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Gearing Up for a Literary Journey

Gloria Ukaoma

Posted on February 14, 2021 01:58

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Prepping early is the key to finishing before a deadline. With National Novel Writing Month still a ways away, it may feel unnecessary to put words on the page now. However, I think now is the perfect time to set the stage for success in November.

Before a run, you have to stretch. It’s pretty much common sense: your body needs time to acclimate to the stress you will soon be putting it through. The same goes for writing; before you jump into a new project, you have to have your space tidied up, your playlist loaded, and your Pinterest moodboard at the ready. (Or so I’ve heard; I can’t actually speak to the last one.)

 
These actions help you get into the mood for whatever type of writing session you are about to embark on. Maybe you’re writing an action-packed scene and you need some upbeat tunes to motivate you. Or maybe you’re proofreading a script, and you need some ambient sounds to set the scene. In both cases, there is some level of preparation that goes into the writing process. That’s the key to maintaining steam during intermediate to large scale projects.

 
With a goal as ambitious as writing a whole novel in a month, one would think that at least a little bit of preparation is warranted. Indeed, the NaNoWriMo website is constantly being updated with resources, pep-talks, and generous dollops of inspiration. For a non-profit, they have more support centers than you would expect. Writers of all types can find a community with the handy “groups” function. Even outside the official platform, there are all sorts of clubs and forums dedicated to improving one’s craft. Taking advantage of these resources before you actually start writing may save you time during the heat of the moment. There’s nothing wrong with doing additional research while in the middle of a project, but it may slow you down or cause inconsistencies in your writing. 

 
That isn’t to say that sources of inspiration are a replacement for good-old-fashioned plot outlines. If anything, it’s the opposite. These tools and resources are add-ons to the baseline items that most writers need. The playlist, forum, or Pinterest board must be complementary to the genre you’ve already established. Otherwise, you’re setting yourself up for a hard time. An outline or clear set of goals is necessary for a writing project of any significant size. Define “significant” as you will, but spending a week on an outline you don't love is much better than wasting a month on a story you hate.

 
There are many ways to create a plot outline, but that deserves an article of its own. Every project is different, and the greatest advantage you can have is preparation time. What you do with that time should correlate with your end goal: a novel, a screenplay, a compilation of poems, etc. And of course, bad preparation is always better than no preparation.

Gloria Ukaoma

Posted on February 14, 2021 01:58

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Source: Upworthy

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