Yes, it’s that time of year again, when writers everywhere, both professional and wannabies, gather around their computers and word processors for that insanity of fun that is known as National Novel Writing Month!
Yes, that’s right. I’m one of those crazies that love to participate in this every year. It’s always a good time, and each time I do it, I learn something about writing a novel. But, before the big event starts, there are always things I need to do to prepare for it. And not all of them involve planning a plot or outlining my stories.
This does not mean that outlining and planning do not need to happen. They most certainly do. And I do a little of that before hand. But one thing I have learned in the years I’ve done NaNoWriMo is that I, personally, do better the less planning I have done. A basic outline, the character’s basic stories written, and that’s about it. It works well for me.
But, to me, the non-writerly things are more important. These include, but are not limited to, house work, time off from the office, grocery shopping, and just generally making sure that all the mundane things are done before November 1.
For example, each year, I try to take the first week of November off work, so I have time to just sit and write. I can usually get a big lead on the needed 50,000 words during that week, so it pays off for me to do so. But, taking that week off and working on writing, I need to make sure that stuff around the house that would normally distract me is taken care off. This means, making sure the dishes are all washed the night before I start writing. Laundry is done before that week. All the grocery shopping is done. Any cleaning that needs to happen in the living room takes place before that week begins.
This way, I can just focus on writing.
Does it always work? Well, to be honest, it hasn’t completely worked yet. Mostly because it’s tough to get everything done before the writing begins. However, getting as much of this mundane stuff done as I can before I start the writing helps me focus better, and so in that respect, I have to say that it’s a huge success.
Even if that means that sometimes, I’m still vacuuming instead of writing.