m free but they pull me back in.
National Novel Writing Month is approaching, and once again, I’ll be participating. That being said, I am going to be working towards that 50k goal on my own terms. It doesn’t serve me very well to just crank out thousands and thousands of words worth of stream-of-consciousness narration and then look back on it in December and see the text version of a tangled box of Christmas lights so I am going to take a more organized approach.
Here’s my 2014 NaNoWriMo Plan:
Use this month to write a rough draft: Last year I did this and it was a great exercise in working through a plot idea and trying to stitch together all the ideas I had for a story. The story itself is a mess and a half, but nevertheless it was a great way to force myself to get through the hemming and hawing that comes from conceptualizing a story. Once you start putting ideas to paper (digital or otherwise) you can get a clear picture of what’s going to work and what isn’t.
Also use this month to clean out my in-progress short stories: I use my Gmail account’s draft folder as a sort of cloud drive for short stories, plot and character ideas, and keeping all the other crafty and creative things that spring to mind close at hand. It’s nice to be able to have a few hundred words of a story on hand that you can pull up on any computer without having to constantly shuffle the most current saved file back and forth between multiple machines.
At the moment I have seven incomplete stories in my draft folder, and I’d like to have at least five of them completed by the end of November. Even if they turn out to be flash fiction, that’s around 10k worth of word towards the NaNoWriMo goal and more importantly, five more stories to submit to markets. I am looking forward to this challenge as I feel it will be a good way to take a break from working on the rough draft without removing myself from writing. If I finish all seven stories, then great! Woo-hoo, go me!
So that’s-a my plan.
Additionally, I like to throw some sort of personal motivation into the mix. The thrill of 50k in a month is pretty sweet, but hey, I’m a base human being and enjoy my rewards being a little more tangible. As NaNoWriMo draws nearer I will have to figure out some little treat for myself as a reward for certain word goals.
The trick here is to make sure it is something that you cannot just wait until December to get; it has to be a fleeting chance at achieving it only through word count. For me, this works best when I deny myself something, only allowing myself access to it again after I reach 10k, 20k, 30k, and so on. For example, I’ll buy a package of Biscoff cookies (SO GOOD) and put it up on a high shelf, only allowing myself to open them after I reach 20k. If I never reach that word count then they get handed over to a friend. I never buy them in day-to-day life, so it’s rare enough to entice me without being overly expensive or anything.
Man, Biscoff are so good. I love those stupid cookies.
Are you participating in NaNoWriMo? Have an idea for a story yet, or waiting for the Muse to sweep you off your feet on November 1st? What kind of motivation would keep you writing during the long haul?
I’m user MuchandQuick on the NaNo forum, so feel free to find me and we’ll be buddies!