October is winding down and that means National Novel Writing Month is peeking around the corner. November can be a great month to be a writer, but preparing for the month-long writing marathon can be a bit daunting. Personally, I never attempt to achieve the goal of writing 50,000 words during November, not with Thanksgiving celebrations and prep-work for Christmas shrinking my free time during the month. But I do enjoy being able to connect with other active writers who chase that difficult goal. NaNoWriMo is a great time to discuss writing strategies, conquering writer’s block, planning vs pantsing, and a wide range of plotting, setting, and character topics.
Prepping for NaNo can take as much or as little effort as you like. I neither put my current project on hold nor plan anything special for the month. Having limited free time leaves me wanting to utilize it whenever I have it, and so I try to maintain a healthy writing routine heading into NaNo and keep it going afterward. In the past, I have overwhelmed myself during the event and then taken a break afterward, often failing to regain whatever writing routine I had established prior to. In order to avoid such future burnout, I make sure to plan out the events, activities, and family matters that will pop up in response to the oncoming holiday season and then inform family and friends that I will be participating in NaNo between these meetings and festivities. They often help to accommodate my need for writing time during the month by not trying to rearrange the pre-November scheduling agreements.
This year, as I finish editing and a final read-through of the manuscript I plan to pitch in December, I find I will be planning my next project during NaNoWriMo. I have four storylines in the works which could become my next major project, and I anticipate much of my November will be spent on reacquainting myself with the progress I’ve already made on their plotting and character development. A couple of them already have several chapters drafted, while the other two are barely past the planning stages. No matter which story I choose to focus on next, I know I have no shortage of material to spark my creativity.
Whether you chase the 50,000-word goal, ignore NaNoWriMo, or fall somewhere in between (like me), I wish you all a happy November!