Introducing “The Writing Plan”

buildaplanHello again! I know I basically fell off the planet now that NaNo’s over, but that seems to happen every year. Whether it’s the holiday crunch, or exhaustion, or needing time for my brain to recharge, I find myself not writing a single word in December. Now, that’s not to say I’m not thinking about my novel, because I am. My friends are also asking how COC is going, and poking and prodding me to keep writing as well.

I have also switched out my NaNoWriMo Wizard band for my writing charm bracelet, although I need to tweak it a little to include a charm that represents my winning 2014 book. Thank goodness for the internet, because a quick search located — are you ready? — an Excalibur sword charm! Technically, my knight doesn’t wield this legendary weapon, but he was of Arthur’s Round Table so yeah, it works. (For a look at said writer bracelet, click here to temporarily zip over to Facebook and check out the photo I posted.)

Fortunately, I’ve already worked out the details for my plan on how to keep writing, which is also Mom-approved by the way. As I still need to put words on the page, that’s where my plan is focused.

The Writing Plan

I am the kind of girl who works very well with a reward system. November was a perfect example: not only did I get the official NaNoWriMo winner swag, but I also earned personal rewards: season 5 of White Collar on DVD that I’d wanted for a while and Nora Roberts’ third book in her latest trilogy that I’d seen one day on my travels through The Bullseye Store. That last one? I’d literally reached out for it to add it to my shopping basket until I quickly pulled my hand back and said to myself, “No, that’ll be an amazing reward to myself for winning NaNoWriMo because I really, really want that.”

That moment came back to mind when thinking about how to get myself in front of the keyboard. Knowing me as I do, if the reward is something I really want — say the movie Guardians of the Galaxy or all seasons of The Walking Dead or the new Magic: the Gathering expansion sets that’re coming out in January and March or the Castle Derrick Storm graphic novels or one of the many books on my wish list, just to name a few completely non-random examples — I’ll work harder to get to that goal.

It’s all about the points

nixwritingplan
The Writing Plan, as transcribed in my makeshift December agenda, aka a small green composition book.

Whenever I write, I’ll be earning points toward a reward of my choosing. You’ll notice I’ve tweaked things a little since I first wrote out the plan (see the image at right) as I’ve had time to think on it. But here it is:

  • For every day that I write in a given month, no matter how much or how little, I get a point.
  • For every 1,000 words that I write in a given month, I get a point. I must hit the minimum to earn the point. Writing 750 words one day still counts, but I won’t get the point until I’ve written an additional 250 to reach a thousand words.
  • If I write fifteen days in a given month, I get five additional bonus points for each block of fifteen days.
  • If I write 30,000 words or more in a given month, I get five additional bonus points for each multiple of 30,000.

At the beginning of the following month, I’ll add up all my points and each point earns me $1 in reward money. Points are cumulative, and points not spent on rewards do carry over but may only be added to that month’s point total. Example: if I earn 25 points in January and redeem 20 points, the remaining 5 points are not available for redemption until I’ve accumulated points for February. That’s so I keep the momentum going forward instead of racking up huge point totals and slacking off.

Had this plan been in place for November, here’s how it would have added up:

  • Total days written in November: 18 = 18 points
  • Total words written in November: 50,519 = 50 + 5 bonus points
  • Grand total in rewards for November: $73

All Ready to Go

I’m ready to start this plan come January 1, which is a holiday for me so it’s got potential to start off well. I have a spiffy new agenda in which I can track my writing time and my points, along with the rest of my schedule. Each point will be represented by a cute little owl sticker and my 5 point bonuses by Peanuts reward stickers. I also found this perfect Snoopy wall art that I absolutely had to have and it’s waiting for me under the Christmas tree. So far, I think the plan will work. Stay tuned to find out if I’m right!

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Author: Nikki B.

IT Ops Girl Friday by day, wannabe Writer by night who's attempting to finish just one of her many novels. Follow the saga on Wordpress!

4 thoughts on “Introducing “The Writing Plan””

  1. This seems like a really cool way to motivate and reward yourself! I may have to steal this and see if I can tweak it to fit my writing plans. Seriously, though, kudos on getting this set up. Thanks for sharing and let me know how it works!

  2. Thanks, Kate, and I’ll be posting here for sure on how it all works out. When I get to the point of having an actual finished book, I may be stealing your plan so yes, steal and tweak away. It’s just one of the ways we support each other, right?

  3. That’s so awesome that you’ve found a way to motivate yourself to keep up the regular writing. I hope it helps you to get down a lot of words and gets you lots of excellent awards, too. I assume you get something extra fantastic for finishing the book?

  4. Thanks, Amanda! To tell you the truth, I hadn’t thought about an “extra fantastic” award for finishing the book. I suppose I should! Hmm, I see a new blog post topic there. :)

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