My principle goal this NaNoWriMo is figuring out a sustainable writing habit. Like a lot of NaNoWriMo winners the year I won I burnt out, mainly due to missing days and then having marathons.
So, episode 3 of The Everyday Novelist, “Finding the Quiet Time”, is right down my alley, despite not finding the time to do the Day 2 blog post on Day.
I did get the required word count and a bit more by using all three of my scheduled blocks. I tend to work well in 20 minute chunks. Right now I’m trying one between breakfast and the day job (call it 9:30), two with a five minute break between them at 2 leaving me 15 minutes for my standing 3pm meeting as the markets close, and two with a five minute break at 5pm. I leave 10pm open for 1-2 as needed.
Given my average word count when writing is 20-22 wpm, five blocks will average to about 2000 words or 120% needed per day on NaNoWriMo.
But, even then finding time to write is hard. My morning walk and breakfast might go long and I can’t hit the desk by 9:30 despite needed to hit the work desk by 10. Problems at work may eat up the 2pm or 5pm.
I would say finding time to write is the real test of a writer’s ability to make a living long term, more than any aspect of craft. To that end, I’d like to quote my favorite book on the writing life (as opposing to the craft), How to Become a Famous Writer Before You’re Dead by Ariel Gore.
I’ll offer some suggestions: If you don’t have time to write, stop answering the phone. Change your e-mail address. Kill your television. If you don’t have a baby, have one. If you have a baby, get a sitter. If you work too much, work more. If you don’t work enough, work less. If there’s a problem, exaggerate it. If you’re broke, go to the food bank. If you have too much money, give it away. If you’re north, go south. If you’re south, go north. If you’d drink, start. If you drink, sober up…The shock of the new – shake yourself awake.Ariel Gore
The ellipses only hide more examples. Go buy her book as it will tell you a lot about being a writer other than craft.
So far, my system is working for two out of three days despite missing 2pm Wednesday and today due to the car. We’ll catch up at 5.