25 November 2008

NaNo: The 200-Word Trick

So if you have kids and you write, you know how hard it can be to find writing time. Some days, it is well nigh impossible ... OK, make that most days....

And then you decide to do NaNoWriMo. And discover that you knew nothing about trying to find writing time. :)

This year has been especially challenging for me, because my work schedule has changed since last year, so the time I used to have on reserve for writing - 5 AM to whenever the kids woke up - is no longer available, because I'm getting ready for and then am on my way to ye olde work-work. That has left the couple of hours after the kids go to bed at 8 or 8:30, by which time I'm usually asleep on my feet and incapable of writing anything I don't hate myself for in the morning.

Two weeks ago, however, I found the Magic Elixir.

No, really! And I managed laundry and kitchen dredging at the same time!

You think I'm lying - and that's OK. But it's all true!

What's the big secret? Well, I do not enjoy laundry or kitchen dredging in the least, but things had become desperate (because they had been ignored for so long - no underwear, no spoons, oh the horror!). To add insult to injury, I had also reached that inevitable point in the story where I utterly loathed it, had lost all motivation to pick the story up and was very, very close to just pretending I had too many other things to do and abandoning it altogether.

But I SO hate to lose at anything. And I would so hate to lose NaNo even more.

So I joined my mild ADHD with my hatred of losing and set the following rule: I would write 200 words, then accomplish some Unsavory Task (i.e., one that was housework-related). Once the Unsavory Task was accomplished, I had to sit my fat butt down and write 200 more words, then it was time for another Unsavory Task, and so on.

Astoundingly enough, it worked! The first day I tried it, I ended up with 4,000 words! The following weekend, I had a 5,000-word day! For me, that kind of speed is well nigh unbelievable!

More importantly, however, the 200-word trick got me through the I-can't-imagine-WHY-I-ever-thought-this-story-was-so-cool doldrums and delivered several brain-popping Story Epiphanies.

It really seems to work for me, and I think part of the reason it does is because 200 words is about as much as I can write before a kid needs desperately something. Cool, huh?

Now. If I could just get The Husband to stop practicing his #%@*&$# duck calls in the living room.... Can't have everything, I guess...

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