Thursday Thirteen: Making #NaNoWriMo Work for Me

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series NaNoWriMo 2011

 Thirteen Things to Make NaNoWriMo Work for Me

  1. Plot – I’m a tried and true planner. I must plan out my plot or else I will spend hour upon hour floundering. So, I must start NaNo with a plot, with a story I want to tell, or else I won’t even make it out of the gate!
  2. Organize – Because I plan everything out in the beginning, I need a way to capture all of that information. I use a program called OneNote, it’s like a virtual binder, in conjunction with Lynn Viehl’s novel notebook template and capture everything. And I mean everything!
  3. Character Profiles – This helps me know my characters before I begin writing and allows me to start a book with a plan and direction.
  4. Calendars – This year I’m writing a book that spans about a month and a half. There are a lot of set, weekly activities and other things going on, so I’m making use of a calendar to keep track of how my plot fits in real days.
  5. Images – I used to be a firm believer that I created the characters in my head and no real person could ever capture who they were. And then I happened on a picture about a year ago that really captured what I thought a character looked like. I wound up pulling up that image whenever I needed to describe that character. So now I try to have an image I can use for inspiration.
  6. Pausing to have fun – A lot of people doing NaNoWriMo are trying to finish a book for the accomplishment of it. I’m doing it to sell a book in the next few months. It’s a different approach and puts a whole different set of circumstances to deal with. Still, pausing to enjoy myself, have a laugh or watch some TV is important.
  7. Write In’s – While I do my best writing in near silence with few distractions, part of the experience of NaNoWriMo is going to write in’s and being around other people. If I didn’t go to write in’s, I might as well not sign up for NaNo and just do a fast draft on my own at home. Getting out to hang out with people and bump elbows is part of the experience.
  8. Writing Challenges – I have focus issues at times. Majority of the time I can sit my butt down and write, but it’s always fun to participate in writing challenges either in chat rooms or on twitter or in person. It’s a fun focus time.
  9. Chat Room – I’m social, so I love hanging out at and chatting with the other authors between writing stuff.
  10. Plan B’s – I write a lot, and I write fast. There’s a very good chance I will finish my NaNoWriMo project before the end of the month, so I have a Plan B to write on, you know, just in case.
  11. Frozen Dinners – When I get on a roll, cooking isn’t going to happen!
  12. Dr Pepper – The drink of choice!
  13. Permission to Fail – This year more than any other, I need to know it’s okay if I don’t make all my goals, if I can’t write, save the day and bake a cake. It’s okay. It’s going to be alright.


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