It’s Day 7 of Camp NaNoWrimo. The excitement of the first week has worn off and you may be feeling the time crunch. Committing to writing a novel in a month isn’t an easy feat! Just attempting it is a courageous act of creation!
As a full time writer my friends always ask me how I keep going. I promise I’m not a mythical creature with extraordinary endurance for pounding my fingertips against the keyboard. I have my good, bad, and ugly days. I’ve just made my writing time sacred. I don’t have another job in the mix, but I do balance family,friends, free time, and hobbies with work. There’s no one formula that works for everyone, but here are 4 tips to be a magical unicorn with a daily writing schedule.
When I first started writing I had outrageous daily word counts. I could easily pump out 5-7k of words 5 days a week. No problem. I can still do that in sprints, but as a lifestyle it’s not maintainable or realistic to me.
Like forming any other good habit you have to really consider where it fits into your schedule. Did you need to wake up 30 minutes earlier and squeeze in some writing before the kids wake up? Do you need to write on your lunch break? Can you clear Sunday evenings?
Figure out how much time you can realistically devote to writing. Sure, there are times where I’ve sacrificed other things to write. The muse is a demanding asshat some days. He’s there and he’s ready and screw the book I started reading last night and the errands I really intended to run. But if you intend to stick with writing and make your writing time sacred you need to set the time aside daily or weekly and stick to it.
2.Don’t Wait for Inspiration or Motivation
This advice is everywhere, but it’s worth repeating. Writers are writers because they write! If I sat around waiting for inspiration to slap me upside the head and invite me to the keyboard I’d never finish a book. Inspiration and motivation are fickle bedfellows and should be treated as such. Some days they’re randy and ready to go. Other days they go out and play with their other friends. Learn to work without them.
3.Close the Door and Hang Your Do Not Disturb Sign
It’s never easy telling our friends and family we need time to spend on something without them, but sometimes you have to. We’ve all encountered those in our lives who don’t take our passion or work seriously. They’re the hardest ones to get the point across to. Be firm and do your thing. If it’s your writing time. Turn off your phone and don’t answer the door. Remember, this is your sacred time to dedicate to your craft.
4.Aim for Scenes Not Words
This may go against the Camp NaNoWriMo spirit, but it’s in the best interest of finishing your project. Sit down with an intention of writing your characters from point A to point B. Don’t worry about how many words it takes to get there. Words make up your books, but it’s the scenes that make your story worth reading.
How do you make your writing time sacred?