Thursday, October 31, 2013

NaNoWriMo Prep

copy small caliopy
Me in my favorite spot

In the weeks leading up to my spontaneous and belated decision to do NaNoWriMo, I’ve had quite a lot of preparation to do.

1. First on my list was to get the house in order so I had a comfortable space to write. This also involved stashing up on a few goods for inspiration... 
Liquid inspiration

2. The next step was a bit of literary housekeeping. I was determined to finally finish transcribing my diary, journals, and hundreds of notes and scrapes of writing I've done over the years, into an electronic version so I could pull from that well when needed.

3. I also had to make a writing schedule so that I had some measurable way of ensuring I stay on track and checking my progress. Like most people, I work full time and have social commitments (yes, even out here in a village of 3,000 people), so on some days I have no writing scheduled. 

Here is my totally honest and possibly naive writing schedule for November:

Monday4no work!4000
Tuesday5no work!4000
Wednesday6late night500
Wednesday13late night500
Thursday14business trip0
Friday15business trip0
Saturday16business trip1000
Sunday17no work4000
Wednesday20late night500
Monday25 work1000
Wednesday27late night500
Saturday30celebration party!3000

This is the learning year. This is the year I find out what kind of writer I am. 

Do I write better in the morning, evening, or the middle of the night? 
Can I write for hours uninterrupted, or do I write in short bursts of energy throughout the day? 
Do I need to chart and plot out every detail in a  scene before hand, or am I able to create it as I write?
What do I need to focus? Background music, alcohol, other people?
Do I prefer to keep a routine schedule for writing, or do I work better by changing the time day to day?
Am I more focused and clear-headed when I am at home, or in public? 

I can't believe I've been writing for all these years and I still can't answer these questions about myself. 

4. Last on my list was to finally finish detailing my trip to Pakistan. This serves several purposes. First, it is great practice for novel writing. Unlike my fictional novel, I don't have to imagine a story, a scene, or characters, because I lived that story, I saw those scenes, and I know those characters. All that is left to do is describe the experience. When I write about Pakistan, I can relax my creative muscles for a bit and focus on technique.

Apart from being a great warm-up for a novel, the travel diaries will also serve as my reflections for years to come. I may not have another chance to go back to Pakistan, and I since I don’t want to forget many of the fine details of my once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I can look back on my writing and be instantly reminded of the wild and wonderful time.

Lastly, and perhaps least importantly, my travel journals provide some substance for this blog. I plan to post several excerpt from my journal throughout the month of November, so that during that time I can focus solely on my novel. 

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