Panic is setting in! What have I done? I have signed up for NaNoWriMo for the very first time. Now why would I do that? I have queries to write, chapters and synopses to get printed, all of these to get out to publishers, my second novel which is historical fiction already begun and 5 chapters written, and I've signed up to write 50,000 words on a brand new novel in one month's time??? And that month includes Thanksgiving, which means at least 2-3 days of no writing at all. I seriously think I've lost my mind.
If I've lost my mind, perhaps some of you have, also. I can't be the only crazy writer around here, can I?? So let's talk about some ways we might be able to lessen the panic, and still get some productive work done.
For those of you who outline...I'm not one of you...doing your outline during the rest of October is a great idea. For those of you who are like me and don't outline, here are some other suggestions.
1. Get Organized!
I put this in red because I am NOT organized when it comes to writing...or anything else, my DH would say. Do you have a specific place to write? A study, a den, your bedroom, the kitchen table? Try to get ONE place for your computer and make it off limits for the entire month of November for anyone else in the family! And if that means eating in the formal dining room, or on TV trays in the living room, , or making hubby and kids watch TV or do homework someplace else, so be it. After all, it's only for a month, anyone can live with that, right?
1a. Outline? sticky notes?:
So okay, it's all going to be in red. Have you outlined your novel? I won't talk about outlines because I hate them, and those of you who do decent outlines already know more about them than I do. And you can outline your novel this month, too.
But I love sticky notes! I have them on my computer, the window, my bookcase, three different places on my desk, one on my printer, two on the lamp shade, and I even tried to put one on Dylan last night, but he ate it.
The sticky notes are ideas that come to mind in the middle of watching TV or doing dishes or cleaning the parrot cages. I run in here, grab a sticky note pad, jot the idea down and stick it...well, any place. I'm hoping this works for the Nano novel as well as it has for my other novel.
2. The Little Devil Who Sits on Our Shoulder and Whispers in Our Ear...You Know, The One Known as Our Inner Critic?
Okay, we've got to get rid of her immediately if not sooner. We are not supposed to critique, edit, or revise during this month. This novel is going to be a rough...very rough...draft. So tell your inner critic to BUG OFF! I don't know...put her in a shoebox and stick her under the bed; stuff a nasty rag in her mouth; put ear plugs in; borrow Pongo's trident and pin her butt to the wall ( and if you aren't acquainted with Pongo, you're missing someone extraordinary!). Do whatever you have to do to shut that critic's mouth for 30 days! Ignore her nasty comments about wrong spelling here, convoluted punctuation there...it just doesn't matter! For now, anyway.
3. Put Some Soft Lovely Music On:
No matter what your musical tastes are, this is the time for soft, lyrical, quiet music. It helps you think without becoming involved in what the music is all about. Try something by Ferante and Teichner, or John Tesh, or some of the "mood" music you find in stores like Target or K-Mart. No rock n' roll ( too loud), no opera ( too dramatic), no country( too sorrowful), just something quiet and peaceful even if it's not what you normally listen to.
4. Planning Our Time to Write:
None of any of these suggestions, or those on any other sites, are going to make any difference if we don't plan time to write. I'm retired, so it is easier for me to plan out time than for most writers, who also juggle outside jobs and family ( kids) responsibilities. So how are we going to do this? We've got to set aside a specific amount of time each day ( or night) to do nothing but write. If that means getting up an hour or two earlier than usual, set your alarm. If it means writing after the kids go to bed, tell your husband it's only for a month, so quit pouting about "no me" time. If it means not watching TV after dinner, either record the programs or just do without...you already know how the majority of them are going to turn out, anyway !
The point of all this is, that for this particular event, we all have to be a heck of a lot more serious, concentrated, focused and determined than usual if we are going to meet that 50,000 word required in 30 days time. And for most of us, because of Thanksgiving, relatives coming, cooking and baking, it's not even a full 30 days. I've never done this before, but people who have tell me that when you finish that 50,000 words you have a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Even though the novel is a rough, rough draft, and even though you will have to go back and edit and revise until you are blue in the face, the fact is...you have written a full novel ( or more than half of one that you can add to) in a very short period of time.
Yes...I can definitely understand that feeling of accomplishment when November 30 rolls around, and we can add our names to the list of those who strived and succeeded.
Are you with me?