Every year at this time, I begin to get a combined anxiety and excitement. November 1-30 is what legions of writers around the globe know as National Novel Writing Month, aka NaNoWriMo. Or, for people who’ve done it multiple times, simply “Nano.”

It’s a time of creating something new. Whether it’s a completely new story or idea, a new set of characters, or adding new twists to an existing work-in-progress (WIP), this is a time to set forth with a goal of creating, in essence, enough words to (almost) constitute a novel. 50,000 words, 30 days. No problem, right? Well…

It can be daunting to think of sitting down and completing this word count inside of 30 days, in general. Especially, if you have not done it before. I have attempted it several times. I’ve “won” a few times, too. I have built myself a habit of writing every day, in some fashion. Consequently, achieving the word count (WC) is not too tough on me, if it’s the only thing I have to do in November. Of course, as for most people, life does not stop for one task for the span of an entire month. There are real life matters that clamor for attention, as well.

While I don’t have children, I have family members who need my attention or assistance. I need to do laundry, deal with errands and meals, and get to appointments. If it was *only* writing for 30 days, 24/7, sure, NO problemo! However, this is not the case for me.

I must MAKE the time to sit and write each day. I have to make it a priority. I enjoy writing, so that is not a problem. It’s the other noise of life that creeps in and threatens that creative zone. This last part is true of my life, in general, not solely for November. Then, you add in things like holidays and other interests one might have. You get the idea.

In anticipation of what awaits for me in November, and the goal I would like to achieve (for ME, not for anyone else), I begin my thinking and planning for Nano in September. I have waited until the last minute in the past. Especially the first year I attempted Nano. I had not heard of it until that particular year. And, when did I hear about it? You guessed it: on Day One, November 1st. I sat down and began typing, but I did not win that first year.

The next year, I vowed that I would at least make a basic outline prior to November 1st. I think I wrote down a one-sentence plot summary, and a name for my Main Character (MC). I did win that year.

The past few years, when I’ve attempted and won Nano, my formula has been variable. I’ve won each time I’ve signed onto the website and made myself accountable.

This year, I have planned a character sketch for my MC, her name is Catalina Rivera. I have an idea of the basic setting of the story’s beginning.I have a year, a time-frame, a city and her home in mind. I have the primary antagonist, the major conflict or incident that will occur, and a few possible resolutions in mind.

I hope having these aspects nailed down, just over a month out from the start of Nano month, will help me win this year’s attempt. I’ll let you know, after November!

Catalina has two black cats, based on the one pictured. Their names are Ebony and Onyx.