The NaNoWriMo Plan, 2020 Edition

It’s kind of ridiculous to think that I’ve participated in National Novel Writing Month each year since 2014. Only once have I achieved writing 50,000 words in one month, but I can’t not participate, even if it’s a last-second decision.

This year was another last-second decision, but I’m excited.

I hit 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo 2015, and I remember it being tough. Since then, I have had far less binge-writing success, with outings of 10k, 6k, and 4.9k in the next three contests, and not much more between a couple of NaNo’s midyear “camps”.

So how do I plan to reach 50,000 this year?

Well, naturally, I will entirely ignore my wife, my cuddly dog, and my clingy 2-year-old. For a month. I think my wife is the only one who benefits in this arrangement.

The NaNo Goal!

In actuality, I’m not going directly for 50,000 words this year. What I want is to finish the first draft of “The Herb Witch Tales #2”, my as yet untitled sequel to my novella, Uprooted, The Herb Witch Tales #1.

Did I say novella instead of short story? I did, because at 38k words and likely eclipsing 40k in a third draft, TWH1 is more of a novella than a short story.

Anyway, my goal is to finish the first draft of THW2. As I write this, I have a bit over 3,000 words and will increase that this week. But I also need to prepare a bit if I’m going to finish it by November 30.

The NaNo Plan!

Just like my first draft for part one, I’ve been writing part two by hand in a journal. This makes the actual writing a bit slower and more susceptible to hand cramps.

Thus, crazy writing binges of 3,000+ words, which have helped me in the past, are unlikely. I need to be methodical and consistent.

To actually write 50,000 words in a month, I’d need to write 1,667 words per day. In my journal, I write about 570 words per page, front and back. Three pages gives me 1,710 words.

So, I need to write three full pages per day to even sniff 50,000. Again, my real goal is to finish this story, but aiming for the bigger goal should help me get there, even if I slip a few days.

Now, I have trouble writing first drafts. I tend to agonize over little details or plot holes I’m unable to fill in the moment. So I’d like to do a little planning for my draft.

What I’m thinking is to spend the next few days making notes every couple of pages about where I think I should be in my story by the time I get to that page. That will (ostensibly) help to guide my writing so I don’t have to stop and think about how to get to the next scene or the next chapter.

I tend to deviate from outlines, which is why I don’t spend too much time on them, but hopefully I can at least annotate out the next 5-10 pages as I write, to keep my rhythm.

That’s really it. I just want to finish this draft quickly and then decide how well it fits (or doesn’t) with part one.

I’ll post status updates as we go through the month.

Also: I need NaNo buddies! Feel free to add me so we can send encouraging messages and/or hilarious memes to each other: dia820.

Steve D

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