As Michille mentioned in her recent post, the annual writing extravaganza known as NaNoWriMo is fast approaching; thirty days of writing 1,667 words along with the existing demands of everyday life.
Sounds fun, right?
As with other goals, a little up-front prep-work can make the difference between a successful finish (however you measure success) and an angst-ridden struggle. Or something like that.
Part of my pre-work has been getting the basics of my characters, conflict, and setting, nailed down so I have some idea of what I’m trying to write. An equally important part of my pre-work has been ensuring I’m mentally and physically ready to write.
Take care of the little things
Nothing can derail a writing session quite like glancing away from the page and spying a hair-ball under the coffee table that could be mistaken for a small cat. Well, maybe that’s just me. The point is, if there are dishes in the sink, piles of papers that need to be sorted, or any one of a thousand little tasks that need to be completed, those things can make it challenging to focus on writing. This past rainy weekend was the perfect time for me to cross some of those lingering little tasks off my To Do list. The list isn’t quite complete, but at least the hair-balls have been eradicated.
Work out a schedule
NaNo doesn’t happen in a vacuum – there are lots of other things that need to happen during those 30 days (Thanksgiving anyone?). Figuring out when to do what can help make the most of the time you have available. One of the most helpful things I learned last time around is that late at night, when it’s dark and quiet, is my optimal writing time. With that in mind, I can plan to take care of other things earlier in the day so that when nightfall rolls around, I’m ready to write. I’ve also scheduled several days off work during the month so that I can have some focused writing days to compensate for those inevitable days when I miss my word-count or something unexpected occurs.
Have some fun
Having fun isn’t just for kids. Studies have shown that including regular fun activities can help stave off stress and shore up your resiliency. For me that has meant binge-watching Galavant (a time or two or three), re-reading Jenny Crusie’s Welcome to Temptation, and picking up a great new pair of shoes.
“Life is short. Buy the shoes. Drink the wine. Order the dessert.” ~ Anonymous
Do something creative
With the To Do list cut down to size, a schedule in place, and some fun under my belt, the last thing on my pre-work checklist is to do something creative. Recently that has meant spending less time with the internet and more with my camera, looking at things from different perspectives. Before NaNo starts, I’m hoping to fit in a photo trip to Glass Beach in Fort Bragg or Kirby Cove in Sausalito. Both spots seem sure to inspire creativity plus, that swing just looks fun.
So, that, along with some quality sleep-time, is my plan.
What do you do to ensure you’ll be ready to go when it’s time to start writing?