Preparing to Write a Novel: Tasks and Reasons

It’s odd to be talking about preparing to write a novel two-thirds of the way through NaNoWriMo. There will be people who think that I’m behind the curve somehow, that this is a late start. My goals, and the parameters that I’ve set for myself on this project, don’t properly align with that excellent and completely worthy annual event. There are elements of this that are deeply personal, so I need this to be its own unique thing.

I’m giving myself 90 days to create a solid first draft. Rounding up generously, that’s 600 words per day. While it doesn’t seem like much,  remember that it’s on top of my regular “day job” writing. There’s also the fact that I want to blog about the process, which adds another 300 to 500 words per day, five days a week. Launching the blog is another reason to not do it in alignment with NaNoWriMo, where I risk getting lost in the crowd.

Digesting all of this, taking the time to grasp what I’m doing, is essential. I am looking at this as a stepping stone to the next phase of my career. I have no idea what that looks like, but that’s part of the journey. Do I expect this novel to be a huge hit and make me tons of money? No. It would be fantastic if it were that good, but I’m realistic.

Nor do I think this blog will suddenly take off, or I’ll get job offers as a direct result of posting here regularly. This is more about learning new creative skills, becoming comfortable in my own skin, and getting better at marketing myself. Doing the same thing, the same way, over and over again wasn’t going to lead me to an epiphany that will take me to new and exciting places as a creator.

Preparing to Write a Novel

As well as putting together plot and character ideas, there’s been a lot of peripheral work. Rebuilding this site from scratch, for example, so that it meets my needs going forward. All of the static pages have been, or are in the process of being, overhauled. I want to be able to post without having to worry about site maintenance.

Getting my day job in order, so I can carve out time for novel writing and blogging, has been a task. Those work flows have to be nailed down. Fortunately I’ve been doing that for over 3 years, so I have processes in place in the event something goes off the rails. I couldn’t have done this in the early days of Dancing Lights Press, or even a few months ago.

Household things also need to be in order. This mainly means getting laundry and grocery shopping on a schedule. I’ve got meal plans put together, so I can spend as little time as possible on prep and cleanup. Cooking elaborate meals, as I am wont to do, is reserved for a few special nights per week.

The timing for this has also been carefully selected. We’re in the darkest, coldest, and most depressing months of the year here in Finland. Throwing myself into this for four months, including November for prep and December, January, and February for writing, gives me something to focus on. I do so much better when I have a passion project that I can obsess over.

If you haven’t subscribed to the site yet, please do. Come along with me on the journey. Leave comments. I want to know your thoughts. Full-time writing and blogging begins on 2 December, 2019.

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