October 7, 2015

October is Outline Month

How time flies, it’s already a week into October. Where did summer go? Who stole the warm evening sun? Why is the lake freezing cold? And who is that naked man-beast screaming obscenities in my garden?

Chances are he’s an aspiring writer, freaking out over November. Yes, that’s right, he’s chill about October, but November, that badass month of every bloody thing you have to get done before December rolls in, fat and giddy – yes, November, it scares the living shits out of him.

Why, you ask? Because it’s National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo for short. I’ve written about this phenomenon before, it sparked my Thoughts on Writing series, and it’s a glorious time to get started on that manuscript you’ve been dreaming of. Sure, writing a novel in a month is far-fetched for most professional writers, so chances are you could do is fairly slim. But, see, that’s not the point. The goal is to get to 50,000 words, 1,666 per day, which is one short novel at best. More likely, it’s a (large) chunk into your first draft – yes, there will be several, do it properly or don’t do it at all – and that’s not bad, not bad at all, fellow madperson.

So if November is for writing novels, then October is for preparations. The One Single Thing you have to do, above all others, is preparing your outline. If you’ve got a solid outline ready by November 1st, completing NaNoWriMo is far from impossible.

I’ve written about outlining before, you should go read it. Because it’s already October 7, and you better get cracking.

Alas, I won’t be doing an official NaNoWriMo this year either. The concept might be fun, but it just doesn’t fit me very well. Or rather, it fits me perfectly, because it’s basically what I do when I’m working on something. I write daily, 2,000 words or so, usually logging between 50,000 and 70,000 words per month. Big numbers, I’m a fast writer, but that’s only because I prepare well. For me, it’s NaNoWriMo whenever I start a new writing project, so while it would be fun to do the whole community thing, it just isn’t for me. But it might be for you, and if it is, you should give it a go.

But first: get your outline ready. You’ve got a couple of weeks, don’t waste them.

Now please, get off my fucking lawn!

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.