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Posts Tagged ‘goals’

For those of us who have done NaNo before, you know what it’s like. The first week you’re rearing to go. You’re like a runner warming up for a race. You shake our any tension from your arms, fingers and neck. Everything is loose so you’re ready to attack the keyboard on the 1st November.

For the first week you’re steamrolling ahead. You live and breathe writing and you just know you can do it. You even find yourself thinking you might be able to reach the 50,000 words in week one. What a dream come true!

Then week two comes around and you hit a block. You begin to flag because you’ve overdone it in the first week and you collapse in exhaustion. You might lose a few days of writing, perhaps even the whole week, because, quite frankly, you’re ready to kick the computer to Timbuktu.

Then week three and four rolls around and you start getting a little enthusiasm back. It’s hard work but you slowly get working again and you’re tapping away at a snails pace, your eyes are drooping but you’re determined to reach the finish line. Come the 30th November, you make it and you cheer in delight but you don’t feel like you’ve accomplished anything. Writing should be fun but you’ve spent the last month making it into a chore and suddenly the thought of writing makes you sick to the stomach.

Has anyone experienced that? The first year I did it, that’s exactly how I felt. Last year wasn’t so bad but I certainly flagged in the second week. So what I decided to do was list 10 ways to help you reach the end. I hope they help!

1. Plan your story out beforehand. Obviously if you’re reading this now there’s not a lot of planning time left but trust me, it makes life a lot easier. Even if you spend the first couple of days of NaNo planning, it won’t hurt because once you have a plan it’ll make writing in the upcoming days easier.

2. Pace yourself. The minimum word count per day to try and achieve is approximately 1,667. If you do that as a minimum you won’t have a problem. Obviously if you do more, that’s great but don’t stress yourself. That word count is very reasonable so if you’re struggling, set yourself that as a goal and only do more if you can.

3. Take regular breaks. I can’t stress this enough. Writing is tiring. Your body aches and your eyes get sore. General OH&S knowledge here. Take regular breaks and rest for a few minutes before getting back to the grind.

4. Take part in the NaNo forums and chat with other writers. These forms are a great place to hear experiences and share stories with other writers. It’s quite invigorating, encouraging and keeps you on the straight and narrow.

5. Don’t be afraid to take a day off. For some reason I can imagine hearing a collection of gasps at this comment. It’s true though, if you’re finding you’re struggling to write there is nothing wrong with taking a day off. Sure you’ll have to prioritise how many words you have to write each day to meet the goal but you’ll find it much easier than forcing yourself to write. This takes me on to number 6.

6. Don’t force the words to flow. Sometimes it happens, you can’t find the words, the story isn’t going where you want it to…it’s just not happening. It’s okay, don’t stress. This is perfectly normal. The key is don’t force it to happen because, trust me, the story will be crap. If you come to a block, leave it and come back to it later. I always encourage others to focus on writing another scene and tie it in later. The thing with NaNo is it’s just to get your rough draft down. December is the month when you can tidy it up and piece it together. Don’t worry about all that nitty gritty stuff now. Just focus on writing.

7. Use a pen and paper. Says she who uses her laptop / iPad / iPhone for everything. But believe it or not, using a pen or paper is awesome. You write a lot slower so your thoughts keep up with you and you’ll find you actually stick to your ideas better.

8. Talk to others and bounce your ideas off them. This is a fantastic way of getting your thoughts flowing again if you’ve come to a block. Sometimes when you think too hard about something it gets even harder to do. So rather than stressing about a word or a phrase, talk to someone and get their thoughts. You might even find that they have a better idea!

9. Sleep! You wouldn’t believe how many people deprive themselves of sleep in November. Look the truth is, NaNo is just for fun. No one sees what you do so why the hell would you deprive yourself of sleep? You’ll be surprised how much better you feel after a good night’s rest. Your thoughts are clearer and you might even find you have more ideas.

10. Lucky last… reward yourself! I’m not just saying reward yourself at the end of NaNo for completing it. I mean reward yourself during it too. Set weekly goals and if you meet it, give yourself a treat or do something that you really love that will encourage you to move on.

So with those in mind, good luck with NaNo. Don’t stress, take one day at a time and I know anyone is capable of doing it. However, if you can’t it’s not the end of the world. At the end of the day NaNo is just for fun, as I mentioned above, and it’s not a big deal if you don’t win. It’s an accomplishment to even try. We’re all winners in the end.

Good luck! 🙂

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I’m afraid this will only be a short blog today. After working a 12 and a half hours today, I’m exhausted and need a nice, long sleep.

Unfortunately the ‘long’ sleep won’t occur until tomorrow night. However, I should be able to enjoy a ‘nice’ one.

Anyway that’s off topic. I’m not here to talk about my sleeping patterns. I’m here to talk about my NaNoWriMo progress.

So by the end of day 7 (I’m in Australia for those who may not know), my total word count is now 16535. Considering how much of a hectic week it has been at work, I’m happy with that.

What’s slightly annoying is all the goals I’ve set myself have flopped. It’s not that I haven’t tried, it’s that ‘life’ always gets in the way. Yet despite it being annoying, I’m not letting it bother me.

I just keep telling myself that I have to work otherwise I can’t pay the bills. My commitments are important so they have to come first too. My writing fits in around it. I always find time for it but other things sometimes have to come first.

That said, I resolve not to get annoyed anymore when my goals flop from now on. 🙂 I’ll set them and meet them when I can but if I don’t, I’ll work with it. The truth is, I know I’m well and truly on track so a few mishaps here and there shouldn’t make a huge difference.

So that’s all from me for now. By the end of tomorrow, my goal is to reach 20,000 words. I finish work early and have nothing on tomorrow night so it should be achievable. Yet I will stick to my word… I won’t get annoyed if it doesn’t happen.

Bye for now and you’ll hear from me soon!

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