In terms of my writing year, NaNoWriMo is the beginning. Writing this novel sets the pace for the rest of the year. I know that if I routinely participate in NaNo, I’ll have at least one new novel a year.
Last year looked like this:
November—write like mad.
December through September—complete and polish the NaNo novel.
October—market the NaNo novel and start planning the next one.
Going into NaNo this year, my original goals were to be more organized (thanks to Karen Wiesner and her blogs) and to “win” by getting those 50,000 words down.
BUT, I can tell already that this year my NaNo novel will not take the whole year to wrap up. It’s starting off more organized and better written. I could only be talking big, but I think there is something to my routines. My writing muscles are stronger this time around.
So, as we reach the end of NaNoWriMo ’08 Week 1, I suggest we add another goal of noticing our writing routines.
Pay attention to how long it takes you to write a scene, a chapter, or get a certain word count. Are some days better than others? Can you kick out 3000 words on a Saturday, but only 800 on Monday?
You can make NaNoWriMo so much more than getting a novel written. If you are serious about writing you need to think beyond November 30th. Make it your goal to set up routines that you can carry into the rest of the year. Start by noticing your writing patterns and turn these into routines.
I wanted to do 2000 words a day so I could take Sundays off. I started off well, then fell behind and decided that the 1667 a day would be a more reasonable goal (who am I to argue with Chris Baty, Mr. NaNoWriMo himself?)
Then WEDNESDAY hit. I forgot about my Wednesdays. Busiest day of my week. When it came time to write I was too drained….but I had that goal!!! So I made myself sit and stare at the computer and type something like five sentences an hour. Ugh.
Then I remembered SATURDAY. That’s my day to blast through the word count. I have to protect and make Saturday a must-have-solitude-no-excuses writing day. I didn’t have to make myself stay up Wednesday until the wee hours after all. I decided to get some sleep and catch up later.
How about you? Do you see a pattern to your writing this week? Do you need to make some adjustments going into Week 2? Think about it and write down what your routines are: times, places, coffee flavor, music, etc. Then when your writing seems to be off, look at your routines and see what needs to change.