Posts Tagged ‘Star Calendar’

Nov

4

2014

Drafting Series: NaNoWriMo

Filed under: Community, Drafting, NaNoWriMo, Writing, Writing for Children, YA Books, Young Adult (YA)

Officially I’m writing this on October 29th, but you should be reading this post on November 4th. Why am I so uncharacteristically prompt and organized? It’s because it’s National Novel Writing Month orĀ NaNoWRiMo!!!!

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I’m only FOUR days into my 50,000 word drafting adventure, but I’m really trying to set myself up for success. In fact, just doing NaNoWriMo, is one of the important ways I put myself in a great writing spot. I may have mentioned this like a gazillion times, but drafting is the most “painful” part of my writing process. If I could dig into my brain with a hook and pull the ideas out I would. But obviously it doesn’t work that way. Damn. But there are other ways of getting those ideas from brain to laptop. NaNoWriMo has become one of my secret techniques. I love the collective energy and I’m a wee bit competitive. It is exciting to be doing something so energetic with writers all over the world. Just watching the #NaNoWriMo thread on twitter gets me excited. And now that I won last year’s NaNoWriMo, do you really think I want to come up short this year? No, I do not. And another perk of NaNo is that it gives me a sense of writing legitimacy that I don’t have unless I have my editor giving me deadlines. With NaNo, my family seems to join in the collective enthusiasm with me anyway. They ask me if I can do (whatever it is they need me to do) AFTER I’ve gotten my writing in. It’s such a small thing, but it really illustrates how much they value my passion for my job. It makes me want to write better books and make them proud.

 

NaNo has also been helpful in giving me drafting success outside of the month of November. What I used to think I was capable of, has become a completely different thing than what I know I can do. This has been very enlightening to me. I’ve become a much more productive writer since I started doing NaNoWriMo. Now, don’t think it’s a magic fix. I still have days where writing gets pushed to the side for other really important things like my family and friends. And I still have stretches where I dream instead of dot i’s and cross t’s. But I really value those breaks and creative moments more now that my productivity has increased. I need that balance, but it feels better now. Setting realistic goals, based on what I know I’m capable of, has made me a better at drafting and more content with my process.

With the help of Victoria Schwab and her star calendar idea, I’ve been tracking my word count and holding myself accountable with stickers. You can find out more about it HERE, but basically it’s kind of a less intense, personalized, version of NaNo that I can use on a daily basis. It feels manageable, not as wildly all-consuming as the month of November usually is. My goal is to write at least 15,000 word a month. Which means about 500 words a day. That’s something that’s very manageable for me, especially since if I miss a couple days here or there, I can make it up with longer writing sessions at other times. And I’ll be honest, it’s the first 500 words that’s the hardest part. Once I’ve gotten going, I can usually get more words flowing.

Part of my drafting success with my Star Calendar is giving myself the same public accountability that inspires me when I’m doing NaNoWriMo, so keeping it real, here were my stats for my drafting in October…

 

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I’m happy to report that I wrote on 20 out of 31 days (plus an extra mini two where I didn’t make stars) and my word count was 22,689 . *fist pump* Of course, that’s not 50,000 words, but like I said, outside of November, I’m looking for sustainable drafting–not burn out. I hit that mark in October and now I’m all warmed up for NaNoWriMo.

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Hope you’re signed up for NaNo. If you are, we can be buddies. I’m writing under Kimmiepoppins if you want to find me. If you aren’t ready or able to try NaNoWriMo, that’s okay, but hopefully you’re doing some kind of activity that gets you inspired and enthusiastic. At the very least, get yourself your own Star Calendar and start pushing yourself to get your drafting done! Have you been using your calendar? How’s it going? Are you four days into NaNo too? How’s it going? What’s your favorite method for getting that NaNoWriMo feeling?

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