Monday 18 October 2021

Planning For NaNoWriMo - The Creative Process


It is that time of year again, when lots of writers decide to embark on the NaNoWriMo challenge of trying to write 50K words in November. This has been going on for years now, and it's something that I heard about a lot when I was younger, but never really participated in it, nor really had the ability to complete the challenge. Since around 2016 I have been doing NaNo in some capacity or anything, either going for the full challenge or being a bit of a rebel and doing my own thing. This year is no different in that I plan to write 50K words, but over two projects rather than just one, and that's just my rebel side shining through.

However, the month of October is seen as prep month, or Preptober for a lot of people. It's a whole part of the writing community, and while as a planster I don't need much prep, I thought that I would give you some tips I've picked up along the way to aid your own prepping.

NaNo is a massive undertaking, and it's a lot to get done. There will be times when you'll be pulling your hair out and worried about word counts, and doing some of the prep now will allow you some space to breathe, or at least that's the idea behind it. Like I said, I've always been a bit of a rebel, either not sticking to just one project or doing a lowered word count, so that will be reflected in my tips.

This is a big one for me, not only do you need to be doing the requisite 1,667 words a day to hit the target, but there are going to be some days when you just can't manage that. You'll have life get in the way, or you'll have moments when the words just aren't coming for you, and that's to be expected. On the other side, if you're approaching this challenge and you know that it's within your capabilities to write more on some days, then split everything over and make sure you're planning for downtime, as well as days for catching up as needed.

Personally, I know that I can, usually, knock out about 2K words in a short space of time, so I set that as my target for each day that I write and then have time off on the other days so that I'm not pushing myself to breaking point. It also means that I can have some days to catch up if I'm just falling short of my goal.

This one feels like it needs to be said, while some people go into NaNo not knowing if they can manage it, others will already know that they struggle to find time, and words, to manage more than 1K words a day. Now there's nothing wrong with challenging yourself, but too much pressure can lead to a difficult time being creative, or burning yourself out, and no one wants that.

So if you already know that you're gonna find it hard to find the time needed, because of life and all that goes with that, maybe think about being a rebel and setting a lower goal. Of course you're free to attempt the 50K words anyway, and you can always change your goal later on, though I know it's not something you can do on the NaNo website for November, so that can be a little disheartening.


If you're someone who has family, or other life commitments that will have an impact on your time, make sure that ahead of the 1st, you let people know that you have set aside x time for writing, and bar any major emergencies they should respect that. This works for the adults in your life (hopefully) less so for the little ones. I remember during NaNo back when Mx. D was little, I would have to leave the house five days in the month and bang out my 10K so that I could call it a win. The times I tried writing when they were around were not conducive to a good time.

This final one is more for those who do plan, to some degree, in their writing. I lean more to pantsing than I do to planning, and will usually spend the end of October knocking up my chapter plans and character notes and then go from there. If you're someone who really does need to spend the whole month planning your project, then this one is for you. After all, you're not going to be able to write much without the plan you need, in whatever shape that comes in.

So there you go, my four tips about planning for NaNoWriMo, and all that goes with it. I wish you all the luck this coming November and hope that you get everything done that you wish to!

Any questions? Lemme know in the comments!

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