Batching, Productivity & Processes: a #NaNoWriMo2018 wrap-up post

If you’ve been following me any amount of time, you probably already know that I treat #NaNoWriMo as a time to create and test new processes. This year was no different.

This year instead of writing a new novel, I decided to plot.

And fellow word-makers, it was the smartest thing I’ve ever done. What made me decide to do this? Well, I finally started implementing all of that good advice I read and listened to about getting my shit done. Completely wild, right? Imagine buying and read 20 odd books on being an entrepreneur and downloading fifty-eleven podcasts on entrepreneurship and never implementing a thing? Don’t say you heard it from me, but I’m pretty sure that someone we know is guilty of that shit.

I’m the someone we know, you guys. That someone is me.

What is batching?

Batching is a productivity and time management hack that is designed to maximize concentration and decrease distraction. As a result, it increases your productivity, creativity, and mental sharpness, while decreasing the fatigue, procrastination, and stress that comes with creating content. For this particular post, let’s call that content BOOKS.

There are lots of ways to batch, but the one that I use exclusively is the Pomodoro Technique. The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks. There are lots of free tools to get you started. I use an app called Focus Keeper but this free desktop version is good, too. It’s free on iTunes. After spending some time deciding what I want to work on and choosing one of my meditation apps, I get to work!

How batching helped me plot like a bawse.

Okay, now that I’ve explained batching and how I use it for productivity and time management, here’s how I applied it to my process to make plotting and planning more efficient, and dare I say, fun!

Back in October, I published a The Basic Character Creation Workbook. This is a stripped down version of my character creation process, which because I was simply laying the groundwork for novels that I want to write in the future, is a great baseline. I’m the sort of writer who’s plotting and planning process lives in character development. If I get hung up somewhere in my book, I can almost guarantee that it’s because of something I don’t know about my characters. Shit gets real sketch if I skip or skimp on this part of the process. It hurts when I do that so I don’t do that.

Also in the month of October (aka Preptober) I did a blog series called 11 Days & 11 Ways to Plot Your Novel. I’ve always known there were different ways to plot a novel, but researching all of the different ways was very eye-opening and informative. It also encouraged me to fully incorporate Romancing The Beat, a plotting process that I’ve been implementing in small doses but never making a full commitment.

Using these tools I chose four books that I wanted to plot and plan and then I created a schedule to make actionable. There was a bit of a SNAFU at the beginning because NaNoPlotMo didn’t start on a Monday. Not gonna lie…that stressed me the fuck out. I didn’t want to start in the middle of the week but I didn’t want to lose four days of work on these projects either. As luck would have it, I picked up a small editing job that filled those four days so it all worked out.

Please excuse my neuroses. Here is the schedule:

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What did I accomplish?

I plotted and planned four short novels:

  • A Secret Baby/My Best Friend’s Sister romance which is the first in a series spinoff from The Truth Duet
  • A Submissive Male/Friends to Lovers Romance, which is a standalone novel from The Lust Diaries world)
  • My VIRGIN HERO book. You guys, this is basically competence porn with handy-woman and an eager inexperienced guy and I lived for every word of this plotting because these two…PHEW! They’re gonna be hot and adorable, you guys.
  • My NOLA LOVE NOVEL which will be modern gothic romance that I can’t wait to dive into.

What did I learn?

Like always, focusing on writing during #NaNoWriMo gives me a huge boost of motivation. I work with authors all the time, and while that is fun, it doesn’t allow me to focus on my own writing in the way I would like. Batching my novel planning process was clutch and it allowed me to take care of my ideas so that I don’t get Big Magic’d.

I also gained more faith and belief in my current process. Probably need to find some wood to knock on before I type this, but I think I’m getting close to perfection with this thing. *Fingers crossed*

How about you? Did you win #NaNoWriMo? Did you discover something new about your process? Let me know in the comments!

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