Welcome to Day 7 of me participating in the madness of NaNoWriMo. I’m proud I survived for a week–spoiler alert: it wasn’t easy. I planned to post updates every day, but have found that blog posts are more cathartic for me personally and tend to be a bit rambly, so I decided to post one weekly update each week.
The first three days were challenging but manageable. After that, it started to get difficult. Today, I hit a wall. In the end, I was able to climb it, but boy did it take a lot of effort. I struggled to get into “writing mode” and had to read, do a writing exercise, rock out to some tunes and then launch into my main writing session. Hopefully tomorrow will be be smoother sailing but we’ll see.
You may find some tips below that are helpful, but here’s what I’ve observed from one week of doing NanoWriMo:
- Writing fiction every single day? Not as easy as it looks. This is the first time in all my years writing that I’ve done what many others struggle to do and that’s write every day. I’m glad I am accomplishing my goal, but seriously, it’s not for the faint of heart.
- My decision to write on my trusty Neo Alphasmart instead of a laptop? Good move. When I’m on an Internet-enabled computer, my brain doesn’t fiction good.
- Writing first thing in the day? Good move. I wasn’t sure if I could do this one because I’m used to writing late at night, but so far so good. I’m finding that if my writing session moves to the afternoon, my brain doesn’t fiction as well, so I’m trying to get my words down first thing, but it hasn’t always happened that way.
- Doing a timed 10-minute exercise from a prompt? Another good move. It helps to warm up my writing muscles before the “main event” of the novel scenes.
- Setting a timer for 1 hour to do writing sessions–another good move. It may be the goal of outrunning the clock or having to see how limited my writing time is, but it’s been a successful method so far. The first day, I split writing up into 2 one-hour sessions but every day thereafter, I needed 1 session. Some days have been 1 hour and 15 minutes but I hope to be able to sustain the “get it all done in 1 session” model.
- Writing on an empty stomach? Not great–I function much better when I’m not hangry and irritated.
- No social media for a month–hella good move. Self-explanatory, methinks.
- The right music helps–the Candyman soundtrack (Glass) is working.
- Sleep is important–I’ve woken up some days of this week feeling tired and not well at all, but have forced myself to get the words done every day. When I’m not tired, this isn’t as much of a struggle.
- Reading is important, too. I know some people don’t read anything while they’re in the middle of writing or planning a project, but for me reading helps keep the writing part of my brain going.
- Diversions help (*coughs* TV *coughs*). Not gonna lie, I’ve been keeping up with TV but only after my writing is done for the day (reward systems are an old trick, but when I’m frustrated and struggling with writing, I’ve reminded myself I can watch something I’ve been looking forward to.)
Now, I know that this model, although it is working so far, is not sustainable for the long-term. I’m not always going to have this set of circumstances that I have now, circumstances that enable me to get things done. But what I went into this with was the expectation that I would find out more about what works for me with my writing process and what doesn’t work.
What about you, fellow Nano participants? Where are you at? How’s it going? Do you feel like banging your head against the table as much as I do?
Sound off below!