I received a clever email from NaNoWriMo (well, actually, from the point of view of my unwritten book) inviting me, on behalf of unwritten books everywhere, to write my book this November. It suggested that Step One in preparing for National Novel Writing Month is to DECIDE to write 50,000 words in 30 days. I’ve already decided that. Then, the email provided a link to a “Prep” page on the NaNoWriMo site which provided a series of steps leading up to November 1. Step One is making the commitment to participate. Check. Step Two is asking yourself whether you are a “planner” or a “pantser.”
According to NaNoWriMo, you are a “planner” if
1. You believe in rigorous preparation.
2. You’ll spend the months before November carefully fleshing out characters, building worlds, and plotting your story.
3. On November 1, you’ll have an outline—or at least lots of helpful notes.
And, on the other hand, you are a “pantser” if
1. You believe in hardcore spontaneity.
2. You’ll spend the months before November stocking up on inspiration and mayyybe a vague idea or two (if you’re ambitious).
3. On November 1, you’ll have a blank document and your imagination.
It would be interesting to see if NaNoWriMo actually had statistics on the success rates of “planners” vs “pantsers” — in other words, which category is comprised of the most people who have successfully written 50,000 words? Perhaps my guess is based only upon the fact that I’m clearly a “Planner” but I would wager a guess that, statistically speaking, there are more “winners” in the “planner” category. Being a planner suggests other character traits that will come in handy when trying to write 50,000 words in 30 days, namely organization, dedication, and commitment. While the NaNoWriMo site says “We think both are equally valid” they clearly don’t, because in the very next paragraph they eschew the very essence of being a “pantser” by saying, “And even if you’re a pantser, we recommend reading through the links below… You never know what might inspire you.” A pantser wouldn’t do that — that sounds like preparation and planning.
I have already done a lot of planning for my book, Idle Hands, and in the coming days I’ll share those plans here so those of you who are planning on joining me on this writing adventure can see what a “planner” does to prepare for NaNoWriMo. And I’ll also continue filling out my author profile by collecting more badges…
T-Minus 10 days until NaNoWriMo kicks off….