Preparing for the NaNoWriMo challenge is, like most annual events happening in 2020, familiar and very different.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is the challenge that writers take on to complete a 50,000 word manuscript in the month of November. The writing only takes place in the month of November which breaks down the word count to about 1,667 words every day to achieve the 50,000 words. Anyone can take on the challenge. I completed my first NaNoWriMo challenge in 2017 and every year since has been completely different. It is a great activity as writers who participate are guaranteed to finish at least one draft of a manuscript a year, which has always been a great motivator. I plan my year around what idea I’d like to tackle in November and always set aside October and some of September for story prep based around that idea. I don’t start any of the writing for the manuscript until November first. During September and October I do writing activities around the ideas that I have, I lay the foundation for the three act structure of the story, and then brainstorm scenes based on what I know will happen. Going into November, my family and I talk about the challenge so the girls will know what I’m doing and I try to get some foods in the freezer and meal plan around me taking time at night to write. This has traditionally been my prep and I’d like to say that is what I’m preparing for this year, but honestly, it just isn’t.
In this year of 2020 when things are so different, that background level of anxiety and fear that lives in the corner of each day carries with me into my NaNoWriMo prep. Every time I think of something I would be doing this time last year to get ready or would have already accomplished on my planner list for NaNoWriMo prep, I have to stop and remember what is happening. I remember that it’s OK to be sad, it’s OK to be afraid, and then to move on and do my best to take care of my corner of the world. I want to complete this challenge because I love it so much, but I need to remember that this year is just going to be different and that’s OK. The most important thing is that I take the whole process one step at at time. I know what I’m going to write about and even if I accomplish nothing else planning wise, I’ve got what I need to start writing November first.
Last week I realigned my goals for the month of October and November. I’m setting myself up for time to free write in October, do some revising on MS:SB, and then focus on NaNoWriMo. I am very, VERY excited to write this draft in November. This coming week I’ve got some resources to look at that may or may not help with whatever planning I get done and then I really want to free write. I know it will help me unlock some of the background I need to know about my story before I begin.
What’s the most helpful thing in moving forward with projects this year? In case you haven’t been told recently, you are more than enough.