Early NaNoWriMo Planning

It’s September and I’m already beginning to think about some ideas for NaNoWriMo. Since December, I’ve kept a list of ideas and now that list includes… 13 ideas. Needless to say, it’s going to be difficult to narrow it down to just one. Perhaps I ought to combine a few ideas, but combining has rarely worked for me in the past.

All I know is that I need something that’s going to sustain my interest for an entire month. I need a story that won’t veer too far off into the realm of insanity, so I know I’m going to have to spend some time planning its “rules” and boundaries. I’ve decided to use the entire month of October as a planning month, since I won’t be writing anything new at that time. (That will feel rather strange.)

The last novel I got really attached to was one I wrote for NaNo in 2008. All the other novels I’ve written since then (and there have been quite a few) haven’t appealed to me as much – with the exception of THE ARCHIVES, but that’s more like a novella, and thus, it doesn’t count. I absolutely must be in love with whatever idea I choose. I think some of them have the potential to be really awesome, but I won’t know which is the right one unless I start getting more sub-ideas for each main idea.

That’s what October is for, I suppose. Strangely enough, I’m far more nervous about this year’s NaNo than I have been in years past… probably because I fear I won’t have the time to write (and plan as I write) this year. With a good amount of willpower, I shall scrape by, though. I know that I can’t expect brilliance from a first draft – except in very rare moments, and that ought to be comforting, but it’s not. I want to feel like I’ve grown as a writer and that this rough draft might just be less rough than others. Planning can sometimes help to smooth out rough edges before the writing even starts… so that’s what I’m hoping for.

My question for my readers… how nervous do you get before starting a new project?

22 thoughts on “Early NaNoWriMo Planning

  1. I’ve never tried NaNoWriMo, not sure I’d be good at sticking to a timetable. I actually love starting somethign new, I get excited about it and I’m much better at coming up with an inital idea than I am at making it novel length. Good luck, sounds exciting!

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  2. I hear your pain, its hard to find a project you can love for a month straight. As for being nervous, I find I am more nervous about having time to spare for my word baby. That and making sure my idea won’t flop halfway through.

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  3. I have to say starting a new project is exciting. Sometimes it’s hard getting past the setup while writing, but it’s fun and new. I’ve actually started my plotting and outlining for NaNo. And so far, I’m in love with my story. I always have been ever since I first got the idea. 🙂

    This will be my first time doing NaNoWriMo, so that makes me more nervous than starting a new project.

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  4. The only time I’m ever nervous about starting a new writing project is when I’m staring NaNo in the face. I’ve been working out the details for this novel for almost a year, and I’m just starting to get a good grasp on it. No matter how ready I think I am, the idea of focusing on word count for an entire month is always stressful. But I’ve won twice, and I plan to win again this year.

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    • Maybe I shouldn’t focus so much on word count… just enjoying the story and getting a good enough start that I can finish and work with in later months. Hmm… Thank you for your comment! 🙂

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  5. Thanks for posting this, Maggie.

    This will be my 10th NaNoWriMo. I’ve vowed to do one every year until age or health stops me, or they quit doing it.

    If I might make a suggestion about it… NaNoWriMo is not about quality. It is about quantity. This doesn’t mean you can write “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.” 50,000 times (besides, that’s already been done). What it does mean is learning to write to a schedule. To produce on cue.

    The biggest killer to a NaNo participant is forgetting to turn off the internal editor, and spending a lot (or any) time editing what you’ve written.

    Producing 1667 words a day is easier than you think. So is writing ONLY 1667 words a day, and escaping to other things. I think it is better to go over your daily goal every day you can, because the chances of you getting coopted by Thanksgiving or other family shindig are very good.

    Bottom line? Say it with me. Quantity, not quality.

    It is the habit of producing that you can get out of NaNoWrMo… not a Pulitzer.

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    • Quantity, not quality. 🙂

      I never edit what I’ve written until way after November. The only reason I look back at what I’ve written is to remember what’s already happened and where I should go next. I’m just afraid that the story won’t hold my attention – and if it’s of really bad quality, it won’t – or I won’t be able to edit it after it’s written because it’s so bad.

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  6. If you’re new to novel-writing, then quantity is the be-all for NaNo. But if you’ve been writing for a while, and particularly if you know how to write tight, legible first drafts, then NaNo can be just as much about quality. It isn’t an either-or choice.

    I also tend to edit as I go along, but only after the day’s real work is finished, and the creativity well is dry.

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  7. Starting a new NaNo project is like going on that awkward first date. I equate getting notes and ideas together like those few phone calls before the actual planned meeting. Like dating, writing during NaNo requires you to just keep at it. Sometimes the persistence pays off and you find yourself in love with your story. Other times, you end up sharing the bad experience with good friends over a bottle of wine.

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  8. Prompted by inner urgings, perhaps the still silent voice, I paged through The Journey ~ a novel started but not finished two years ago during NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) ~ intending to share a portion in today’s post.

    Then a phone call changed my plans for the day.

    Good luck, Maggie ~ Life is what happens while we’re busy making plans.

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  9. I’ve never been nervous starting a new project as far as I can remember, usually because I wander into them with no clear idea where I’m going. When I started writing mystery stories, I just wrote one because I had a character who was a detective and I thought she’d enjoy being in a very trad mystery story. That went pretty well, so I wrote another one. Next thing I knew, I had 13 and a pretty good idea of turning them into a book. But at no point was it a “project,” I was just doing what looked like fun at the time.

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    • Strangely enough, the projects I’ve wandered into with little idea where I’m going have been the most successful (and fun) ones. Maybe this is a sign!

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  10. Not being a writer, I was not sure what NaNoWriMo stood for, but thanks to Nancy I now know 🙂 It does sounds like a tough task indeed, writing a novel in a month. And I am sure it does take a lot of planning. But in the end, perhaps the finer the piece, the more spontaneousl its production was, or intuitive the process. As a visual artist, I have been very nervous when putting on an exhibit or even more so a multi-media production, where the techinical aspect is out of my control (thinking of video set-up and production for a live performance) Being nervous about something can serve as a reminder of the effort and value one as put into a project.

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    • I do have high hopes going into a project… and I suppose that’s why it breaks my heart when I find out that it’s not going to be as good as I envisioned it originally. Ah, well. It’s a learning process.

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    • Walter, I was a muscian, and that stress (will the equipment work, will the guitar player be sober enough to remember what song we’re playing, will the audience throw things) made writing even more enjoyable than it was before. No matter what goes wrong in writing, it’s not as embarrassing as what can go wrong on stage.

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  11. Hey, good luck! I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo for the second timet his year: I got to 16K last year before grinding to a halt. This year my aim is to get over that amount – even if I beat it by a single word, I’ll be happy. My biggest problem is planning and keeping to a single story – I usually get distracted by a load of different ideas that don’t quite fit together. I’m not nervous, though, just hopeful!

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