My job hunt is going well, I’m getting back into my routine, and I’m more than ready to start posting again. Welcome back!
Despite my best efforts I did not make it as far into NaNo as I had aspired (full disclosure I made it all of four days before I decided to pull the plug). I steeled myself for this possibility as much as possible, but the reality was still a tough pill to swallow. That said, it’s time to take an honest post-mortem on what I missed out, but more importantly, what I hope to gain next November.
I have a love/hate relationship with Lifehacker. Sometimes they have really great and fresh ideas on things, and other times it’s pure clickbait. That said, Beth Skwarecki has a great article on the things she’s taken away from being a NaNoWriMo veteran. Rather than feeling sad, her article helped make me hungry for next year’s effort and all the writing projects in between.
Skwarecki’s number one lesson?
Lesson #1: You Don’t Find Time, You Make Time
This one really hits home because it’s very easy to get caught up in the feeling of just not having enough time in the day to get the writing done. This is exactly what I was feeling after my first few days of NaNo.
The question then becomes, how does one make that time? Skwarecki has some great and practical advice to make this happen:
Figure out what your writing time will displace. If you get up early or stay up late, you have to make up the sleep somehow. Your lunch break or evening TV time might be better candidates.
Plan ahead. Maybe you need to ask someone to watch the kids, or maybe you can get some writing done on your commute if you remember to bring your laptop. At the very least, carry a notebook everywhere so you can turn random downtime into a few handwritten pages or an outline of your next chapter’s plot.
Be ready to write. Three 20-minute blocks of time would do the trick, if you could sit down already knowing what you’re going to write. Anytime you’re busy but not writing (doing chores, exercising), think about what should happen next in your story.
Good advice like this seems obvious, but it’s the execution that counts towards making it worthwhile. I have my eye on next November and taking the heart advice like this is a big help to me getting there.