Planning Your Schedule

So, if you’re like me, the countdown has begun. Nano is in 23 days, and before we know it, the hour will be at hand. If you’re anything like me, you’ve got tons of great ideas and you’re excited to get started on your project.

However, the month has a tendency to fly by. Many of us have lots of responsibilities outside of sitting down and writing for hours each day. Whether it’s school, work, family, or something else, you’re going to have to plan your writing around the demands of life. Even if you’re one of those fortunate few whose main responsibility is writing, hopefully these tips will help you make the most of your time.


Know Things Will Change

No matter how meticulously you plan, how many factors you account for, things will change. There will be emergencies, inconveniences, and opportunities for other things that you need to take advantage of. Keep that in mind as you plan, and know that you will have to move things around later on.

Move What You Can Control

If you have big projects that you know are coming up, try to do what you can now to minimize their impact in November. If you’ve got a big paper due for college, or a project for work, try to do a little extra work now so that it won’t be quite as big an ask later. Here’s the important thing here though: If you can finish it before November, FINISH IT. Don’t leave a half finished paper saved on your desktop or a barely outlined plan for work sitting in a share folder.

Plan For What You Can’t Control

If you have a test, group project, or work event in November, odds are you can’t move it. Often, you won’t even be able to finish your part before November 1st, since these types of things require study and preparation to be fresh in your head. What you can do it plan out a schedule of how you will prepare for them. If you know that you’re going to need extra time on the 7th-10th to do test prep, move some of your writing time from those days to the weekends or days you’ll have more time.

Don’t Plan Yourself Out 100%

Don’t plan every minute of your day. Don’t plan as if you’ll be able to do everything in the bare minimum time it takes. Some days you’ll be tired, there will be traffic, a professor will go long, or you’ll lose track of time. Make sure you leave lots of margin and room to move things around.


The point of planning is not to have detailed, minute by minute schedule for all of November, but rather to have general idea of where you’re going, what the challenges will be, and where you can make up time. This will allow you to not be discouraged when you fall behind during a test week, and keep you focused during those weekends you’ve set aside to be Nano ‘get-ahead-times’.

Much like the outline I talked about last week, it’s just one more tool to help you achieve your NanoWrimo goals, which I’ll talk about next week. Follow me here or on facebook so you don’t miss it, and leave a comment with some of your favorite planning techniques.


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