November has started, and that means a lot of things. Halloween is over, we are off Daylight Savings Time, Thanksgiving is on the way, and Christmas is careening around the corner. But that’s the small stuff. For many of us out there, November 1 means the start of National Novel Writing Month, that lovely insanity where a large community of writers work to write fifty thousand words in thirty days. I’ve done this every year except one since 2008, and I have made my fifty thousand words every year I participated.
Things are a bit different for me this year. For one thing, November 1 was also the day of one of our grandson’s birthday party. I knew that would probably be a lost day. It wasn’t a total loss. I did get a few hundred words done in the morning. I also managed to get some in during yesterday’s football games. NaNoWriMo breaks the month down to 1667 words a day to reach the goal. So, technically, I am behind. But I’m not worried. I have a plan.
I usually plan on doing two thousand words a day, which is my normal, outside of NaNo word goal. That gets me to fifty thousand with about four or five days to spare. And that came in handy in other years, when Thanksgiving was held at our house, and we had out of town company. This year, although the BaldMan is still doing the cooking, dinner will be hosted at our oldest daughter’s house. And, due to work schedule conflicts, dinner will be on the Sunday after the holiday. So, I have a little freer schedule this year. I still want to get done without feeling the need to rush in a panic to finish at the end of the month. I also don’t want to be locked up at my desk 24/7. I have set myself a hard goal of two thousand words, and a hoped-for goal of twenty-five hundred. If I can do the full goal, five days a week, I can take weekends off.
I know that’s a bit outside the normal frenzied, panic-driven, headlong dash that you see in the NaNo site forums and other NaNo related online (or even real life) groups. The thing is, for me, this is not a different way of doing things. I have, at long last, managed to establish something of a habit for writing. I have a daily schedule. It is a bit loose, because, well, stuff happens. But most days, I know when it is time to write, and when it is time to do other stuff. I try not to change that too much during NaNoWriMo. One of the things I will change for this year, is that I am going to try to spend less time in the morning fluttering around online, and write 500 words instead. And then, I can do my usual two thousand words at my regular writing time. We’ll see how this works out. The other thing I do differently is that during November, I only work on one project. Normally, I have things in different stages of work, and I will work on a few at one time. Now, I will concentrate only on the NaNo project.
It’s an interesting exercise. Much of my approach is “business as usual,” but there are also things I do only for NaNoWriMo. I enjoy doing it. It is a bit of a different approach, and it has taught me some good lessons about getting it done.
And, now, I must duck back into the cave, and pound out those words!