Hey everyone, so it’s the 6th of NaNo and I’m really pleased and actually so surprised to say that things are going well so far! As of this evening my word count is at a very healthy 14,024 and on track to meet my week one target of 15,350 tomorrow and hopefully even exceed it.
I do have to admit that I have had an unfair advantage really this week because my new job still hasn’t started so although I have been fairly busy volunteering with the Citizens Advice Bureau and studying for my Driving Theory test among other things, I have had more free time than I expected. This has been great for me as I have been able to establish a good writing routine this first week of NaNo and figure out what works for me so that hopefully when things do get busier I will have a few tried and tested methods to fall back on! So I thought I would share a quick list of things that have been helping me out so far:
1. Hot drinks and snacks
Yep, on Wednesday I took a break from writing and made a trip to Aldi on my bike to pick up a few essentials (and they are essential) including instant coffee, rich tea biscuits and even gingerbread ice-cream?! Who knew this existed?? Not that I recommend sitting at your laptop with a whole tub of ice-cream but deliciousness like this sure works when you’re writing at 10pm and need to bribe yourself with the promise of a bowl of something tasty when you’re done. My personal favourites which you will always find at my desk are chai tea (I highly recommend Tesco Finest vanilla chai tea bags) and a handful of mixed nuts and raisins. Can’t go wrong.
2. A good breakfast
As you can see food is very important to me. I always have a big bowl of oatmeal for breakfast and it sets me up really nicely in the morning by fuelling my brain as well as my stomach so I don’t have to keep leaving my desk all morning to put more food in my mouth (unless I really want to which let’s face it I probably do). I usually try to do one writing sprint before I get my breakfast so that again I have the promise of food to keep me motivated.
3. 40-minute writing sprints
Writing in short “sprints” seems like a good idea to me because you force yourself to stay focussed for a fixed length of time and then you can reply to your texts or check your e-mails or whatever else comes up at the end of that period of time. In the past I have always kind of half-focussed on writing for hours at a time whilst also checking my texts and e-mails in order to produce the same amount of work I can do in forty minutes if I just stay focussed. I know a lot of people tend to work in 25-minute periods which is how the Pomodoro technique works I think, but I have found that I’m usually still in the zone after 25 minutes so I like to try to keep working for 35-40. In this amount of time I can usually write around 700 words so I can work out how many sprints I need to do each day to hit my daily word count goal.
4. My outline
Having my handy outline at the ready has been a huge help because as soon as I feel myself start to get bored of writing a scene or sense that it’s dragging a bit, I can just skip straight to the next part. I am also getting a real sense of progress because I can see how much I’ve already covered and how much there is left to write and compare this to my word count to see whether I’m on track for 50,000 words or whether it looks likely to come up shorter or longer.
I am planning to keep you guys updated at the end of each week and hopefully share more of the things I learn along the way!
How are you guys getting along with your novels? What are your tips for succeeding so far? I would love to keep up with your progress if you want to add me to your buddy list I’m at EmilyAnn1992. Best of luck!