Pulling a relevant post from the archives because I have lost my mind and decided to participate in NaNoWriMo this year.
(which isn’t ALTOGETHER crazy, since NaNo is how The Ruth Valley Missing came to be, so you never know…)
See you on the other side….
NaNoWriMo begins very soon. For those of you who don’t know, NaNo (yeah, that’s right, I’m using a nickname ‘cause we are tight like that) is a time when writers spend the month of November cranking out 50,000 words in one month.
This number of words can mean writing an entire (or a solid chunk of a) novel in the span of one month. It also means that the writers who participate are committing themselves to sitting down and regularly doing what they should do: write.
There are a lot of great resources bouncing around the interwebs at the moment on how to prepare for NaNoWriMo. Plotting methods, character charts, graphs, diagrams; the list goes on. It’s good stuff.
However, I am what is often referred to as a pantser. I’d go as far as saying that I am pantsless. I don’t have a pretty story board with color coordinated sticky notes (although that sounds like a lovely reason to spend some time at the office supply store…ahhh, the smell of fresh notebooks). I don’t always know where my story is going until I am there. For me, that is part of the fun.
Talk of planning makes me twitch. And maybe itch.
So, what is a pantsless writer like myself to do? I mean, if I am meant to crank out such a substantial amount of words in a short period, I should have some plan, right?
What follows is the Pantsless Plan for WriMos:
- Make a Schedule: No, not for writing, sillies. For all the stuff you need to get done. (see Creative Chores) It is easier to let the words flow if you don’t have a stack of dirty dishes threatening to topple behind you.
- Gather Sustenance: Your minutes are precious in November. Consider hitting up Coscto for the rain barrel of pretzels, ten pound bag of coffee, and three pound bag of chocolate covered acai berries. I’m watching out for your health by throwing the berries in there.
- Freeze Meals: Have a family? Large pans of lasagna and pots of stew can be made at the end of October, then frozen in the appropriate serving size.
- Creative Chores: Writing a book about pirates at sea? Envision the storm-like waves you are creating while scrubbing the toilet. Throw a Cheerio in there and picture the ship being tossed about. Make screaming sounds as you flush and the ship goes down in the whirlpool. Swordfight with the broom handle. Sneak around corners with the vacuum as if your life depended on your stealth.
- Change Voice Mail Message: Something like, “If this is an emergency, call over and over. Otherwise, I’ll talk to you in December.” If you use an email client that allows you to put an “Out of Office” message on, give that a go, too.
- Scout Locations: For the sake of your sanity, find spots other than that office chair that already has your butt groove in it where you can write comfortably. Preferably a few places out of the house, but close to home. The backyard, park, bookstore, or coffee shops are all acceptable choices.
- Pre-Apologies: If you live with anyone, start apologizing now for the following: snapping at them when they interrupt you mid-scene, neglecting your chores (see Make a Schedule to avoid this), and the smell of coffee breath and body odor coming from your writing corner. Come to think of it…
- Hygiene: Just saying. Although, ‘tis better your body stinks than your words. Shakespeare said that one, right?
- Print Out Cute Stuff: Everyone needs motivation. This will likely not come from real people around you, who think you are nuts, so try finding adorable animals to hang around your writing nook to encourage you instead.
We can’t all be planners. But we can be prepared.
What are your plans for NaNoWriMo? Do they include pants?