Whether you’re planning on participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) in November or are committing to a writing schedule to finish a project, finding the time to meet your daily word count goal is essential to success. After formulating your novel basics (see my post “Novel Focus“), embrace time management skills and use the rest of October to plan the time you need.
- Use a November calendar:
- Mark off those days or partial days in November you know you absolutely won’t be able to write (like a birthday or Thanksgiving).
- Block off time every day/week for writing – before/after work or school, during commute time, lunch hours, your child’s naps. Get up earlier or go to bed later than usual. Even finding 15 minutes here and there will add up.
- Plan catch-up or get-ahead days – make up for the days you know you can’t write and build in time for unexpected, but inevitable, glitches in your perfect plan.
- Once a week marathons alone or with writing friends.
- Local NaNo chapters often schedule writing get-togethers.
- Plan November’s meals
- Don’t forget Thanksgiving – delegate to family/friends if possible.
- Slow cooker meals, sandwiches, breakfast-for-dinner, fast food.
- Start cooking extra servings in October and freeze for November meals.
- Don’t set doctor/dentist appointments for November.
- Restrict television viewing and social media – reward yourself with these when you meet your word count, record for later, or build in time on your calendar.
- Restrict socializing – again, reward yourself after meeting word counts or build in this time. Or just say “no” and schedule a post-NaNo celebration to make up for your transgression.
- Enlist help for daily/weekly chores, like laundry and dishes, and other important responsibilities such as childcare – letting family and friends know how important this commitment is to you should elicit help.
- If you can’t write at home, scope out one or more places to write – a local library if you like quiet or a coffee shop if you don’t mind the noise. (I used to write in my car on my lunch hour.)
- Prioritize – plan to do those things that are necessary and let the rest slide.
- Embrace your OCD side for a month – be relentless in your pursuit of time to write those 1667 words per day.
This might all sound fanatical, but at the end of 30 days you’ll know how important your writing is to you, how committed you are to it, and what you’re willing to do to succeed. And if you keep on track, you’ll have the first draft of a 50K novel for all your hard work and sacrifice.
What is your favorite way to master the time needed to write?