Planning A Project: NaNoWriMo 2013 | Giftie Etcetera: Planning A Project: NaNoWriMo 2013

Friday, October 18, 2013

Planning A Project: NaNoWriMo 2013

For those Loyal Readers* who are also writers (or aspiring writers), National Novel Writing Month (Nanowrimo) is a great chance to write a 50,000 word novel in one month. Last November, I managed to do just that. I still haven't edited my novel or attempted to publish it, as my lazy exceeds my shame, but I wrote it. It's a matter of pride, much like running a marathon or learning to cook a great steak. (Marathon - 1, Giftie Etcetera - 0. Boo! But I nailed that darn steak!)

For those Loyal Readers who are not writers, today's blog is still a great example of how to plan a project.

As a planner, I realize that such a huge goal as writing a novel in a single month requires some thoughtful planning. A quick warning, though, that I think all planners should heed - don't over plan. That is, plan carefully enough that your planner can work for you to accomplish your goal, but don't get so bogged down in the planning process that you waste valuable writing time.

Here are the steps to planning the Nanowrimo project (or any other project):

1. Have a Project section in your planner to track all projects. It's important that you understand how a project is different than a task. A project, in my world, has multiple steps that are done over a period of time. Nanowrimo is clearly a project, as you will be outlining, writing, and editing, plus trying to get published, over several weeks or months.

2. Add the name of the project to the Project section's index. I also jot down the due date for projects with an end date.

3. Make a temporary tab for the project and put it in the Project section in ABC order, basing the placement on the right ABC edge of the index page. I use post-it flags for this purpose.

4. Make a goal-tracking page. I like graph paper (just printed on my computer, cut, and hole-punched) for this purpose. Also, don't forget to put the project name in The Box. This page is the one that will hold your temporary tab.

For those doing Nanowrimo, note the daily writing goal is 1,667 words per day in November. In the first Sunday box, I put a key, A, B, and C, to show where the numbers will be placed in each little calendar box. 

A = running goal (1,667 times the number of days that have passed)

B = words today

C = running tally (all Bs so far added together)

I will use this chart to log my writing daily during November.

5. Add working pages as needed. Remember to use The Box to label each page. Since these working pages are being actively used almost daily, as I jot down writing ideas and outlines, I mark them with a magnetic book mark.

6. Check the Monthly calendar. In the case of this November, it's pretty obvious that I will have to finish Nanowrimo a couple of days early, as Thanksgiving comes right at the end of the month.

7. Add the final deadline (and any other important deadlines) to the Weekly tasks list. Remember to write the due date on the last day before the final project is due. Since this is such an important deadline for me, I use pink or red pen to highlight it. Please do not skip this step. This is the important last step that ties the project to your tasks and makes sure that you do not forget about working on it.

Happy writing, Nanowrimo peeps!


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