Last Wednesday, I dove into the NaNoWriMo fray a day late and 1,667 words behind. I set up my author page on the NaNoWriMo site and opened a Scrivener doc for my project. Today, I’m five days in and 6,829 words behind; but I’m okay with that.
You want to know why?
First, because I went into this knowing full well that I may not have a 50,000-word “win” in me this year. Accepting that reality from the get go took some of the pressure off.
Second, because just saying, “Yes!” to the NaNo challenge seems to have flipped some kind of creative switch in my brain. It’s like part of my mind has been asleep for a while, but is now waking up and ready to rumble. I didn’t plan on doing NaNoWriMo this year, so I didn’t do any prep in October; but now that I’ve thrown myself into the middle of things, my brain seems more than happy to churn out ideas.
Finally, because I’ve discovered a new and super helpful resource as a result of my flailing attempts to get my story organized quickly and effectively. I’ve actually been following K.M. Weiland for a while and even own her book, Structuring Your Novel; but I hadn’t yet plugged into her excellent podcast, Helping Writers Become Authors.
If you’re trying to get your NaNo novel together late, or if you’d just like some smart, actionable, step-by-step advice on how to get your head around your story, I just listened to and LOVED these three podcasts from Weiland:
- How to Outline for NaNoWriMo: Should You Outline Your Novel?
- Start Your Outline with These 4 Questions
- 3 Steps to Find the Heart of Your Story
Over the weekend, I’ll also be listening to:
I was thrilled when I listened to the 2nd and 3rd episodes in this NaNoWriMo series because they provided me with some specifics and structure that I could apply to what my gut was telling me to do: Ask questions about your story.
I also loved that Weiland makes outlining sounds FUN … and that her podcast site includes full transcripts of her podcasts so that you have a written version to refer to. Brilliant!
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I’m not saying that I’m going to completely derail my NaNoWriMo writing efforts like I did back in 2012 when I blamed Larry Brooks for my #NaNoFail. Though I have long realized I am a dyed-in-the-wool plotter (vs. a panster), I’m not going to let that truth give me an easy excuse to give up. Not this time. This time, I’m going to work on my outlining and story structure WHILE I am simultaneously writing whatever my little heart desires – random scenes, character sketches, backstories, etc.
I may not come out of this with a novel draft or even with 50,000 mostly random words, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t put some words down. The experts say that with writing, you learn by doing. So – I’m going to do some writing. Right Now!
PS – If you’re also crazy enough to play along with NaNoWriMo this year, please look me up and, if you’re so inclined, add me as a buddy and drop me a line. 🙂
Jamie Lee Wallace Hi. I’m Jamie. I am a content writer and branding consultant, columnist, sometime feature writer, prolific blogger, and aspiring fiction writer. I’m a mom, a student of equestrian arts, and a nature lover. I believe in small kindnesses, daily chocolate, and happy endings. Introduce yourself on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest. I don’t bite … usually.
This post originally appeared on the Live to Write – Write to Live blog.