How? I hear you cry, How can NaNoWriMo, the single most time-consuming event of the writerly year, help me to get my day to day writing work done?
Well, I’m here to let you in on a tiny secret; no matter what anyone says you don’t have to work on only one piece of writing for NaNo…
I know, right? Madness, utter crazy-speak, but hear me out; if you use NaNoWriMo to work on a variety of projects, with the overall goal of meeting that word count target you’ll find that three things happen very quickly;
- You get more of your workload done in less time; adding the element of fun (or at least pressure) that NaNo brings to your day to day projects will motivate you, and because you’re focusing on the word count rather than deadlines or the tedium of freelance content production (or whatever it is you write for a living) you will be less likely to flag.
- You get writers block less; variety will stimulate and focus your mind. Not only will working on more than one project help you to move on when you do become stuck, but it may even help to stimulate your creative side.
- You hit you hit your daily word count more often; when you’re working on a variety of smaller projects you’ll find that your word count is more likely to hit, or exceed, the required daily estimation for precisely the reasons detailed.
Furthermore, you can use NaNoWriMo as an opportunity to get into the habit of writing every single day; if you do this you could find that your overall word count goes up in the long-run, not just during November. Making a habit of writing every day no matter your mood, the time available, or the weight of your to-do list is something that you must do if you are serious about writing. No-one’s saying you have to write 2,000 words per day, or even write the same amount each day, but if you can aim for a minimum of 30 minutes each day you will find that your workload, and your NaNoWriMo goals, is much less likely to get on top of you.
How to make NaNoWriMo a work win
Pick out a couple of projects you need to get through; ideally they shouldn’t be too short, but there’s nothing to stop you from including academic essays (student writers, I’m looking at you!) or even content writing assignments into your word-count.
The goal, other than meeting the desired word count, is to make sure that you have enough work to get you to your word-count goal, but also that you’re doing what needs to be done.
I, for example, am working on my own novel and a ghost-writing project for a client during NaNoWriMo because A) I never write my own stuff anymore, and B) this project needs a bit of a kick start because my client is just to nice to set a hard deadline. It’s a win-win; I write my own stuff, my client gets a boost to their timescale, and I even manage to do NaNo with my friends.
In order to make this work you’re going to need to do a few things;
- Make a note of where you start and finish on each project; simply updating your word count to match the document wont always help here.
- Be realistic; prioritise the closest deadlines.
- Take care of yourself; running yourself into the ground achieves nothing.
- Plan; it’s much harder to create a coherent novel on the fly when you’re juggling. Ten minutes to recap and lay a foundation for progress is never wasted time.
So… what are you waiting for? Get out there and NaNo up your work schedule!