I did it. I officially jumped into the NANO pool.
I don’t know what it is about this year and the desire and excitement to participate in NANO. Maybe it’s the unusualness of 2020 or maybe it was just this was the year I was supposed to do it. I have attempted to participate in NANO in the past, but never followed through. Technically, I can say I did NANO in 2016 when I wrote and published a book a month, but I won’t because that was a different writing schedule. By that I mean, some of those books had been written over a period of months. The ones written in a month were less than fifty thousand words.
I am a proud pantser, but I am also a planner. I spend about an hour on Sunday or Monday planning my weekly schedule. NANO is the perfect opportunity for me to combine the two. I also research things I’m not familiar with or need direction on how to do.
Knowing I was going to do NANO I went to YouTube and a few AuthorTubers. The amount of information out there was overwhelming. I heard everything from stockpile your favorite snacks, stay hydrated, don’t forget the wine and coffee, meal prep, hire a housekeeper if a messy space is a pet peeve, post “do not disturb” or other threatening signs on your office door for annoying family, join a NANO community, exercise, have your favorite music and get plenty of rest. Oh yeah, and make a writing plan.
I thought my head was going to explode. I took a step back and reminded myself of one simple fact. I wrote a novelette in three days with about six hours of sleep, coffee and a couple of meals a day. I’m pretty sure I can handle fifty thousand words in a month.
How did I prep for NANO? I created a plan that was right for me.
Commit to NANO
Don’t just say you want to do it, but tell someone. When you give life to the task becomes a reality.
Join a group for accountability
This is one of the areas where I messed up in my previous NANO attempts. Having an accountability group encourages me to stick to my plan and make attainable goals. Thanks Charmed Writers.
I liked the suggestion to have snacks at the ready. However, prior to NANO, I was diagnosed as being wheat, soy, almond, cow’s milk and egg white sensitive. Some of my favorite snacks include those things. However, I found a couple of things that work, plus I have plenty of water, coffee and red wine.
Keep a journal
I decided to keep a journal of my daily progress. I also use it to keep notes about my book.
Set a daily word count
The other prep tip I liked was setting a realistic daily word count. I knew I wasn’t likely to write on Sundays, Thanksgiving and I needed a little flexibility for BFCM [Black Friday Cyber Monday] sales for my lingerie business. Exceeding my daily writing goal will allow me to skip a couple of days if I want to.
Figure out what to write
When I was toying with the idea of NANO, I had an idea of what I wanted to write…the follow up to my 2019 NANO book.
As I said, I’m a pantser so when it comes to writing, I plop my butt in the chair and let the characters tell their story. Last year I selected a book I wanted to write, but for some reason I never connected with the story. It was like the characters had gone silent. I switched books and the story practically wrote itself. I didn’t complete the book, but I did write fifty thousand words during NANO.
I completed my 2019 NANO book in February of this year and as of this post, it’s with my beta reader and headed to my editor this weekend.
I wanted to release the book earlier, but with the strangeness of 2020, I decided to push it back to February 2021. When I completed the book, I had no intention of continuing the series. But the characters said something different. I deleted the last chapter and made part of it the first chapter of book four, the book I’m writing during NANO. My plan is to release the books back to back next year.
I just completed NANO day four and I feel good about my progress. As of this post, I’m at 9002 words. My daily goal is 2084 words, but I’ve been exceeding it.
Here is the best advice I have for anyone wanting to do NANO…just write. Whether the words make it to the final draft, it doesn’t matter. The goal is write a book with at least fifty thousand words. It doesn’t have to be good, it just needs to be completed.
Happy NANO and Thanksgiving.
I’ve been writing for a lot of years. It started somewhere in my corporate career when the girls were little, with short stories I’d read to them for birthdays and holidays. First book I’d written began as a story to celebrate my oldest daughter’s 12th birthday. That’s when the muse came a calling, and next I know, the story was over 300 words. It had all the faux pas of a newbie, repeating words, passive voice, minimal sensory and bad spelling (didn’t have spellcheck in those days). I had it bound as a hard copy, gold lettering for the title – cost me a fortune back then, but it was worth it. She liked it so much; I wrote a sequel of similar length. It is still one of my daughter’s most precious possessions.
The muse took up residence, and it wasn’t to be denied. With a job that had me boarding planes weekly, how was I supposed to satisfy the writing urge? Weekends were out. That was family time—and chores—and honey-dos—and kid’s events . . . I learned to access time slots while a prisoner of an airplane (seats were bigger then) and forgo watching hotel television at night (there wasn’t anything worth watching anyway). Can’t write on a plane anymore unless in first class. Coach seating is a sardine tin where we’re all a little heavier, the tray table might fit a drink glass with a deck of cards, and the seat in front of me is maybe ten inches from my nose.
At home, I’ve got the writing cave and silence, where the muse happily homesteads, ready to fill my thoughts with new directional themes. When I’m traveling, almost always with my wife/kids/grandkids/siblings, it’s a non-stop cornucopia of distractive activity, surrounded by the din of fellow humans. The muse had become accustomed to the safe zone of my writing cave and doesn’t appreciate the competition for my attention. No sooner do I sit down at the laptop, somebody calls my name.
Why don’t I write at night like I used to, when things quiet down? Unlike many writers who thrive on burning the midnight oil, I have become a morning writer. The muse is fresh, unfettered by the noise of life. Skipping the cocktail hour might help, but it’s the only time my wife and I convene to compare notes of the day, eat dinner, then wait for the daily Facetime call from kids who are on western time (grandboys are rather insistent I take part). When traveling, I’m expected to be participative, and young folk participate after work. By the time it all ends, the muse “has left the building”.
So, what’s a morning writer to do? For short trips, I might do some editing, or compose a few notes of the current project, which is kind of aggravating for the muse and I. We’re both hardcore pantsers. Plotting gives us hives. On the long winter forays where we’re domiciled near the kids out west, I go in search of a quiet haven. Local library is a good start, but it’s best to know when toddler reading hour is scheduled. Last time I went, a little nose-miner saddled up to me while I was typing, begging to crawl in my lap. It’s enough to instill fear in today’s times. We rent a condo when visiting mother down south. Most have nice gathering areas that nobody uses in the morning. Again, awareness of scheduling is important. The local women’s club du jour might show up, ask a lot of embarrassing questions, then seduce me to join them. Last year’s rental had a front-row seat at the ladies seventh-hole tee box. All day long, whack—thump—followed by ample cussing. And to think many of them were grandmothers.
I may go days, or weeks, writing nothing meaningful. I grab whatever opportunity arises. When I return to the word processor, the muse is waiting with a head shake and impatient foot-tapping, but ready to rock. Booting up after a long absence, the magic is even more special. I guess the saying: “absence makes the heart grow fonder”, works for us writers as well.
DT Krippene is a contributing author in the recent BWG’s paranormal anthology, Untethered (available below). A man buys a house for a price that is too good to be true, until he discovers the bizarre strings attached in “Hell of a Deal”. He’s also contributed articles for the Bethlehem Round Table Magazine with “Snowbelt Sanctuary”, and “In Simple Terms”.
A native of Wisconsin and Connecticut, DT Krippene deserted aspirations of being a biologist to live the corporate dream and raise a family. After six homes, a ten-year stint in Asia, and an imagination that never slept, his annoying muse refuses to be hobbled as a mere dream. Dan writes dystopia, paranormal, and science fiction. His current project is about a young man struggling to understand why he was born in a time when humans are unable to procreate and knocking on extinction’s door.
You can find DT on his website, and his social media links.
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