Destroying the Distractions, NaNo and Thanksgiving
Gotta eat, gotta write, gotta do face-to-face time with the family. What’s a WriMo (someone who participates in NaNoWriMo) to do?
If you’ve been able to write every day, you’re probably pretty set for a day off to enjoy family and friends, but what if it’s YOUR house everyone comes to AND you are an avid Black Friday shopper? How can you possibly keep working on your NaNo word count AND do all the things?
It’s impossible you think.
Wrong. It is possible and I’ll show you how…
No, you don’t have to be an early bird to catch this worm. It’s simply saying that you can start your cooking early, prep those things that can keep for a few days and taste just as good and fresh when you bake them. You know, things like green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, homemade mac n cheese, and don’t forget to pull out the turkey and hams for thawing!
You can also set your alarm to rise earlier and spend some alone time with your words. This will come into play more on Thanksgiving Day than any other day. In my personal experience, if you are the host, you’ll need to start earlier because you will be too exhausted to do it later.
I mentioned food prep earlier (and made you drool, didn’t I? I can already feel the calories piling on!) but this also applies to your story. Take a few minutes each day as often as you need to and prep for your next writing session.
- Bookmark where you left off so you can easily find your place
- Make a few notes to keep your story going and avoid the block at the end of each session. You don’t have to write a full scene, just a note to yourself that it’s so and so doing what and when.
- Print out that last chapter and read it to yourself before you go to sleep. You may or may not remember what you dream, but when it comes time to write, your muse will be ready.
- Stick post-it notes all over your kitchen. Review them while you cook. This helps keep your story strong in your mind, even if you get overwhelmed and exhausted with all the holiday prep.
If you don’t find the time to write on Thanksgiving, at least the next time you do sit down to write, you’ll be in better shape to transition smoothly back into your story.
Use an App
Those Black Friday lines are long! Instead of reading that magazine while you wait in line, use an app and write instead. A couple of easy apps to use no matter what operating system you have are Evernote and Google Docs. If you uploaded your word doc to Google Drive and set it up for offline editing, you can easily keep working on your story. Evernote works offline and can really come in handy when you need to make notes. It’s definitely better than using your built-in notepad. For more handy NaNo tools, check out my post here.
(Apps also come in handy for Thanksgiving dinner bathroom breaks. Write while nature takes its course.)
Use a Voice Recorder
Write while you baste your turkey, mash your potatoes, and whip up that salad. Technology has provided so many options for speech to text, you should definitely take advantage. You can even turn your microphone on and voice text straight into your Google doc. How convenient is that?
Do a Word Sprint or Two
As you wait for the oven to ding, when the kids are quiet, or the family naps in the recliner with full bellies, take a moment and participate in a word sprint. Even if you don’t make the full word count, it helps towards the goal. Word sprints also have a way of centering your mind for writing, especially if you’re an author who works best under pressure. TD McIntosh actually offered a great article on the advantages of word sprints (and even some places to find them) and how to get one going as part of last week’s NaNo cheering committee.
This is probably the most important thing of all. Holidays are stressful enough. Don’t pile on the stress if you just can’t find a moment to write over the Thanksgiving break. Sure, your word count will suffer, but if you’ve followed any of the steps Heidi Angell listed or taken my advice to give yourself a little plan, you’ll be okay. The more you can write and get ahead now, the less painful it will be to reach the finish line. If you do find yourself in a NaNo induced anxiety attack, just breathe and take a minute to review J.K. Allen’s “10 Ways to Fight Off Writer’s Anxiety.” Breathe some more. Have a little faith in yourself. You got this.
Did you know food is good for your muse? Stuff yourself. Enjoy your friends and family, and even nibble while you write. Turn your recorder on and catch conversations. You never know what may produce inspiration and add a much needed twist to your story.
Stephanie Ayers is the author of The 13: Tales of Illusory, a collection of short stories. She is also the Executive Creative Director of OWS Ink, LLC, a child and furbaby wrangler, and loves all things fantasy. You can read her blog here.
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