Yes, It’s September, and Yes, I’m Already Prepping for NaNoWriMo

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Photo by Simson Petrol on Unsplash

It honestly feels weird to have already started prepping this early. The 4 other times I’ve started NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month, for those unfamiliar with the challenge) I have waited until the absolute last minute to get started. November 1st rolls around, I remember I made a commitment to myself to do NaNo again, and I just wing it and see what happens. I’ve finished twice this way, and failed another two times. While it’s fun to just let myself type out whatever comes to mind, I feel like I’m not really the kind of person who wants to deal with the stress of pulling two thousandish words a day out of thin air as I hope for the best anymore. My time is a lot more limited and I need to be thoughtful about how I work to make sure I can actually accomplish my goals and not feel overwhelmed.

So, for the first time, I’ve been planning. I have a setting sketched out (a post-apocalyptic America where everything isn’t a gigantic mess and people are actually doing pretty okay–I’ve gotten lots of inspo from the solarpunk movement and have done a lot of thinking about non-capitalist economies), I have a main character (her name is Masha, she’s butch as hell and flies a solar-powered airship), and a general conflict (City People are weird and holding too tight to the old ways, while everyone else just does their best to avoid the City People, but, of course, trade happens between those groups, and things get ugly at one point).

Every time I get an idea, whether it’s for plot stuff or character stuff or setting or whatever else, I make sure to write it down in my journal so I can go back to it later and not forget it when it’s crunch time in mid-November and I’m losing my mind trying to figure out where this story goes and how it works. And it feels really good to be taking care of that ahead of time and feel like I’m setting myself up for success rather than just chugging along and hoping I don’t fail.

I’m also really excited about this story. I feel like I haven’t had a “good” idea in a long time, but my brain popped this one out and it felt like I absolutely needed to do something with it. It’s a culmination of a lot of my interests and sensibilities, with a main character who has been rattling around in my head for a while but just didn’t seem to fit anywhere, in a setting I really care about. So maybe it’s way too freakin’ early to be trying to plan out my book for NaNo, but it’s exactly the right time for me to be getting pumped about spending a month churning this novel out.

12 thoughts on “Yes, It’s September, and Yes, I’m Already Prepping for NaNoWriMo

  1. Never too early to plan. Or so I’m telling myself! Just trying to find the idea or character to start with is being a pain this year. Maybe I’m addicted to the hurry crazy flying by the seat of my pants bit lol Good luck this year. You can find me on the wrimo site with the same name!

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    • The flurry of just letting things happen is super exciting! I just don’t trust myself to be able to sustain that for an entire month anymore, haha, I’ll definitely add you once November rolls around!

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    • That’s really cool that you’ve had an idea for so long! I don’t get bit by the inspiration bug very often anymore (the curse of being more of an editor than a writer), so even being able/willing to participate this year was a surprise.

      Can I ask what your editing process is like?

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      • Do you professionally edit?

        The way I typically do it is a “mini” edit of sorts while I’m writing. I’ll generally reread what I wrote the prior session to get myself back into the story’s world, and I’ll do minor spelling, grammar, and content fixes. Once I finish the entire work, then I do the major edits chapter by chapter. I like to read the story aloud, because I find I catch more in that way since you have to read every word, and if something sounds odd or clunky, it’s going to hit you right in the ear.

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      • I do! But my personal editing process is different from my professional editing process since I’m much closer to my own work, so I’m always curious to hear about what people’s methods are.

        I think retreading prior chapters before starting is super smart! I’ve done that before but never really thought about making it a habit that could get me in the groove. Definitely agree with reading out loud–it makes a huge difference.

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      • While I don’t professionally edit, I will say that I beta read/edit others work different from how I do mine! I think I’m equally critical, but with mine I’m more likely to miss integral issues, which is why beta reading/swapping is so necessary.

        Sometimes I can just pick up where I left off, but I find it much easier to get myself back into that world by rereading what I wrote the last sessions, and the reading aloud is such a simple, but powerful way to make sure everything sounds right 🙂 Oh! I’ll also change the font from when I wrote it though once you’ve been editing it for a while, you grow used to that font anyway hehe.

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