Yes, I do have a plan for attacking the massive project that is NaNoWriMo.
First, it is important to understand that the point of NaNoWriMo is to get 50,000 words on paper. The goal is not to create 50,000 publishable words. The goal is to get a rough draft. The project instructions specifically say that editing anything you write during NaNoWriMo is a big no-no! The goal is to get a big chunk of words written that you can then go back and edit after November.
That said, here’s my plan…
To achieve 50,000 words in the thirty days of November, you need to write 1,667 words per day, every day, to achieve the goal. If you take weekends off and lose eight days of writing, you need to write 2,273 words on every weekday to hit the mark. Don’t forget…the Thanksgiving holiday is in there, too. More potential days off. If you take those days off, your daily goal for the remaining days goes up.
My particular writing style is that I always do my rough drafts in longhand, in notebooks like Moleskine or Picadilly. I’ve tried to compose on a keyboard, but it never goes as smoothly as longhand. I find myself editing as I go, and that is a huge anchor when you are attempting a word count goal.
One of the most important lessons that I learned in the California Conservation Corps is that the way you accomplish big goals is to break them down into smaller pieces that are easily manageable. 1,667 words per day is an intimidating number. A much easier number to work with is 500. I know I can write 500 words pretty easily. I am pretty sure that I can write 500 words before work, 500 words after work, and 500 words before bed, for 1500 words. That leaves about 167 words to account for at some other time during the day. I can round that up to 200 words. I can find time for 200 words during breaks at work and on lunch. That would give me 1,700 words per day, and I should be able to achieve my goal comfortably. Right? (That dull roar you are now hearing in the background is all of those NaNoWriMo veterans laughing at my cute and tidy plan.)
Since I’m going to be writing longhand and won’t have the handy word count feature at the bottom of my page as I write, I had to personalize my production math for this project. What I discovered is that I average 171.8 words per page in my notebooks when I fill a page. Three pages are 515 words. There are about 80 pages in every notebook. I should fill four notebooks by the end of November.
There is my target. Ten or eleven pages in my notebook, every day. Three pages before work, three pages after work, three pages before bed, and about a page-and-a-half whenever I can during the day. Here is where the beauty of my notebook comes in: I can fit it in my back pocket. It is always with me. When I come out of FoodMaxx, before I start the car, I can knockout a couple of paragraphs. Easily.
And there you have my NaNoWriMo Attack Plan.
Military planners say that no plan survives initial contact with the enemy. We shall see.
Fellow NaNoWriMo writers…what is your plan? Share it with us!