Does anybody plan out mini-word-count goals during NaNo other than 1,667 per day? Past winners, any tips on how to space out your writing over the month?
I've heard it's best to build up a high word count early as a buffer for later, I messed around in Excel for a few minutes and worked out daily goals aiming for weekly counts of 20,000 then 15,000 then 10,000 then 5,000, with fewer words on weekdays. No idea if it's realistic?
You are on the right track with planning your schedule.As you heard, it's good to get ahead early.Many folks start out with a daily goal of 2000 words at the beginning, so they can get ahead of the daily average.
If you're working full-time and know it's going to be touch to get 1,667 or 2000 words on workdays, then make a plan catch up on the weekends. It's good to identify days when you'll be busy and not have much time for writing, such as Thanksgiving, and plan accordingly to make up the words on other days. It's good to get those words done ahead of the trouble days, so you don't fall behind the daily average.
Thanksgiving is always a word slump. Best bet is to start out strong early, to give yourself wiggle room for later, as Samand Tanya pointed out. The other thing to consider is headspace - don't worry about not having chunks of time to write. If you have your stories in the cloud and word processors on your phone, your ten minute train ride, yourfive minute wait for coffee, your three minutes at work while the meeting fills up, are all writing times. The little stuff adds up fast. Don't just wait for "writing time".
I don't necessarily plan a writing schedule ahead of time (except for the usual, write as much at the beginning as you can to create a buffer and capitalize on the momentum on the site/forums). But I have definitely created various goals during the month to help ensure a win. When you input your words each day on the site it will calculate for you the number of words per day it will take to finish on time. This takes a lot of the work out of worrying about word count, at least for me :) And then based on that I will make a minimum goal, an ideal goal, and a phenomenal goal each day. Usually the minimum goal is the number of words it'll take per day to finish on time but is some times just 100 words, and the ideal goal is keeping in mind all future missed days (holidays, etc). And there's just something about passing that minimum goal that makes it easier to reach the ideal one in my experience. I almost never make the phenomenal goal because it's always insane (but not impossible).
I like this approach because I can asses my day and my mood/inspiration/physical ability to get writing done and decide if it's a 100 word day or a big goal day, and I'm much more likely to sit down and do it than if I just decided right now that I have to have x amount done by day 5 and then I got unexpected news on day 4 and now I've either got to reorganize my whole schedule or more likely, from experience, feel defeated and start to give up.
And what GwenTolios said, if you give yourself more than one source for words (a notebook, a quick note into evernote, the master word doc on your computer, an email to yourself, a napkin) you're more likely to build nanowrimo into your schedule as is without having to settle for a strict timeline.
Getting ahead really helps! Also, if you have lots of time on the weekends or on another specific day of the week -- that's your writing day now. Do nothing but write on that day (attend a write-in if you can, because they really help) and just bang out as many words as you can. Your mid-November self will thank you!
I usually try 1k on weekdays since my work kind of wipes me out mentally. On weekends, I shoot for 4k to 5k (or more) since I don't have any major responsibilities (perks of being single!). I also try to aim to finish by Thanksgiving day since I never write on Thanksgiving day and I don't like having to worry about making up the words that I missed on Thanksgiving day. I don't always make that goal, but it's nice when I do.
Me? I take the first five days off. That way I can devote myself to a big push on word count. Then later in the month when things get crazy. Like we are planning on cooking the turkey at my mother-in-law's house because she doesn't do steps. After she gets up she'll want to visit and that kinda ruins writing. The Friday after Thanksgiving we have grandchildren over and they help me (really help me) make rolls for a family pot-luck in the evening.
I do have a spreadsheet to track my words each day and can compare it with last years, or the year before that, or the year before that...you get the pictures.
I've never had much trouble getting my word count in that way. Especially on the years I get 30,000 in the first week of Nano!\
I originally wanted to shoot for 2k words a day and get to 50k early, but work and life is starting to look like a big obstacle for me this month; I don't think I even have full weekends to devote much time to my story!
What I'm looking to do now is set a firm goal to write10k words by the end of Sunday each week (20k in the case of Thanksgivingweekend since my schedule becomes a lot more open then), and use my weekdays to properly outline and plot out the major points of my story so I can just grind out the story when I'm able to plan a 5-7 hour period in my schedule.
This is my first time engaging in a challenge like this, so I'm really determined to at least hit 30k despite my busy schedule!
I am very similar to ziplizard. Since I work during the week and have lots going on in the evenings, I aim for 1k on weekdays and 4k on Sat & Sun. That's been pretty doable for me. especially with weekend write ins. It's way easier for me do it this way, than fall behind, which is tough for me mentally and leads to sadness and overeating leftover halloween candy :)