NaNoWriMo, Novel Writing

NaNoWriMo logistics: How are you planning ahead?

Underwood No. 5, in the collection of The Chil...
Can you imagine attempting NaNoWriMo on this behemoth? | Underwood No. 5, in the collection of The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s amazing how often logistical issues can get in the way of our writing. I, like many writers, have tried a variety of techniques in an attempt to make writing – wherever I may be – as easy as possible. Because we all know, the easier it is, the more likely we are to do it. If it seems like too much trouble to haul your ancient, seven-pound laptop along when running errands, then you probably will end up just not doing it.

Yeah, I said seven pounds. I am a starving artist, after all. Of course I don’t have an iPad!

If you were writing a novel a century ago, your choices of communication modes were probably quite limited. You basically either wrote your novel out longhand, or you tapped it out on a bulky typewriter. Did they even have portable typewriters yet a century ago?

Nowadays, you have a great number of choices when choosing the best place to drop your words as they fall out of your head. Even if a good old-fashioned pen and paper are your writing tools of choice, chances are, you will eventually want your words typed up and digitalized for easy sharing (and for easy word-counting when you’re trying to hit a specific word count.) Pen and paper may be easy to carry with you, but converting them to a digital format can be time-consuming.

On the other hand, if you choose to start typing your manuscript on a desktop computer, you may find yourself avoiding writing elsewhere because you can’t take your desktop with you. Sure, you can save your manuscript to the cloud and access it that way. But, what if you can’t afford both a desktop and a laptop, or a desktop and a tablet. Many of us can’t, you know?

What I think a lot of us do have anymore is both a computer of some sort and a smart-phone. (Although a lot of us probably have only a smartphone that must meet our needs for all things unless we have time to go use a public computer at the library.) Many of us have limited resources, but that doesn’t have to stop us from getting our stories out of our heads whether we are sitting at our desks or sitting in a doctor’s waiting room.

Which leads me to my next point: Another resource that most of us are limited on is time. We can’t let those waiting times go to waste by spending them flipping through a three-month-old People magazine that was probably handled by at least 37 flu virus-infected patients before we got to it. We need to learn how to utilize that time to our advantage (and how to stop touching things that are probably covered in germs! You can’t write when you’re busy dying of the flu). Having a solid logistical plan in place will help us do just that.

There are few times when this is more important than during NaNoWriMo when you are trying to write 50,000 words in one month! November is almost here. You need to figure this out now so you don’t find yourself fumbling for excuses not to write every time you have a few extra moments of downtime.

One of the things I have done to prepare for NaNoWriMo is to save my master file to a cloud folder and make sure the folder is accessible on every device I use. I am also looking into the possibility of purchasing a lightweight, portable (dare I say inexpensive?) bluetooth keyboard that I can pair up with my smartphone. That way I can do away with at least one potential excuse (it’s just too hard to write on a touchscreen!) to not write on the go.

What logistical issues do you think you might encounter on your quest for 50,000 words? And what are your plans to combat those excuses before they have the chance to sabotage your November writing efforts? Please share in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “NaNoWriMo logistics: How are you planning ahead?”

  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing. I have considered writing my novel on Google drive. I’m not very familiar with the Cloud, but it would be nice to access my novel from anywhere. Fewer formatting options on Google docs, but maybe in this case that’s a good thing.

    1. I think sometimes the hardest part is working out the bugs when moving from one device to the next. I personally prefer for cloud storage. For some reason, my Google drive will not sync up with my desktop at home. This has been going on for over a year now, and I finally just gave up on getting it to work. But my dropbox works everywhere, even on my phone. And everyone else I know seems to use it too, so it’s made sharing and collaborating on documents really simple.

      By the way, if anyone wants to try out Dropbox, I can get additional free storage space by referring people through the following link:

      1. I am considering giving Scrivener a try. I’m going to attend a Webinar on Scrivener tomorrow night and then begin the 30-day free trial November 1st. We’ll see how I like it. A quote from Ghost and the Darkness: “Never go into battle with an unproven rifle.” Well, for me Scrivener is unproven. Guess I’m still giving it a go! Thanks for your Dropbox suggestion.

      2. I think Scrivener is one of those things that people either love or hate. I purchased it and was disappointed to find that I preferred Word. So definitely make good use of the free trial and get a good feel for it before you buy.

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