Preptober: Make a Plan

It feels like Preptober just started, and yet here we are at day 7 already! How are your plans coming along?

Mine are…okay. I admit that I’m not as far along with it as I would have liked. So, what else is new, right? I feel like this is a perfect opportunity to talk about scheduling your time because that is a super important part of Preptober and NaNoWriMo.

If you’re anything like me, you probably think that you have a lot more time than you actually do—or at least that you are able to do a lot more in that time than you actually can.

What can I say? I’m an optimist!

Preptober is a good time to look ahead at your calendar and see how many days you will actually be writing in November. It’s all well and good to say, “I’m going to write 1,667 words a day!” because that’s the official daily target to write 50k words in 30 days. But ask yourself how likely it is that you will actually write every single day in November. Think of holidays, birthdays, events that might prevent you from writing on any given day. Consider that you may not have the stamina to write every single day in November. Writing—creativity in general—can take a lot of mental energy. There’s no shame in saying you need a break. If you think you will need a break during November in order to finish…well, you need to plan for that.

So, let’s say you know there are 6 days in November that you just aren’t going to write—that’s 10k words you will have to make up somewhere in the month. You can choose to pick a few days where you know you are going to have more time and write a lot more on those specific days to make up for the deficit. Or, if you know about these days ahead of time, you can spread that 10k out over the whole month. Instead of having 30 days, you know you only have 24. 50k words divided by 24 days is 2,084 words a day. You can make this your daily goal instead of the 1,667.

The point is, you should be realistic here in how many days you are actually going to write and then figure out how you’re going to fit 50k into those days. It will save you a lot of stress come the end of November when you realize that maybe writing for 30 days straight wasn’t practical after all.

And another thing to consider is the fading of your motivation as the month wears on. Boy, can I tell you all about that! When I start a challenge, I go in hard. I have so much energy and motivation that it feels like finishing will be a breeze!

Trust me, that feeling fades (see my steady descent into despair during Milwordy). I think a lot of people face this same motivation decline, which is why it’s a good idea to get a head start while your energy is high. If at all possible, I highly recommend planning to write extra words at the beginning of the month when your excitement is going to be high, just in case you find your energy waning at the end of the month.

So, take a couple of minutes during Preptober to be honest with yourself about how many days you will be able to write in November. Then figure out how you are going to make up for any lost days.

Good luck! Thanks for reading!

Published by Robin J

I’m an aspiring novelist who hasn’t quite figured out this whole writing thing. I’ve been scribbling down stories since I was a little kid, but only dared to dream that I could write something worth reading as I became an adult. At 33, I still feel like I have a lot of progress to make before I’m ready to try publishing, but I’m getting better every day. Typically I write Fantasy (of both the Adult and YA varieties), but I have dipped my toe in Romance and Sci-Fi. When coming up with a story to write, all I care about is that the plot grabs my attention and the characters tug at my heartstrings. The genre is an afterthought. I tend to set myself lofty goals. Mostly I fail, but occasionally I surprise myself and succeed. Either way, I enjoy being pushed beyond the limits of what I thought I could do. That’s what I’m hoping to accomplish with the Milwordy challenge. I may or may not reach the full million words, but I know I’m going to learn a lot along the way. I hope you will, too!

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