My 4-Part Master Plan for NaNoWriMo 2022
You gotta do what you gotta do
I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo a few times with underwhelming results. This year, I’m confident I will get to the end of November with a draft of (at least) 50k words. Why? Because I have a plan.
If you’re anything like me, you write an average of less than 1k words a day (which is not a lot but requires a level of consistency that takes time to create). After a month, that average would get you to meager 30k words, which is barely over half the default NaNoWriMo goal of 50k words.
If you don’t have a plan, you’re gonna fail. Like I did. Multiple times. (On my first attempt, I didn’t even get to 2k words, which is humiliating and shouldn’t even count.) But this time I have a 4-part plan, so allow me to share it with you.
Part 1: Community
I recently talked about how much being part of a community can help you achieve your fiction writing goals. Turns out, community happens when people share their experiences about something, so that’s what I’m gonna do: share my experience.
My original plan was to write about it but I’m gonna go with videos. I will already be writing a lot and videos are (arguably) easier to make and easier to consume. Everything seems to be video nowadays, anyway.
Talking to a camera makes me absurdly uncomfortable — seriously, I don’t understand how people have fun doing it — but hey, you gotta do what you gotta do, so that’s the plan. Here’s an intro:
Part 2: Outline
This year, I proved to myself that I can be a pantser too, by writing a flash fiction story a day for the 💯 Story Challenge. The thing is writing a 300-word story and writing a 50k-word one are very different tasks.
At some point in November, I’ll lose motivation — it’s bound to happen. So, for this story, I have an outline of over 10k words (which is not a ton but will help a lot) including details about the main character, the setting, the theme, the genre conventions, and a list of scenes — not mentioning random notes about bioluminescence, wrist crossbows, and werewolves.
It’s the first draft, and things will change, but I feel having the path mapped out will be a game-changer. When that low-motivation day rolls around, I can just look at the map, put my head down, and fucking write.
Unexpectedly, creating this outline is hyping me up about the story while also serving as a safety net for the process, making me confident that, if I get stuck, I’ll have a way out. Sometimes that’s all we need: confidence.
Part 3: Routine
I’m very fortunate that I can walk to work, and I’m even more fortunate that there’s a local branch of the public library right in between. My plan is to leave work every day, go to the library, and only go home when the word count goal of the day is reached.
My hope is that my brain will link the place to the task and start developing the habit of being creative when I’m in there. It might take a week or two, but the goal is to have an “office”, a writing place that will help me focus on the task at hand.
Part 4: In-Person Events
And just in case I get bored of the library, I’m also taking part in as many in-person write-ins as I can — see? I have backup plans! In my experience, being in an environment where everyone is writing and talking to people about it is a great way to get excited about the creative process. (Sometimes, even if you’re doing it online!)
It’s supposed to be very rainy in Vancouver in November, but who gives a crap? And I’m not a social person, but hey, again, you gotta do what you gotta do.
Have you ever finished the first draft of a book? No? Let’s try and do this thing pros take months to do in a single month! What could go wrong, right? Well, having the plans I have laid out for the next month, hopefully very little.
And if you’re doing NaNoWriMo too, add me as your buddy, and share your journey. Let everyone know how it’s going! We can all have a big party in December where we cry about the fact that now we have to edit this mess of a first draft while we tell each other, “Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do.”
If you need some help with NaNoWriMo, Jann Christoph von der Pütten has put together a list of resources!