I spent years convincing myself that I was simply too busy to write when the truth was that I just didn’t know how to make it work.
NaNoWriMo taught me a lot of things. It didn’t just prove to me that I could write 50 000 words in a month, it also showed me that I can fit a daily writing practice into my already busy life. Who knew?
Here’s here I did it (and am continuing to do it now that Nano is over):
- Specify a goal and a deadline
- Nano made this easy because the goal and the deadline was already decided for me. Once Nano was finished though I found myself a little lost. So I created a new goal (1000 words a day, complete the first draft of my manuscript) and a deadline (Jan 31st). It’s realistic and it keeps me focused.
- Be flexible (and sometimes creative)
- While I would love to spend my day writing in a quiet room, it’s just not possible with small children around. I write when Mr 2 sleeps, when they watch tv in the afternoons, when they are colouring in or drawing at my feet. Some days I don’t write at all, and that’s okay too because sometimes other things are just more important.
- Have the right tools
- Scrivener has been a blessing for me because I can sync my computer and ipad and write on the go. I had a few weekend trips during November so it was essential that I could write on the plane or in the car at a moment’s notice and it’s handy to have the option to write while out and about, just for something different. Carrying a notebook around is also a good idea for catching any ideas or quiet moments during the day.
- Find your people
- My local Nano group and Twitter have become a great source of knowledge and comfort. I discovered the #500in30 idea thanks to the talented and wonderful Alison Tait on Twitter and use it almost daily now. For those who don’t know about this it’s where you set yourself a timer and then write 500 words in 30 minutes. It stops me from overthinking things and allows me to just get words on paper. I usually always get more than 500 words whenever I do it and by the time 30 minutes is up I’m usually so involved in the writing that I keep going. The #amwriting hashtag on Twitter will also deliver some like-minded people. I’ve certainly found it helpful to know that I’m not alone!
- Have fun!
- I don’t take writing or myself too seriously. It sucks the fun out of it and I need writing to be about passion and not become a chore. So sometimes I don’t write, or I write a lot. Sometimes I’ve just gotta jump on the trampoline with the kids and forget about it all for a while.
I’m sure I’ll learn many more things along the way but for now I hope those tips might help out someone else struggling to fit writing into their day. It’s possible with a little determination and organisation (just like everything I guess), even with a couple of energetic young boys in the house.