NaNoWriMo Triage

Oh, boy. Only 8,561 words in. To keep to my schedule, I need to be at 22,500 words by midnight on Saturday. Things were going so well, what happened?!

Life happened. A few too many days where other projects took priority. A few too many days of not having enough time in one go to really dig in. Because if I don’t have at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted writing time, it’s not worth it. Ideas form and then breakdown. I spend more time catching up on where I left off and getting into the groove than actually being in the groove.

At first I was chill about it. Last week I figured that I’d spend a good chunk of time on Saturday meeting that week’s word count. That’s why I didn’t factor weekends in to my original goals, so I’d have some cushion. But my body had different ideas for Saturday. And Sunday. It demanded rest. Lots of sleep, lounging on the couch, and staying off the computer.

Monday I still wasn’t panicking as I got an hour of writing time in. But now, I’m heading into the third day of a dry spell. It’s not dry in the way of ideas or disinterest; I’ve been thinking about my story a lot. I’ve been working on a vision board for it and spending more time with the characters. What’s dry is my word count, and the distance from 8,561 to 22,500 is looking mighty long right now. It’s time for some NaNoWriMo triage.

Step One: Just the facts, please.

Words needed: 13,939

Conservative estimate of words I can write per hour: 1,000.

Hours needed: 14

Step Two: Freak out.

Hahahahahahahahaha. Fourteen hours in three days! Yeah, right! Even if I can make the time, what’s to say I’ll have the stamina for that much writing? What if my fingers freeze up or my brain turns to mush? I’m already dealing with a painful spasm in my upper back. I also have a business to run and a house to keep clean. I would also like to keep myself clean. This is not going to happen. There’s just no way. I might as well give up now and wait until next year, when I will be 100% prepared and ready for action.

Step Three: Deep breath.

Step Four: Another, even deeper breath.

Step Five: What is true?

I had to let my monsters have their say, but now my Wiser Self gets a turn.

It is true that 14,000 words will probably take 10-14 hours.

I do not know what my stamina is like as I’ve never done this before.

Marathon writing sprints are part of the NaNoWriMo culture.

Writing will distract me from the pain (personal as well as scientific studies confirm this).

I can spend most of Friday and a few hours of Saturday on this.

I’m kind of looking forward to the challenge.

Step Six: Set an intention.

I will write at least 14,000 words by noon on Saturday with ease and joy.

Step Seven: The Plan

Today: Close the gap to 10,000 words (one hour).

Tomorrow: Write in one- to two-hour blocks of time, taking short stretch breaks every 30 minutes and a longer break every two. Goal: nine hours.

Saturday: Evaluate and finish writing:  four hours.

Step Eight: Rewards

I’m going to come up with mini rewards for every 5,000 or so words.

Friday night, if I finish by eight pm, I’m going to have some spiked hot cocoa and read a good (fiction) book for as long as my eyes will stay open.

Saturday I’m picking my nephew up around two pm and we’re hanging out until the next day. For some this may seem more punishment than reward but I have a lot of fun with Dominic. On the agenda: going to the park, ordering pizza, watching movies, and being as silly as possible.

Hopefully I live to tell you how it went. For up-to-the-minute progress reports, join me on Facebook.

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What are your tactics for reining in a project that’s gotten a tad behind?

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