NaNoLife: Scheduling a Writing Year

I wasn’t planning this yet, but the post about ROUTINE and the current global scenario prompted the topic.

I’ve been working on this system a while (at least 2 years) but this is the first year I planned to put it in practice. So far it’s going swimmingly.

COVID19 is not stopping my writing process.

I needed a system flexible enough to roll with the punches of everyday life, but rigid enough to show me what I needed to be doing any given day.

Here’s how this came to be:

I realized, one day in November many moons ago, I had the ability to sit down every day (or nearly every day) for a MONTH and do a thing.  A focused thing. Namely write a story.

I may have mentioned before this is not AT ALL a strength of mine.

but

I could do it for a month…

and if  I could do it for 1 month out of the year…

what if I could do it for 3?

what if I could do it for 9?

Let me introduce you to NaNoWriMo, also known as

NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH 

They’ve been changing things around as of 2019, so even if you’ve heard of NaNoWriMo before,  you might be surprised at some of the new features.

I may be the first one to figure this out, but I doubt it:
NaNoWriMo runs on certain months that are for writing. They emphasize editing and rest in other months throughout the year. I decided to take a leaf from their book and plan my writing, editing, and resting schedule around what they are doing on the website.

Let’s start with the WRITING MONTHS:

APRIL and JULY: CAMP NANOWRIMO This is a spin off of the November writing month, which we’ll get to,  and has a little more flexibility in the word counts. You can set your own goal and winning is easy.  You can even adjust your goal halfway through the process and still win. Camp is a great way to jump into NaNo if you’re a newbie, and a great way to dust off an old work if you’re not. 

Here’s some information about camp:

I use the camps in APRIL and JULY to reorganize or restructure projects I have worked on in the past, probably for another NOVEMBER NaNo. For example, I start a new project in NOVEMBER, leave it alone until MARCH, then start prepping it for the APRIL Camp.

CAMP IS ABOUT TO START AND I’D LOVE TO HAVE YOU IN MY CABIN!

If you’re interested at all, shoot me a line. I’m working on my cabin for April 2020 and there’s still PLENTY of time for you to jump in.

NOVEMBER: NAtionalNOvelWRItingMOnth: 50 thousand words in 30 days.

This is the contest I started back in 2013, but I didn’t win until 2015.

Winning is only completing the 50k words.

You get goodies and discounts, but no publication leg ups or anything like that. You don’t store any of your writing on the site, you just update your word count. The site has all kinds of new features now that I’m looking forward to using this year. Features that track your writing time per day, when you usually write and how many words at a time. I’m really excited to learn more about my writing process.

Next come the BREAK months: so far only DECEMBER.

But, I hear you asking, AUGUST and MAY are after Camps! Why don’t they become break months?

The short answer is because I don’t need them to be. I need a break from writing, sure, but I don’t need a break from my whole process. If I need a break I’ll take it, but a break from writing can also mean an editing month.

Here’s a secret: I often write in December.

I believe I’ve mentioned I’m compelled to write. It’s hard, once your story has been on your mind for a month, to stop thinking about it, but it is necessary to take a break from a project for at least a couple months. The exception would be if I did not finish in NOVEMBER, but that is becoming less of a problem the more times I compete in NaNoWriMo.

That brings us to EDITING MONTHS:

This year MAY is an editing month because I want to be done with BOOK 2 draft by JUNE 30. That makes JUNE an editing month this year as well as prep for Camp in JULY.

JANUARY AND FEBRUARY are always touted as NaNoWriMO editing months, but the organization is doing more now to promote that.

AUGUST and SEPTEMBER will also likely be editing months this year as I have two new projects in the works as well as a number of blogs.

PREPTOBER: OCTOBER becomes the month to prep for NaNoWriMo in NOVEMBER. I always start a new project in November, and I always use this month to plan out what I’m going to write about and how to plot it into something resembling a story. I all but write, in other words, flesh out an outline until the day comes…November 1st…

NOVEMBER: NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH

This is by far the most challenging part of my year. Not only do I have Thanksgiving and the holidays to contend with, but I’m starting a new project which is always a challenge. I come up with everything from the very beginning, plot, outline, and development of the characters.

This project really sets the tone for the whole next year.  It’s what I will work on in at least one of the Camps and what will be on my mind for at least the whole year and possibly those that follow.

MY NANOWRIMO YEAR

So, let’s do the year in order:

JANUARY: EDIT

FEBRUARY: EDIT or BREAK

MARCH: EDIT. PREP FOR CAMP NANOWRIMO

APRIL: WRITE! CAMP NANOWRIMO

MAY: EDIT

JUNE EDIT. PREP FOR CAMP NANOWRIMO

JULY: WRITE! CAMP NANOWRIMO!

AUGUST: EDIT

SEPTEMBER: EDIT or BREAK

OCTOBER: PREPTOBER!

NOVEMBER: WRITE! NANOWRIMO!

DECEMBER: BREAK!

Thanks for going through this year of planning. Even if writing is not your passion, I hope you’ve found some tips to help your workload, especially working from home.

Blessings and stay safe!

xxxlinsey

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