Three days in. I don’t think they’ve yet discovered that I have no idea what I’m doing. Think I’ll lie low and chalk it up to it being Sunday…
So – NaNoWriMo-ers, how’s it going? Did you start out as a planner or a pantser? Is that working out for you? Hmm.. yeah, me neither. I started out a pantser: in a romantic rush of this being my first time at this, I thought it best to jump in, avoid educating myself on how to write (that has always done me more harm than good: it’s perfectionism food), and just enjoy the ride.
For the most part, that’s still how it’s going. But I’m quickly learning that if I expect to have anything remotely cohesive by the end of this experiment, I’d better start planning. I’ve assembled a toolkit of sorts to help me do just that.
First tool: a mind map. I took this one from the Get-it-Done Guy podcasts (I love Stever!). I’m using FreeMind – it’s open source (read: free) mind mapping software. When you get down to it, the way I’m using mind mapping isn’t anything revolutionary. I could probably accomplish the same thing using a spreadsheet. I just want to see my connections laid out graphically and I want to do that quickly and easily. So FreeMind is perfect for me.
Second tool: inspiration. I’ve picked up a couple of books from my local library lately. On Writing, by Stephen King, and Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott. Both are personal works that also serve to deliver what these authors have learned about writing. Both are also fantastic; I highly recommend you read them, whether or not you are interested in learning more about writing (but all the more if you are!).
Third tool: a change in perception. No, not while I’m writing. That change in perception comes to me once my kiddos are safely in their beds and I’m ready to unwind. I may be Irish, but I doubt my current writing nest (my local library) would appreciate me taking Hemmingway’s advice during the creative phase of my work. The change in perception I’m referring to involves shutting my inner critic/editor away in a dark room with a duct-taped mouth and threats to disembowel her favorite teddy bear should I hear her breathe a word while I’m working. Editing and critiquing have served only to stifle my writing, usually before I’ve even begun. I’m taking this NaNoWriMo task very seriously: if I have any hope of sticking to the word count (and I am determined to win this thing), I must change my perception of writing from “writing well” to simply “writing: no matter what.” Yes, the question came up today what the effects of long-term solitary confinement may have on a young adult (don’t ask) – but you know what? I don’t know the answer to that question. I do know that if I look it up, I’ll lose my momentum and probably get distracted along the way. Insert a comment with that question and keep writing.
That’s my toolkit in a nutshell. It may not seem like much, but it’s working pretty wellso far. Aside from frequent use of Google Drive to keep all my work safely out of the blast radius of my computers failing, that’s about all I’ve got for tools. That’s about all I’m doing to plan, also. I’m curious to know what you’ve found. Are your plans working for you? Did you make any? Is this your first time doing NaNo? What are your favorite tools?
- NaNoWriMo 2013 – Still brainstorming (zanemckenzie.com)
- NaNoWriMo Whato? (mariemeyerbooks.wordpress.com)
- An Obligatory NaNoWriMo Post (deadpanjack.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo Blues (wordsofprocrastination2.wordpress.com)
- NaNoWriMo and Nerds (marbleswords.com)
- Dear NaNoWriMo: Day 3 (lisenminetti.wordpress.com)