September 27, 2016
Note From Rochelle
Over the weekend, one of the subscribers let me know that the Plot Your Write Life Challenge had stopped sending quests to subscribers. Yikes!
We’ve discovered some technical issues with the shopping cart, which we’re working to fix. I’m trying to laugh at the absurdity of this: the challenge I created to help us write more is providing a whole new sort of challenge for me. Sigh! My apologies to you, readers!
And don’t worry, we’ll eventually fix the problem, and you’ll get your challenge. I PROMISE. And of course this all means that I’m keeping up the challenge page for a bit longer. So if you haven’t signed up yet, there’s still time. Visit The Plot Your Write Life Challenge page.
Today’s guest tip is from Janice Hardy—and it’s designed to get you in the mood for National Novel Writing Month!
Rochelle, the Write Now! Coach
5 Reasons Planning for NaNoWriMo
Can Help You Hit Your 50,000-Word Goal
By Janice Hardy
I love the whole idea of NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). Once a year, writers can push themselves to be productive and write a first draft in a single month. It’s a great motivator, and the social nature of it gives writers reasons to go out into the world and interact with fellow writers (The NaNo site is a fantastic resource for finding NaNo writers in your area). It’s a valuable tool for those who struggle to finish a draft, great for those who have trouble finishing anything because they can’t help editing as they go, and a fun way to test a new writing process.
One does not simply jump into NaNo.
The tight deadline and high daily word-count goal are hard to hit if you’re not prepared to write every day. October is the official planning month (call it NaNoPrepMo), so if you’re thinking about trying for those 50,000 words, here are five reasons planning for it are a good idea:
1. You’ll Be Ready to Write From Day One
Hitting your 1667-word goal on that first day makes a huge difference in how motivated you’ll be on the second day. Proving to yourself that you can do it takes some of the pressure off, which makes it easier every day after to reach your word-count goals. Miss your goal on Day One, and you’ll start Day Two behind, and worse, you’ll likely feel behind and get fewer words written. Which means you’ll be behind on Day Three, and so on, and by the end of the first weeks you might even give up. Why try if you’re already 8,000 words behind?
2. Every Day Will Have Instructions on What to Write
Knowing what to write when you sit down to write gives you an advantage. You won’t stare at the screen trying to develop a scene and figure out how your story unfolds. Your novel plan will give you a summary of what you need to do for that day. You’ll know what goal is driving your protagonist, what obstacles he or she will face, and what the stakes are for failure–all the plot-driving elements of a scene that keep it moving and you writing.
3. You’ll Have a Month of Prep Rolling Around in Your Brain
Prepping in October means you’ll have the entire story fresh in your head. You’ll know where it’s going, what the twists are, why the characters are trying to solve these problems, and how it all works out in the end (more or less). Your chapter or scene summaries will work as reminder notes and you’ll be able to more easily pull that brainstorming information out of your head and put it on the page.
4. You’ll Know You Have Enough Plot to Carry a Novel
A great idea can only get you so far if you don’t have enough plot to turn it into a whole novel. Getting halfway through the month, and then realizing you haven’t figured out the whole story and don’t know what to do next is a motivation killer. You’ll lose precious writing time plotting out the rest of the novel and might even weaken it with clichéd ideas or unoriginal first thoughts you’ll only have to revise later. Your novel deserves your best all month long, right?
5. You Won’t Face a Blank Page Every Day
Even if a blank page has never frightened you before, being on a tight deadline can turn that page into something fearsome. The more words you still need to write and the less time you have to write only adds to that pressure. If you know what each day will bring, then you never have to worry about staring at that blank page with no idea what to do about it. At the very least, you’ll have your notes and scene summary to look at.
Bonus Reason: Because 1667 Words Isn’t That Much When You Have Something Prepped to Write About
Some writers can write thousands of words a day, while others struggle to write hundreds. But the physical writing part isn’t really that hard–it’s the creation aspect that’s tough. Creating the story as you write it forces you to work twice as hard. But knowing the story ahead of time allows you to devote your energy to writing it all down when the pressure is on.
NaNoWriMo is a lot of fun, but not being ready for it can cause a lot of frustration and even self doubt. Make the most of your November by preparing for it in October.
Are you doing NaNoWriMo this year? Have you done it before?
If you’re doing NaNo this year, I urge you to check out my book Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure, a series of self-guided workshops that help you turn your idea into a novel, and the just-released companion guide, the Planning Your Novel Workbook. They’ll take you step-by-step through plotting your novel and make sure you’re ready to write come November 1.
Win a 10-Page Critique From Janice Hardy
Three Books. Three Months. Three Chances to Win.
To celebrate the release of my newest writing books, I’m going on a three-month blog tour–and each month, one lucky winner will receive a 10-page critique from me.
It’s easy to enter. Simply visit leave a comment and enter the drawing via Rafflecopter. At the end of each month, I’ll randomly choose a winner.
Janice Hardy is the award-winning author of The Healing Wars trilogy and the Foundations of Fiction series, including Planning Your Novel: Ideas and Structure, a self-guided workshop for planning or revising a novel, the companion Planning Your Novel Workbook, and the upcoming Revising Your Novel: First Draft to Finished Draft. She’s also the founder of the writing site, Fiction University. For more advice and helpful writing tips, visit her at www.fiction-university.com or @Janice_Hardy.