This week, I’m introducing The Guidebook, a structured process for creative projects. Here’s what we’ve covered so far:
I’m inviting people to work through The Guidebook with me this fall. I’ll be doing NaNoWriMo. You could do NaNoWriMo, too, or some other project that takes about three months — plan a trip abroad for next spring or summer, complete an academic project in the fall semester, or organize a big community event for the holiday season.
Today, I’m going to lay out a broad calendar for our work together. But, first, let me explain NaNoWriMo.
NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. Every November, several hundred thousand people around the world take the challenge to write a 50,000-word novel in 30 days. This is the only way that I’ve ever managed to take a story from beginning through the middle to the end. All my other attempts at writing a novel stalled some where between a whole lot of research and Chapter Three. Plus, NaNoWriMo is fun!
In NaNoWriMo slang, writers come in two types:
- Planners–people who write outlines, make character sketches, and invent worlds before November
- Pantsers–people who start on November 1 and write by the seat of their pants, with no plan in mind
The Guidebook, with it’s four stages of preparatory work, is clearly a Planner approach. If you’re a curious Pantser who hasn’t planned because you aren’t sure how to approach it, The Guidebook will help. And, it won’t take all the fun out of it, because using The Guidebook is fun.
Here’s the timing for how we’ll work through The Guidebook together, mapped out around Guidebook Fridays.
Dreamer. Our first week, beginning on Friday, September 14, will be about playing around with our ideas and figuring out how they fit in the world of ideas and the journey of our lives.
Dabbler. We’ll give ourselves three weeks to think creatively in order to generate many possibilities for our projects. The novelists among us will invent new worlds and meet new characters. Others will imagine non-obvious solutions and unique perspectives.
BFF. For our fifth week, beginning October 12, we’ll work through possibilities with our real and imaginary friends to decide what to combine, discard, and revisit. We’ll either decide to let our idea go or commit to our new project.
Planner. During weeks 6 and 7, we’ll write outlines and lists, build worlds and prototypes, set up schedules and charts.
Traveler. From November 1 to November 30, will do the work of our projects, whether it’s writing a 50,000-word novel or organizing a wedding.
Shepherd. During the week that begins with the end of NaNoWriMo on November 30, we’ll clean up our messes, set up maintenance plans, and work out what’s next. We’ll end with a final wrap-up session on December 7.
That’s my plan! Do you have a project this fall that would fit well into a schedule like that? I’m looking for a cohort of people to work through The Guidebook on their creative projects with me. Leave a comment or send an email.
Tomorrow, I’ll cover the logistics about meeting times and virtual spaces. Let me know if you have questions. I’m working on a Frequently Asked Questions post for later this week.