And the timer is…. ON!
Hey, folks. I did it. 90 hours. The final day, I wrote almost 8 hours. Now, those of you who work full time jobs see that statement and might say, “Meh.” Believe me, I spent many hours in the full-time world, including doing editing full-time at one point, and writing is different. Writing is harder, even when it feels easier. It’s something you have to prepare for. There are substantive, immediate, visceral* reasons writers fuss over process and self care and remembering to take walks. (Of course, it helps if you’re not plowed into in the middle of said walk by a white van driven by a distracted Dog Daddy, but I digress.)
I did it. I wasn’t sure I was going to. And, now, I also know how, specifically, to get to 100 hours in a month. I was amazed the beginning of October, when I started tracking my writing time in earnest, how quickly some editorial tasks were getting done on short stories that were almost ready for submission. You do the work and work gets done. Faster. Go figure!
I am now at a point I’ve never been to before in my life. I have a real, viable novel in progress. There was that moment a couple weeks ago when I had the file open to start a new short story instead because the novel just wasn’t going to work, but I resisted the temptation. Instead, I made some major changes (not giving details because I don’t want to blow the energy) and, click, there it is. I have a couple of small plot point questions, but I also know that I’ll know the answers when I get there. I have a game plan. I have plenty of cinnamon stevia for the coffee. I’m doing it. Holy socks.
A tiny subculture of a subculture happened in the NaNoWriMo forums. Folks who are doing their own thing that is not in the NaNo tradition of a brand-new novel started on November 1st are called NaNoRebels. I started a thread for “Time Bandits,” who are NaNoRebels counting time instead of words. I met some great people, and we may meet up again in the boards for Camp NaNoWriMo in April. Yea.
So, what evolved in terms of time management is that I put in at least 3.34 hours a day (which now in my brain is filed under “No Big Deal”) and I do so in chunks of at least a half-hour. I start my 30″ sand timer and also a Google stop watch. Once the timer’s run out, I can stop if I want to. When I do stop, I check the stop watch and log the minutes in my Writing Tally spreadsheet. If I let too many days go by where I don’t hit that 3.34 goal, I have to make it up later. Since I know that that No Big Deal 3.34 hours can mutate into an 8-hour Day of Horror pretty fast, I am well motivated to be consistent.
It’s also better for the writing if I do, too. Stuff hangs together, characters come up with surprises and plot problems become solved more easily if I’m writing daily. Nothing surprising there — that’s likely true for most writers — but, I have tangible, RECENT proof in my head. (I took about five awful years off from writing when I was dealing with work demons and have been limping along for the five years after that. Many of my writing muscles are only this year getting fully re-pumped.)
So, that was just under 18 minutes. Next, I’m going to make some notes on a future post regarding “European” versus “American” website moderation. And, then, it’s back to feeding and watering the novel. And, then, I may go to Cost Plus to look at Christmas stuff, because I will have earned the privilege, and real playgrounds are so much nicer than the dark ones.
*I assembled those three adjectives without resorting to a thesaurus. Hey, I’m not messing around here.