Thursday, November 7, 2013

NaNoWriMo Week One: Fitting Writing into Life

(Or, Fitting Life into Writing)

Writing 2000 words a day is manageable... if you're on holiday. Trying to fit the relentless W/C into a demanding work schedule (in terms of hours and headspace) is... interesting, to say the least. At this time of year it is essential not only that I am at work, but also that I am fully engaged and focused at work.

These are the strategies I have adopted this week - so far so good:

Plan ahead

The reason I'm attempting 2000 words per day instead of 1667 is that I will be moving house at the end of November. So I know that at least five days will be lost. By planning on a 'spare' five days from the beginning of the month, I have (hopefully) minimised the impact of this.

Work Harder

When I'm at work, I'm at work. 120%. This is exam/reporting/planning month at school, and it is imperative that I'm totally accurate and quick. I must make good decisions. So I don't write at school. I don't plan NaNo chapters at school. I don't even think about my story at school (except when it just sneaks in there...). It's just too distracting.

In fact, if anything I am working harder this month. Mainly for my own peace of mind. I have to set my conscience at ease - my real job is not suffering because of my 'hobby'. I stay at work longer than most other staff members. I take very few 'breaks', and make sure that my marking is always up to date. I'm not leaving school earlier because of NaNoWriMo. I spend long afternoons working in the staffroom, even though school lets out earlier.

But on the flip side, when I leave school I'm really GONE. My marking is left in my locker. I'm in the NaNo zone, with no work distractions or worries or guilt - because I know that I'm doing my job properly.

Keep it Separate, Stupid (KISS 2.0)

This is a continuation of the previous one. A couple more handy tricks that I find helpful to keep my different activities clearly demarcated. I keep NaNo work on a separate device to my school work. I don't try to write before school, because I need to get my head around school concerns (even though I'm a morning person, and that would be prime writing time). As I said before, marking packs stay in my locker at school.

Important Things are Still Important

I am still cycling to and from work with Adam. I am still going to church and cell group and visiting my family. I still take long relaxing soaks in the bath. These things take time, but give energy. Time is relatively spacious, if you're really honest. What is often TRULY lacking when I say I have no time is a) energy and b) motivation. I'm actually amazing myself by how much I can achieve in a day when I put my mind to it.

A subsection to this might be: coffee doesn't help as much as you think it does. True story.

Get Support

Adam isn't attempting NaNoWriMo but he is super supportive and generously makes supper most nights (sometimes my school lunch too!). He also reads my efforts on a regular basis and laughs at my typos. I have coerced a lot of the rest of my family into attempting NaNoWriMo with me, and we message each other with encouragement and gentle nagging most days.  Many of my colleagues and friends know what I'm attempting and are wonderfully enthusiastic and encouraging either in person or over Facebook. All of these things contribute to the aforementioned energy and motivation.

Suck it up and do it

But ultimately, when I get home at half past five or six in the evening, I just have to sit down at the computer, no matter how little I feel like it... and JUST DO IT. 

And after the first half an hour... it starts feeling good. 

Two hours later it doesn't feel as good, but when I'm done for the day? BEST feeling ever!

Do you have any work/NaNo strategies?

yours encouragingly

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