Plot-A-Month Week 0: Scheduling
Are you ready to PLOOOOOOOT.
Today kicks off the Week 0 of Plot A Month, your pre-NaNoWriMo/noveling/something outlining adventure! As I stated in the previous post, you have to do absolutely nothing to participate; no check-ins, no tags, no proving you’re doing something. You don’t even have to do it now; you can save up posts for later. All we’re doing here is a five week plan to kickstart your outlining process, and, as the first day, we’re going to tackle one of the most neglected, yet required things you need to sit down and write: getting that goddamn schedule in order.
Some of you are going back to school. Some of you work full-time, or have to juggle both. Some of you have kids, those adorable timesucks that they are. You need a plan before the plan, so to speak, if you’re going to get this outline done in a month.
- Break out the Time Finder. Chris Baty, NaNoWriMo founder, has a really good suggestion for how to carve out your writing time. Get out your planner, calender, and some extra paper, and go through the weeks. This part is important: Split your days by the hours. It’s so helpful to do that rather than laundry list, because you’ll have a real estimate of your time. Required items—work, class, make dinner, driving time—can be written in any color, say red. Should-do things—shower, exercise, socialize so your friends don’t think you’ve become a cave troll—can also be slotted in. Your goals is to find the gaps—that hour spent scrolling tumblr, those show reruns you don’t really need to see, the morning time you spend staring at your computer screen before you have to do anything. The most important thing about the gaps is not that you have to turn them all into writing time—you don’t—but to find the best time to write. Work better in the afternoons? Section off some hours there. Want to work in the morning, but find that time filled? See what you can shift around on your schedule. The Time Finder is the best tool I’ve ever used, but the key is to stick with it. Don’t give up if you slip a day or two. You need to make the habit before you have it down.
- Kick Procrastination in the Ass. Procrastination is not your friend. Oh, we all know it’s tempting and we all know why it’s tempting—I spent this morning looking up videos to show my class, and am now cursing myself for having to deal with an unexpected social thing this afternoon. But it’s not helping you, especially when you need to accomplish things. Stick to your Time Finder; those dishes can wait. You don’t need to see that episode right now. The more you procrastinate, the more guilty you feel about it, the less you write as a result. Don’t do that to yourself.
- Kill Distractions.See that Wi-Fi button? Turn it off. Unplug your modem, temporarily relocate your web browser icons to the recycling bin. Get off tumblr; I realize how ironic this is, coming from a tumblr blog, but for real: Get Off Tumblr. At least until you’ve reached your time goal, and yes, I said time goal, not writing goal. You want to get down that writing time before you let yourself try to spill over it or put it off. Try to make your time; don’t worry about your amount.
Today’s the day you get that schedule done! Employ your Time Finder, confirm future events or due dates, shuffle things around. You can do it!
Further Reading (only when you’re done scheduling >:| ):