Some of you would like to take on the NaNo challenge this year, but you are unsure of how to find the time. You likely have a job, family, a crazy schedule, and perhaps limited time on the computer. Not to worry. You, too, can cross the finish line. It just takes some dedication.
Do you want to write this story? If not, then move on. Accept that NaNo is not a good fit for you. We shall miss you, fellow writing friend, but we understand. Let that story simmer in the back of your mind until you get excited about it. I want you so excited that you can’t wait to write it down. Feel free to join us again when that happens. Until that time, there is the door.
Since the naysayers have left, I’m just talking to the bunch that has a story burning inside of them. While some of you may write a novel as you go with no prior planning, if this is your first NaNo, I would highly recommend planning out in advance as much of the book as possible. It helps on the difficult days to have an outline.
Now, you may have this story, but you don’t have the time. You’re up at 6am, waking cranky kids to go to school. After three minor emergencies, breakfast that didn’t burn (yeah!), and coffee that you remembered to take with you today, you head to work. Once you get home, it’s homework time. You’re busy making sure your children don’t kill each other, cooking supper, talking to your sweetie beyond “Hi” and “Empty the trash.” You’re a little exhausted. I understand. The first step to finding the time to do something is knowing your schedule.
When do you carve out time for Facebook? Between homework questions? While the hamburger is browning? If you have time to hop online for even a few minutes in between your duties, I have great news for you. You have time to write a novel!
No, you probably cannot pen 500 words in between the time you answer one of your kid’s questions and the time your kid spills chocolate milk all over his homework. But you might get a paragraph or two done before you dash to save the chocolate milk from ruining your other child’s homework. If you’re running around all the time, use your breaks to your advantage and write something. Writing something, on any given day, is better than writing nothing.
Even if you are not near a computer during your down time, that is okay. You can whip out a pen and paper and jot down stuff by hand if you must. Make a note on your cell phone of a scene. Start writing an endless text message. Find whatever works best for you and do it consistently. Then, when you finally have 30 minutes of peace and quiet, you might have three paragraphs already written in some form.
I Will Never Have That Much Time
Some people’s lives are crazy, and things happen where they cannot cross the finish line. Real life is important. That takes priority over a crazy but fun challenge. I get that. Again, it helps knowing your general schedule and where your down time is.
But, for at least half the people reading this, that does not apply to you. You have SOME free time since you’re reading my blog. You’re obviously interested in how you, too, can write a novel.
First off, if you have the mind set that you don’t have enough time, you aren’t going to make much progress. I’ve heard it said a dozen different ways, but negativity will not help you. If you believe you don’t have enough time, and you say it every time you try to write, you’re going to stop trying to write.
Think of me as your cheering section. The more you have on the page, the louder your evil little editor will yell. And beyond the editor, something else yells that grows louder with each page you pen. While Mr. Inner Editor has a purpose (we will visit him later), Doubt has no place in your draft. Doubt says “No, you can’t.” Doubt says, “This is no good,” or even “this is pointless.”
Say it with me. Doubt has no place in your draft.
As long as you listen to Doubt as you fret about your schedule, the more you will find you have no time. Kick Doubt out the door, and examine your schedule again. You will be amazed at how much down time you have when you start looking for it!
That’s It? Just Do It?
Sounds cheesy, doesn’t it? But it’s the truth. Buckle down and at least try. You will find out quickly whether or not you can sit for long periods of time without rushing to put out a fire, feed a cat, or convince your child that they should NOT give the dog some Mountain Dew. But chances are if you’re excited about your story, and you’ve found a way to jot something down while you’re waiting for something else, chances are you have enough time to complete a novel. One bite at a time.