How to Prepare for an Editing NaNoWriMo

If you remember, I have pledged to edit my way through November in order to get my first ever NaNo novel whipped into shape. So this week, as we approach the first day of NaNoWriMo, I thought I’d share the preparations I’m doing to set me up for that first 1,667 seconds worth of editing on Saturday 1st November.

1) Tidy up my workspace

The dream desk

WARNING: Desk may appear tidier than it currently is

This is NOT how it currently looks. But by the time November 1st comes around I expect it to be just as tidy. I plan to use my writing desk as the main location for my 28 minute edits per day so that my brain associates this space with hard work and focused sessions. We’ll see how long the desk stays tidy and if the building of a new habit works…

wpid-IMAG0627.jpg2) Finish reading the novel
I have almost a third of my novel to actually read and make notes on, after a bout of ill health stopped me partaking in any form of writing/reading this week. Still, I hope to get through to the end with my orange post-it notes so that I can fully understand the changes that need to be made throughout the month.

3) Plan of attack
Using the handy editing websites I have bookmarked (see this post) I’m going to identify a few approaches I can try throughout the month; from taking it scene by scene, to plotting the overarching story and delving into my character motivations to ensure they are consistent.

Corkboard, check. Post-its, check. Index cards, check.

Corkboard, check. Post-its, check. Index cards, check.

4) Have editing essentials nearby
Having invested in some editing essentials for all of these editing techniques (see pic) I feel ready (and somewhat excited) to begin the edit now. There’s nothing like some new stationary to get the creative juices flowing!

5) Set targets and rewards
One of my key strategies in NaNoWriMo has always been to reward myself for any success I may achieve. So, for every 1,667 words I wrote in a day, I got to watch an episode of my favourite series. Reaching a NaNo Milestone, like 5,000 or 10,000 words, got me a slice of cake and a whipped cream latte. And, of course, then there’s the big one: last year I treated myself to a brand new double album of some of my favourite music when I passed the 50,000 word mark. This year, rather than base it on the numbers (as I’m transferring them from words to seconds spent editing) I need to identify some markers in my novel – like nailing the first chapter, or resolving an issue – that I can base these rewards on. Although, of course, I’ll still treat myself to something nice if I manage to do the minimum every day.

6) Inform and Warn
This means letting people know what I’m up to and gently reminding them that, for the month of November, I’ll be putting the novel first. I also let those near and dear to me know what I’m aiming for so that they can encourage me onward and support me when I need it – even if they’re not writers themselves: most of them know how important it is to me and will listen when I’m having a bad day!

I’m now really looking forward to being a rebel in this year’s NaNoWriMo and am hoping it will teach me how to enjoy the editing process I currently find so difficult. I’ll be updating the blog with my progress and the lessons I learn as I go. Hopefully I’ll have something to celebrate by the end of the month!

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How do you prepare for NaNoWriMo, or just editing your work in general? Please add any tips or advice in the comments below, or Tweet Me.

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10 responses to “How to Prepare for an Editing NaNoWriMo

  1. #’s 5 and 6 — I always forget to do these! You’re right, it really does pay off to reward yourself for all that work, and to let everyone know what you’re up to so they don’t bother you when they see you’re working. πŸ™‚

    • Well, then, I’m glad you were reminded to get those rewards in place before Saturday! πŸ™‚ Good luck with the writing, and I hope your friends & family support you once you let them know what you’re aiming for! If you need any extra encouragement look me up on the NaNo website and I’ll cheer you on!
      Thanks for stopping by. Take care, Cat

    • Tough choice – I went for seconds per day because I suspect some parts of my WIP will need more intensive editing than others and so I didn’t want to tie myself to having to get through 1667 terrible words than need a complete redraft or contain a sticky sentence or two that need a lot of work!
      Good luck with it – I’ll be blogging what I learn as I go, so come back and let us know how you’re doing!
      Take care, Cat

      • That’s a great reason to do seconds. I can just imagine some of the parts… Oh goodness. πŸ™‚ Good luck to you too! Can’t wait to join you on this crazy journey through NaNoWriMo!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, productivity is definitely the aim! But yes, it needs to be engaging too.
      If you have any tips (or blog posts) that might be useful I’d be very grateful. πŸ™‚

      • Just like the “real” NaNoWriMo, set up a daily work count goal. I looked at my manuscript’s word count and divided it by 30. That way I knew how many words I had to comb through and revise every single day. It worked really, really well! To keep myself motivated, I used one of those little progress bars to track my completion percentage. πŸ™‚

  2. Great tips! I like your idea of 1,667 seconds a day. If I can’t work on carving out an average of 28 minutes a day, I should re-evaluate my life. Thanks for the tips! I’ll be rebelling right a long with you.

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