Update: I forgot to include a screenshot of my template. It’s there now. That is all!
We’re well on our way to NaNo and I thought I’d take this opportunity to share my NaNo-Prep schedule. It’s more of a reminder to myself, but maybe it will give first timers, and veterans, some ideas. Who knows!
I’ve come to notice a trend with the lead-up to NaNo. It’s building excitement punctuated by nerves, anxiety, and doubt. This is speaking for myself at least. I am prone to anxiety and flickers of self-doubt and I want to be prepared for this NaNo as much as possible. After the last NaNo I was exhausted and developed a blood clot not long after, it was also my first NaNo where I reached the goal of 50,000 words in three weeks, adopted a bunny within the first week, attempted to have a life while doing NaNo, as well as adapting to a new living environment and location.
This NaNo my health is far better than it was back then and I’m currently editing, we’ve lost the first bun and now have a very active (read cheeky) rabbit, working on building up my fitness with physical activities and gym visits, doing the Walk to Cure Diabetes, going to a seminar for writers/artists with disabilities, working on this blog, working on Bookish Ardour, and reviewing. Except for editing, I’m going to be continuing all of this during NaNo and making sure I keep up with NaNo socialising this year.
All of this is why I thought it would be a good idea to create a prep-schedule. I’m a little behind because I didn’t factor in school holidays… I live with three teachers and my partner is a teacher so yeah… Today is catch up on blogging day and tomorrow is catch up on prep-schedule day!
Anyway, without further ado…
3rd Thursday – Double Check Tools: I make an inventory of what I need to use, what I would like to use, and then double check everything is working to my satisfaction. ✔ The Result: I have a Mac and a desk I sit at, but I find the elevation between my chair and said desk is cumbersome when it comes to using the Mac keyboard. I’ve got an external one, but it’s finally given up. Besides my keyboard I also need to replace my white board markers, and find a new pen.
3rd Thursday – Clean Out Computer Part I: I like everything cleaned up and simplified. The less distractions and the more geared towards my current project, the better. Part I is reserved for backing up and moving files to my external HD, then getting rid of the junk. ✔
5th Saturday – Clean Out Computer Part II: Part II is reserved for loose ends, cleaning up pathways, creating new folders if need be, and fixing all my bookmarks so they’re more writer orientated (well more than usual).
5th Saturday – Designate Folder: It’s designating a folder for my NaNo project! I’m doing a designation on my Mac and one on my external so I don’t get confused at any time. ✔
6th Sunday – Scrivener Template: I use Scrivener for my writing. Scrivener already has its own templates for different projects, but I like to build on them and make sure they have everything needed before I begin. I’m detail orientated.
7Th Monday – Scrivener Cards: This is just an extra to the templates. I got the idea from a few different sources and then adapted it to my own needs. It’s basically this,
but more defined for whichever project I’m on. I like to create templates so I can duplicate and not have to worry about it later on when I’m in the middle of writing.
8th Tuesday – NaNo, BA, and Blogging Schedules: I need schedules. I need them to function with ME. I already have schedules for most things, but with NaNo inbound it’s probably a good idea to double check my schedules and make sure everything can fit in nicely together. One spanner in the works and I begin to unravel. Currently I have to check what day it is several times in the space of ten minutes all because my schedule is out of sync! Still blogging during NaNo is something I seriously have to schedule down to the last five minutes. I don’t particularly like spending a great amount of time in front of a screen so want to get as much done with as minimal screen time as possible.
9th Wednesday – Exercise and Reading Schedules: Same as above, but have to work in plenty of physical activity and find time for the books I’m reviewing!
10th Thursday – Story Focus and Mind Mapping Session: Of course there’s no point in organising and scheduling to write a story when you have no story focus. On the 10th I’ll be deciding what story idea I want to go with and major plot points. I’ll follow it up with a mind-mapping session to figure out more than major plot points. I’m a newbie to mind-mapping so this will be interesting.
11th Friday – Character List: I’m trying the tactic of listing all my characters, including secondary and third, before beginning so I don’t have to spend time worrying about their surnames or middle names or just names!
11th Friday to 15th Tuesday – Character Questionnaires: All writers need to get to know their characters and I personally like to know all the information about them as possible, even if it doesn’t show up in a story. Backgrounds influence people, how do you know what your character is going to do without knowing their past? My questionnaires are very extensive and I’ll share them once I have fine-tuned the questions in case anyone wants to check them out.
13th Sunday – Mind-Mapping Session: After getting to know my characters it’s time to fine-tune the plot and mind map anything I’m not sure about.
14th Monday – Outline: Outlining for me is differs from figuring out story focus. It’s more pedantic for starters and I think if you want to plan ahead, it is best to focus on details. I was usually a panster before, but after attempting to edit a novel I have given up on pantsing. I’m new to all of this organisation though so outlining to this extent is something I’m still learning. I’m going to be using the cards, using the templates, and writing down key scene points in bullet form. It’s basically filling in what I’ve already put into place.
15th Tuesday – Synopsis: I’m pretty shit at synopsis writing, but I will try it anyway! How else am I going to share my story idea with all of you and on the NaNo website?
16th Wednesday – Share NaNo Ideas: Hopefully my synopsis is ready to go and I can post about it! As well as why I am writing the story and what I hope to achieve, well, maybe.
21st Monday – Clean Work Space: I’ve assessed everything and my work space can get dirty over a period of time, no matter how anal I am, so I’ll be cleaning up and making sure everything is in its right place. Chucking out dead pens, old notes from my cork board, cleaning my white boards, etc.
23rd Wednesday – Prepare Work Space: Preparing will involve making sure I have all the updated notes on my cork board, writing what I need on my white boards, making sure what pens I want to use are in place, having pins handy, having books I need (I have different types of reference books like Swords: A Visual History), placing any maps and diagrams I need on the wall, adjusting the bulb in my lamp (must be the right wattage), and making sure I have whatever inspiration I need on the wall, cork boards, whiteboards, or computer.
24th Thursday – Begin Schedule: I want to get into the habit of my new schedule so might as well begin early! Of course I won’t be writing the story yet, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have other projects to work on.
Drills: In between the 24th and the beginning of NaNo I’m going to run some drills. So, I know this might sound obsessive… Or dorky, or nerdy? Just something, but I want to see how much I can get out in the shortest time possible without exhausting myself. I want to avoid as much exhaustion as possible and I’m also anxious about sitting for more than forty-five minutes at a time after developing the blood clot last year. I would like to be able to discipline myself to focus enough to write, but in short bursts, and not completely lose myself so I’m sitting for long periods of time.
It’s not healthy to be so sedentary, so I think drills will help me figure out what I can do and what I need to curb.
So, there’s my NaNo-prep schedule! As I mentioned I am behind, but with there not being a full schedule in the last half of the month I am not going to panic, I can use that time to spread out the catch-up.
If you’re taking part in NaNo, what are your prepping plans? Or even if you’re not taking part in NaNo. Writers gotta write outside of November too.