Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's Writing Time: Nano Tip # 3


So, last night I had planned to write a blog post on ways to set aside writing time for your novel during NANO. I had the time allotted in my schedule (9-10pm) – Then I got unexpectedly called in to work.

(Yep – the day job triumphs again!)

It’s an excellent example of how “real life” can affect our writing plans on any given day.

So, how do we write our way through a novel – especially one being written in the span of 30 days?

1.) Consistency
2.) Creativity
3.) Caffeine : )

Consistency
In order to complete 50,000 words in 30 days some people just divide up 50,000 by 30 days. They write 1670 words daily, no matter what happens in their lives that day, and they get to 50,000 words – tired, but happy. (For those interested in how full-time writers do this, Steven King shares in his “non-autobiography” that he gets up in the morning and writes 10 pages every day. He stays at his desk until those 10 pages are done, whether that’s 11am or 2pm on that particular day.)

Creativity
For others of us, some days allow for lots of writing and other days of our week just don’t. For me, last year, I did 3000 words/day on my 2 “days off” per week, and tried to sneak just 500 in on my work days. This is where the creativity comes in. Can you jot notes, planning out your next chapter’s plot in a notebook, when you’re ten minutes early to work, or on your lunch break, or at your son’s after school soccer game? Of course you can! Nano-novelers need to use any scrap of time available if we want to get to 50,000 by November 30th!


Caffeine
It’s important to know what is your best writing time too, and to try to use that to your advantage. I do best late at night (10pm-1am) or early in the morning when I first get up. Afternoons make me want to take a nap. SO, it’s important to write when your energy and creativity are at their peak if possible. And if your peak hours are after the kids are tucked in and the last of the dishes are done, then a tall latte can really come in handy to keep you typing!

Whatever your system is, stick to it. Setting aside time for writing is important to every writer. The more consistency AND creativity you can use, the more likely you are to get through your novel writing endeavor successfully.

So, what time is your best time for writing? And do you have a system worked out that you believe will get you through 50,000 words in one month? If so, you’re way ahead of the game already!

18 comments:

C.R. Evers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
C.R. Evers said...

With 3 little ones in the house, I've learned how to be flexible w/ my writing time. I usually try to fit smaller bits of time into my larger bits of time.

Sometimes I have time 2 mornings a week to write. Right now I'm at the library while my kids are in school. I only have 2 hours but its better than nothing.

During the day I set up my lap top in the kitchen or wherever I'm working in the house and as I think of things, I take a break from my household duties and write down what's on my mind. this takes longer to wrack up a word count, but again . . . it's better than nothing. Plus, I find that sometimes having time to think in small spurts can help me come up w/ some creative stuff.

And lastly, I stay away from the t.v., clock out of being "mommy and household manager", make some tea and go to my office and write until it's time to go to bed. Usually this is my most productive time for writing.

Great post Janelle!

Rena said...

Grat post, Janelle. I homeschool 3 of my 4 kids, so my writing time comes whenever it comes. I usually do my best writing on weekends when we don't have school.

November is going to be an interesting month for me, if I want to reach this goal!

Kelly said...

Great tips, Janelle! I'm not doing Nano, but it is hard to sometimes carve my writing time into my busy life!
Good luck with Nano!

Kim said...

I'm not doing nano this year, but your tips are excellent for getting in that writing time in general.

Best of luck!

Janelle said...

Christy - I'm always SO impressed with all the writing and blogging you accomplish with those thee little cuties in the house! You are an inspiration, and I'm looking forward to reading your nano novel!

Good advice on the "staying away from tv."

Janelle said...

Rena, Kelly, and Kim - Thanks guys, for reading my posts, and for jumping in on the conversation!

Rena - if you can manage a 4 kid household, you can do anything. You're a "supermom"! I'm sure you'll meet your goals this November - piece of cake! :)

Kelly and Kim - I agree with both of you. Carving out writing time can be tough and yet is still so important for all of us writers throughout the year -- whether we're nanoing this November or not!

I tend to use my days off for writing during the year, just like a do for nano.

Brenda said...

Hi Janelle...Great post! I write whenever I get a chance and I live on chocolate...

I have one of those day jobs also...and every now and again I can get a little time to write there, but most of the time I have to fit it in on my off hours...

Lilfix (blueboards)

Jacqui said...

Good tips. I'd add to "front load" on your word counts -- do more in the early days when you're still excited, before everything you haven't been doing piles up.

Janelle said...

Brenda - thanks for the cameraderie on the day job! Great to see you stopping by!


Jacqui - thanks for bringing up the concept of "front-loading." You're so right!

Everybody should listen to Jacqui on this one!

It's good to write MORE than your daily or weekly goal for the first two weeks, if at all possible, because later when you're a little too short on sleep, or when you have a flood in your home because your hot water heater exploded -- you'll be far enough ahead on your nano word count so that you can skip a day to deal with the plumber and the towels and the wet dog and STILL meet your nano goals with NO PROBLEM! : )

Janelle said...

Hey, are all of you guys planning to participate in writermorphosis' "40,000 word contest" this nano season? The info. is to the right of the top post! I'd love to have you all jump in on that too!

adrienne said...

My goal right now is to get a picture book dummy done, but all the tips I've read about NaNo are so inspiring. Great post!

Bish Denham said...

I'm always impressed with all you writers who have such busy lives, yet still manage to write every day. Makes me humble. I'm not doing NaNo this year, but I am going to work on a MG I have about half done.

My best writing time is in the morning when I first get up, anywhere from 4 to 5 AM until 11 AM.

Janelle said...

Adrienne
Thanks! Getting your pb dummy done sounds like a great goal! That's what I love about Nano - it gets us all into Goal setting mode!

Janelle said...

Bish : ),

I'm actually not doing a regular nano myself this year (that's why I will have time to write up these every Monday nano posts :)LOL). What I'm doing instead is using Nano to get me motivated on some already-started projects this year. I'm doing major rewrites/revisions on a novel I wrote in a prior year in Nov '08. And I'll also be writing a short story that's rolling around in my head.

So this year I won't qualify for the "official" nano win (50,000 brand NEW words to get the cool yellow certificate) but that's ok with me. For me - if I get 50,000 words of revisions done, that will move my own writing along hugely and that's part of what it's all about for me! For me - doing good revisions takes longer than the initial writing in the first place. : ) But I'll be posting a bit of my revised work on the nano site this year.

Chris said...

Good advice! I find once I get myself into a routine, I can stick with it.

just Joan said...

My day job is allowing me to take the entire month of November off (and still have a job to go back to in Dec if I want it). This year all my kids are in school so I plan to use the hours of 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to get the bulk of my writing done.

Unfortunately, there will be those little interferences . . . removing the Halloween decorations, a bridal shower for my soon to be sis-in-law, a nephew's homecoming from college, another nephew's first birthday, Veteran's Day (the kids will be home from school), my brother's wedding, Thanksgiving . . . *sigh*

Still, I'll sit on my bed with my laptop and type every spare moment I get and hope I can make it. :D

Janelle said...

Hi Chris, Nice to meet you!

Joan! How lucky you are to have such a flexible day job! I'll see you Monday for an update on your wordcount : ) (grinning deviously...)