NaNoWriMo-When Life Interrupts

by limebirdkate

For many writers, we have hit a major bump in the NaNo road: Thanksgiving holiday. Here in the States, this is an extra-long weekend. Kids typically are out of school from Wednesday until Monday. Spouses might have this time off, too. Family is coming to visit, or you’re going to see family. All that time you might have had to write is usurped by housecleaning, shopping, traveling, cooking a 25 pound turkey, baking 4 kinds of pie, making the house look festive, and entertaining guests.

Even if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving, I’m sure everyone has run into a major life hurdle that has threatened to kick you out of the NaNo race. Perhaps you were sick, or you had to work extra shifts, or you have to make 500 clothespin angels for the church bazaar. Whatever the reason, if you have trouble finding the time to write it doesn’t matter if you planned your story weeks in advance or if your muse is spewing out ideas like a geyser.

For a lot of writers, time to write changes every day, and it is never guaranteed. This makes NaNo kind of stressful, especially when a whole day passes and you never get close to the suggested 1,667 words. Especially when you look at your buddies and see that they are miles ahead of you in word count.

My best suggestion is to write one hour every day (at least). The hour is there, trust me, even if you have to break it up into 15-minute chunks. Instead of TV, write. Instead of checking FB and Twitter, write. Write during your lunch break. Go to bed later than usual or get up earlier than usual, and write.  There are dozens of places where you can adjust your schedule to fit in your writing.

The real trick is that you have to want to do it. If the desire to write your NaNo novel isn’t there, then you’re not going to find the time. Remind yourself that it’s just for 30 days. You can go back to FB on December 1st. You can sleep again on December 1st.

I’m reminded of athletes. I once saw an interview with a professional baseball player during the World Series. Since the beginning of playoffs, over half his team was out with injuries, so most players played every day, for the duration of the game (including pitchers). He was asked about his exhaustion level. He said that yes, he was wiped but he knew that this was part of the job and there would be plenty of time to sleep and recuperate when the season is over.

I thought that was a very cool, logical, professional answer. We might feel overwhelmed and exhausted from lack of sleep or lack of creativity. But it’s part of NaNo. There will be plenty of time to chill out when NaNo season is over.

So, go find 15 minutes and up your word count.

How do you manage your writing time?

26 Responses to “NaNoWriMo-When Life Interrupts”

  1. Bloomin’ life getting in the way of our writing! Lucky you’ve finished Kate 😀 huzzaaaahhh! Thanksgiving sounds awesome, the thought of it made me hungry, but we don’t celebrate that here obviously, but yes there are still writing road blocks getting in the way. The biggest and most obvious being work! Pesky work!

    Anyways, I’m hoping to hit 40,000 today so hopefully I’ll be back on track! 🙂

    Great post Kate and Happy Thanksgiving! x

  2. The desire has to be there, first and foremost. Then the discipline to give up time from other activities has to kick in. I try to save my most creative times of day for writing whenever I can. I already don’t watch much TV, and writing comes before social media. Our writing is a creative process—we can extend that creativity to finding the time to write. But we have to want to write, not want “to have written.”

    Happy Thanksgiving, and congratulations on winning NaNo! 🙂

    • Hey JM,, it does help not to have to give up too much. I’m the same as you–I don’t watch a lot of TV either, so luckily that hasn’t been hard for me. The only social media venue that tends to interrupt my writing time is blogging, but I have gotten a lot better about that. I found having a specific block of time every day is the best way to get my writing done, and as long as I am loving what I write then it’s a breeze to get up at 4. But here again, it all goes back to wanting to write. I certainly wouldn’t be getting up at 4 every morning if I didn’t enjoy writing!

      Hope you’re having a great T-giving weekend! 🙂

  3. Good post, Kate. This really says it all:
    The real trick is that you have to want to do it. If the desire to write your NaNo novel isn’t there, then you’re not going to find the time.

    Good luck to everyone participating, whether you’ve already finished or still plugging away. I think we should have our own Cheers to NaNoWriMo celebration on December 1!

    • Hi Mayumi,

      And I believe it’s the key to getting our writing done, no matter what obstacles we face.

      I like your idea for a celebration. I’ll bring the black forest pudding cake. 🙂

  4. Excellent post.
    Early on in the month I found my self without a computer to use because the kids were hogging the two we have in the house. It wasn’t the first time three or even four people needed to use one of two computers, so I bit the bullet and bought one of the cheapest laptops I could find, stuck LibreOffice on it and got back into it.
    And a bonus is that now I have a laptop with a battery that lasts somewhat longer than 10 minutes, I can use it on the train going to and from work. There’s another 1,000 words per trip! It’s encouraging to think I might even catch up to the required rate to finish by the 30th.
    Good luck to everyone still in the race!

    • Hi Richard,

      Good for you! I think going out to buy your own laptop just to get your NaNo novel completed is a big sign that you are serious about it. So glad that you’re able to get some writing done on your commute. I guess that’s one benefit to public transportation. 🙂 See you at the finish line. 🙂

  5. I’ve got a little bit behind on NaNo recently, but I know I can catch up. I agree about having to just fit it in where you can. When you start NaNo, it’s no good imagining that you’re miraculously going to have two hours a day spare to do it in, you have to muscle in with your elbows and create those bits of time. I think it’s my competitive side that’s keeping me determined to finish it at the moment more than anything, but hey, whatever works!

    Congrats to you for finishing it so early!

    • Hey Vanessa,

      Yep, just squeeze that writing in wherever you can. A competitive nature is quite helpful in situations like this, so I know you’ll finish it with no problem. 😉

  6. We don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in England, obvs and I barely have a social life any more so I’ve had plenty of time to write. I’ll deffo be hitting 40,000 today and then from there it’s the final stretch, hoping to have it completed by the end of the weekend 🙂

  7. hahaha, made me hungry too! 😉

  8. Keep going everyone – I’m cheering you on.


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