3rd Step of Camp NaNo Prep

Updated: May 22

"If you fail to plan, you plan to fail" - that quote has been attributed to Benjamin Franklin, but I couldn't confirm that. No matter who said it, it is a fairly solid, and I believe, mostly true statement. Especially when it comes to writing your first book.


If you haven't put a plan in place, in other words, schedule your writing times, then you are less likely to get any writing done because let's face it - Life's gonna life. In other words, distractions abound! Excuses will fall from the sky like life-giving rain. And no, a plan won't magically make those distractions or excuses go away but it will reduce their ability to stop you from getting your word count done for the week.


So Step 3 is this: Schedule Your Writing Sessions for the month! Grab a calendar for April (paper, digital...doesn't matter, just have a calendar you can write on or edit), and let's determine when and how many words you need to write during Camp.




Note - The following tips are based on taking 30 days to draft a 50K word novel per the NaNoWriMo guidelines. Also, also...and this is important. Self Care (ie. REST, FUN, RECREATION) should factor into this process.


First, block off days/times for activities that foster your mental and emotional health. Also known as, SELF CARE! Things like rest, medical/dental appointments, nail appointments, massages, time binge-watching your favorite show, whatever it is that soothes your soul and refills your cup; put all of that on the calendar first (include times).


Next? Block time commitments that "can't" be broken, i.e. work hours, family functions, the kid's games, etc. Again, be sure to include the time for each activity, including travel times. I had an hour and a half commute on workdays so my time block in the morning for work went from 6:30 am to 11:00 am. That was a time commitment I had very little control over changing.


After that, take a fun color and draw blocks to encompass the minutes or hours you have that are free for you to squeeze in some writing time. If you have five minutes, draw a block. If you have a full four hours, block it off. You don't have to use it all, but it's good to know it's there.


Put that calendar somewhere you can get to it. Then, when the month starts, you can adjust the schedule on the daily. Life interrupts with an unexpected whatever? No stress, you can easily scan the calendar and see when your next writing session is and act accordingly.

 

Oh, my bad, I forgot to tell you how to figure out your word count for your sessions. *Warning* Here comes some math. This is based on the traditional NaNoWriMo word goal of 50,000k words for the month. Your word count will vary depending on what you're writing but that's a whole other blog post.


Final Word Count Goal divided by 30 = number of words you need to write each day.

Ex. 50,000 ÷ 30 = 1,667 (rounded up) each day.

1,923 words a day if you subtract a full day of rest / self-care.


But since you've already identified how many minutes/hours you have to write and when you need to do some additional number crunching to make things work. *ahem*


Final Word Count Goal divided by the total number of hours you have to write = the number of words you need to write each hour you sit down to write. The following example is based on my average day back when I worked for "the man". Average number of hours I had free totaled 48 (I took all of Sunday off no matter what).

Ex. 50,000 ÷ 48 = 1,042 words an hour


Divide that number by 60 and you have the number of words you need to write each minute. Then...no matter how many minutes you have to write that day, you know how many words need to be on the page at the end of your writing session.

Ex. 1,042 ÷ 60 = 17.37 words per minute.

Sooo, if I had a five-minute writing session, I knew I needed to have 86.83 words on the page.

 

If it's still confusing, feel free to drop a question in the comments below. I'll do what I can to clarify.


Alright, that's going to do it for this one. Come back next Friday for the last step to prep. And we'll be ready to go to Camp.


As always, I send you light and inspiration.

Dana

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