One of the reasons I was on the fence about signing up for NaNoWriMo was the sheer number of days that would make it difficult for me to get any writing done. Starting NaNoWriMo with three days of no writing did not seem like a good idea because that would mean at the start of day four, I would be almost 5,000 words behind. Instead of worrying, I decided to think about just writing. Here are three tips I tried yesterday that I found useful. I’m hoping you might too whether you are on your own NaNo journey, just starting out writing or trying to make time in your busy life to write:
- JUST START I know, people say this all the time, but for many people starting a big project seems nearly impossible. It feels like you are an ant who has to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. It seems like it won’t happen because there are already so many things going on. I started by looking at our routine for the weekend. One thing that we try to keep consistent in our house is the time after lunch, which we have called “quiet, resting, reading time” for many years. I picked this time to write instead of read.
- SET A START AND END TIME I knew I had a time limit, so my goal was to write for at least 30 minutes. I knew I would not reach a word count of 1667 in that short time. I knew that in 30 minutes I could get some ideas out and that was all that mattered for the day. It’s amazing that once I started, I was on fire. My pen barely stopped moving. In addition to writing my story, I was able to make notes about things I needed to look up later. When the little people interrupted me three times in five minutes, I knew my time was up, which I was fine with because that was right around the 30 minute mark.
- START ANYWHERE I almost blew off my writing, even though I had decided to start and I knew when it would occur because I didn’t know how I wanted the story to start. I agonized over this during my morning exercise and while I was preparing lunch. I realized NaNo doesn’t have to be a linear start to finish. No one is looking at how you write. I also recalled that in general I do not write in that fashion. I tend to jump all over and fill in gaps as I go and write about the story as details come to me. So, I jumped write in.
Taking a shower is optional, but start with a fresh notebook. I know many people use a computer to write, but there is a lot to be said about going old school and writing on paper. You can take your writing with you. You can look back on your scribbled out words later to see if you can pull more ideas from them when you are editing. And, you can leave space at the end of your writing for notes and a word count. A fun, new pen helps as well. At least you’ll know you have many hours of writing ahead with it.
PLAN FOR THE NEXT WRITING SESSION
It was fun to get inside the minds of my characters. They didn’t leave my brain after I stopped writing. This was a good thing because now I have some ideas on where I want to start writing today.
FINAL WORD COUNT: 657
Here’s to my day 2 of writing. If you are participating in NaNo, or just like to write, what works for you?