October 25, 2010

finding time to write

NaNoWriMo starts next Monday, and I decided to participate this year. Find my page here. I participated back in 2008, but it was short-lived (I only wrote 3000 words before quitting). This year is going to be different. I have you guys to hold me accountable… I can’t back out for fear of disappointing you. 

If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is or want to learn more, check out their site here

The gist of it: write a novel in a month. Now, it seems a bit daunting at first. A novel in a month? Yes. It is certainly doable. The website boasts that last year, out of 167,150 participants, 32,178 finished a novel of 50,000 words or more. Over 32,000 people finished a novel in a month, so don’t say it’s impossible.

Because you know how much I love math, I’m going to run some numbers for you.

If you write…
All week : 1667 words a day
Six days a week : 1924 words a day
Five days a week : 2273 words a day
Four days a week : 2778 words a day
Three days a week : 3572 words a day
Two days a week : 5000 words a day
One day a week : 10,000 words a day

Or, if you prefer to write at weird schedules, you’ll need to write roughly 11,667 words a week.

I can realistically write about 1000 words an hour on a good day, half that on a bad day. I’ll be writing Monday thru Friday, so I’ll need to hit the 2273 words a day to meet 50,000 at the end of the month. If I have a stellar writing month, then I can write (realistically) 2 ½ hours a day to meet my goal. If you think about it, 2 ½ hours a day isn’t bad.

But where do you find that 2 ½ hours of writing time when you have a job, college classes, three kids, and a spouse incapable of cooking dinner? (I have none of these things, but I know a lot of writers do). Here are some schedule openers:

Cut out TV time. The average American watches roughly 30 hours of TV each week; that’s over 4 hours a day. Ta-da! You just added 4 hours to your schedule by not watching TV.

Get up early to write. Obviously, you can’t get up 2 ½ hours earlier each day, but even getting up 30 minutes early and writing (instead of sleeping) makes a difference. The same goes for going to bed later.

Find a babysitter. Even if it’s only one night a week, make your husband, sister, mother-in-law, trusted neighbor, or whoever you choose, take the kids out of the house. By having the house to yourself, you’ll have silence and bookoos of time to work on your novel.

Frozen dinners. I am normally against frozen dinners, but by going frozen you can cut out all that prep work and just pop it in the oven, giving you at least another 30 minutes of time that day. The alternative is having your husband/wife cook.

Cut the gym. It’s an hour of wasted time anyway. I find writing is more productive (and more fun) than hitting the ellipticals.

Make your spouse go grocery shopping. I go grocery shopping once every week or so, and I’m there for an hour or more. It’s true that your husband/wife may get the wrong kind of bread or buy way too much pizza or frozen dinners (see above), but that’s time you can write. Make them take the kids with them, too (see above).

Obviously, these tips can be used for writing outside of November, but since it is only a week until NaNoWriMo, I figure the stress of it will make you want to employ some schedule openers. If there is anything you want to add, comment below!

I’m going into November with the goal to finish the first draft of a novel. Are you?

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