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A Brief History of My Creative Life #Guidebook #NaNoWriMo

By Joyweesemoll @joyweesemoll

Yesterday, I introduced my current project - recruit a cohort of people to work through The Guidebook, a structured process to approach NaNoWriMo or similar-sized creative project this fall.

Today, I want to share my experiences with The Guidebook and with NaNoWriMo.

The first version of The Guidebook was a series of four mind maps that pulled together information from several books that I read in 2002 as I prepared to go back to school at age 40. Here were the first three projects that I pursued using The Guidebook:

  • Apply to library school
  • Set up my first blog to record what I learned in library school
  • Complete my first library school assignment

The Guidebook has since undergone several iterations, changing as I discovered what did and didn't work for me. Every time I encountered a new way of conveying information in a visual way, I re-drew The Guidebook sheets to reflect that new skill.

In the sixteen years since I first developed The Guidebook, I've used it for all kinds of creative projects:

  • Write an article for publication
  • Get oriented in a new job
  • Buy a new house
  • Prepare for a conference
  • Plan a trip (as close as Arkansas and as far as France)
  • Plan an event
  • Consider an important purchase
  • Prepare a presentation
  • Plan a year, a season, a month, a week

I also used The Guidebook before, during, and after NaNoWriMo.

My first experience of NaNoWriMo was in 2008. I "won" by writing a 50,000-word novel in that year and five times since then. Several of those times, I used The Guidebook to invent my worlds, make an outline or list of scenes, and get to know my characters. The Guidebook helped me prepare in the weeks leading up to November, accompanied me during NaNoWriMo, and prompted me to wrap things up and make future plans in early December.

This fall, I will use The Guidebook to lead me through my seventh NaNoWriMo. I want to work with a cohort of others using The Guidebook for NaNoWriMo, or a similar sized project, to learn how The Guidebook works for other people. That will help me improve The Guidebook next year and expand it from a stack of instructive illustrations to a book with explanatory text.

What are you doing this fall that would benefit from a cohort working through a structured process for creative projects? Send me an email (all three of my names smashed together at yahoo) or leave a comment.

Tomorrow I'll share an overview of The Guidebook in greater detail, with an illustration.

A Brief History of My Creative Life #Guidebook #NaNoWriMo

About Joy Weese Moll

a librarian writing about books

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