Saturday, November 3, 2018

Beginning a new NaNoWriMo

Day 1 at Starbucks

NanoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) has been productive for me in the past.

In 2013, while living in Shimane, Japan, I completed 50,000 words for my first novel.

In 2014, while traveling through Myanmar and Thailand, I completed another 35,000 words for my novel, and 15,000 more inother stories.

In 2015, I took the Nano principal but instead of creating new content, I spent 50 hours editing my novel from my home base in Portland, OR.

And in 2017, I further interpreted the Nano principal to spend 100 hours soul-searching on my month-long sabbatical.

I didn’t write about it at the time, but the 2017 Soul-Search was a very productive time for me indeed. To get my hour-count in, I included any time spent reading relevant books, journaling, having informational interviews, applying for jobs, and basically anything that was related to professional development.  And it paid off. By December, I knew my next move in life. I wrote a bit more about that here, but essentially this time of self-study and self-reflection was what prompted my move to quit my job and start my own business.

This year, I plan to revisit Nano in a more traditional way: a return to writing. Given that I’ve been spending 40+ hours a week on professional development (i.e. running my own business), I don't need to designate special time for that. I also don’t really have any other major initiatives in my life that need devoted attention. So this year I plan to work on my second novel.

I have long since had the basic premise or it in my head, possible for 5-6 years now, but the actual story came to me while I was jogging in the May of 2017, and then an outline quickly followed. At the Tijuana Writers Retreat of October 2017, I hashed this story out with my friend at a bar, made a tiny amount of progress, and then promptly got consumed with my life transition. This November I will attempt to actually write this novel.

Why now?

I still haven’t attempted to publish my first novel, but I take some satisfaction in knowing it is complete. But still, why work on number 2, when number 1 isn’t even on the shelves? Well, I am expecting my first baby in January, and I have no idea when I will have time to write once she comes. Between managing a business and caring for a newborn, I think I will have very little time to pursue my creative writing. Perhaps I’ll be wrong, but just in case, it will be nice to have this novel in a good shape before that time.

What do I want to learn this year?

My new challenges will be that I work from home now, so I need to find a way to vary my environment, so I don’t get fatigued working from my office.
Also, because I know set my own schedule and work when I want, I'm going to designate specific time for Nano writing. After all, I don't confirm my business to M-F 9-5 so I can really write whenever. This gives me the opportunity to experiment with writing at different times of the day and balancing those hours with my other other – what a rare treat I have not had since I’ve spent the last 10 years working M-F 9-5.
Scheduling set hours for writing will set up some guardrails so that I don’t carried away with business and slack on writing, but also so that writing won’t overtake my business needs.

My current projected schedule follows previous years in which I write minimally in the evenings M-F and more on weekends and holidays. I have no idea if I will stick to this schedule but within the first few weeks I should know.

Weekday Experiments, Monday-Friday:
Week 1: 1.5 hours in the morning 7:30am-9:00am
Week 2:  1.5 hours in the evening 7:00pm-8:30pm
Week 3: 1.5 hours in the midday 1:00pm-2:30pm
Week 4: 1.5 hour during whichever I liked best

Weekend Experiments:
Week 1: Writing Retreat in Astoria, OR
Week 2:  2 hours in the morning  9:00am-11:00am
                2 hours in the evening 6:00pm-8:00pm
Week 3: 2 hours in the morning  9:00am-11:00am
                2 hours in the midday 1:00pm-3:00pm
Week 4: 2 hours in the midday 1:00pm-3:00pm
                2 hours in the evening 6:00pm-8:00pm

Here's my schedule: It totals to 53,000 words actually, but I would rather aim higher than lower. 

Day Date  Goal Words 
Thursday 1  1,000
Friday 2
Saturday 3  4,000
Sunday 4  4,000
Monday 5  1,000
Tuesday 6  1,000
Wednesday 7  1,000
Thursday 8  1,000
Friday 9  1,000
Saturday 10  4,000
Sunday 11  4,000
Monday 12  1,000
Tuesday 13  1,000
Wednesday 14  1,000
Thursday 15  1,000
Friday 16  1,000
Saturday 17  4,000
Sunday 18  4,000
Monday 19  1,000
Tuesday 20  1,000
Wednesday 21  1,000
Thursday 22  1,000
Friday 23  1,000
Saturday 24  4,000
Sunday  25  4,000
Monday 26  1,000
Tuesday 27  1,000
Wednesday 28  1,000
Thursday 29  1,000
Friday 30  1,000

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