Writing in Your Perfect Time

There are innumerable opinions on the perfect time to write.

Some say it’s best to rise early in the morning and crank out a few pages before the world and your family wakes.

There are those who write in the middle of the day, sneaking moments during their lunch break, or the baby’s nap to add a scene or two to their budding novel.

Then the night writers amble into their office, or the corner of a bedroom, or the kitchen table, and throw one of their characters into deadly action while the rest of the household sleeps, blissfully unaware of the mayhem being perpetrated in the next room.

As many writers as there are in this world, there are equally as many opinions on the best time to write.

However, here’s another view of that question.

Let me ask you.  Is the best time to write when you have something to say, plotted, planned and pretty?  Or is it when you are still fumbling your way through decisions on plot and characters, while your story is still a glorious mess in the corners of your mind?

Should you avoid the keyboard, and hide all the legal pads in the house until you know every step your characters will take, and every word they will speak?

Should you throw all those strange people living in your imagination against a piece of paper and see what forms they take?
Why not try both?  I think you’ll find that like our writers who have a preferred time of day for writing, there will be a fascinating variety of answers about the proper time in the planning process to stroke your fingers across the keyboard before typing, “Once upon a time…”

No matter which approach you decide fits your writing style best, it’s a good idea to prepare yourself mentally for the writing process.

In case you haven’t been watching the pages turn on your calendar, it will soon be time for this year’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

Sure, you could show up on November 1, crack your knuckles, and sit down to write 1,667 words each day for the next month.  However, if your motive is to create a novel worth publishing, maybe now is the time to begin thinking through what you will be working on in November.

A little bit of planning will make it much easier to like what you see on your pages each day.  And if you like what you see, you’re much more likely to complete your 50,000 words by the end of the month.

If you successfully complete 50,000 words by the end of the month, you are far more likely to actually finish, edit and polish it, and send it off to a publisher, than if you’ve only reached a small percentage of your word count goal.

So get in gear now so you’ll have a plan in place when you begin NaNo in a couple of months.  In the meantime, write.  Then write some more.

When November rolls around you’ll be ready to write your best novel yet.  And you may join the ranks of the growing list of published NaNoWriMo winners.

Do you usually plan your month before NaNoWriMo begins?  Leave a comment and share with us how and what you plan, and the results of that planning.

6 thoughts on “Writing in Your Perfect Time

  1. Unfortunately, I won’t be participating in Nano this year 🙁 Way too many things on my plate. Instead, I’ll be going slow and steady on my second novel and starting revisions on my first. I’ll be cheering you guys on, though!

  2. Hi Yesenia,

    Like you I’m going to be working to finish one of my novels. But I’ll be cheering on everyone who signs up for the NaNo challenge. Maybe next year I’ll be ready to jump into action with these characters who’ve been whispering in the corners of my mind. Once they get over their shyness, we should be ready to write.

  3. I’m one for two with NaNo. The first year I was determined to white knuckle it – and won. Although I must admit as I hadn’t done any prep, the finished product needed major re-writes. Last year I crashed and burned horribly (I’d moved house the week before and the whole endeavour was over-ambitious at best).

    This year I’m hoping to ace it, and like you suggest am planning well in advance. And not just the outline – with Christmas following hard on the heels of NaNo, I am going to make sure December doesn’t fall apart when the dust settles!

    1. Welcome, Raewyn. It’s certainly an endurance test to participate in NaNo. I’m so impressed that you’ve already thought of planning through December! With the holiday season and all the rush and hurry it seems to bring, it’s so easy to put our new manuscripts in a drawer and say, “I’ll get back to that when everything settles down.” But it never really settles down, does it?

      Will this new tale be part of your trilogy? Your WIP sounds intriguing. I do love a good fantasy.

      Do let me know how NaNo goes for you this year. Since I’ll be sitting this one out (I’ll be working on finishing a novel while you start a new one), I’ll be a cheerleader for you.

  4. I totally agree with this article. I just started writing and this will be my first work and yes I have those times that all my legal pads hidden and being away from the keyboard just to make a structure before writing it down. This is why I love to read post like this, it helps a lot of newbie such us like me. I hope I’ll be able to join NaNo soon.

    1. There’s no time like the present. NaNo is an excellent learning tool. You’ll discover much about yourself. Can you – will you – write every day? How well do you spin a plot on the fly as your characters lead you here and there? How dedicated are you to your craft? Why do you really write – fame, fortune, fun, or some combination of these? Take the leap! You won’t be a newbie by the end of NaNo. You’ll have at least 50,000 words under your belt.

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