November 6, 2012

sitting pretty thanks to accountability

Mr. Bingley is always lurking over my shoulder to keep me on task, judging
me if I stray. He'll judge you, too, if you don't get back to writing.
It's hard for me to be a lazy writer when I have a creeper for a cat. I swear to you, Mr. Bingley watches my every move, and a lot of the times he judges me. Oh, he loves me. I am his sun, his moon, his alpha, and omega. But the judgement is still there.

Where were you? What were you doing? Have you worked on your novel, today?

My Starbucks office.
Fortunately, this National Novel Writing Month is off to a good start, which means my answers are sure to appease my overlord.

"I was at (the library/coffee shop/cafe/kitchen table). I was writing. And yes. I surpassed my projected word count, thank you very much."

The first weekend of NaNoWriMo is usually the easiest and most exciting for us writers. I'm speaking in generalities of course -- some of you haven't started, but I'm sure your first few days will be the ones you get crazy good word counts on. We are all still excited about our projects and want to keep them alive.

For my part, this year I have decided to spend at least half an hour to two hours writing somewhere outside of my home every day. I tend to stay on task better when I go somewhere with a clear mission, and I want to make my time count. All too often I sit at my computer here at home and look up Ryan Gosling memes.

My Panera office.
This past weekend, I also had a few other projects on my plate. I finished up edits on my first NaNoWriMo book and sent it to an editor. I transcribed notes for a friend. I also had a Halloween party, a friend visiting from out of town and cocktails with another friend who I hadn't seen in a while. Oh, and I also watched the Huskers win last minute and led my Fantasy Football team to victory.

How did I do it? By making the time.

I woke up early Friday morning to do my word count, because I knew I had dinner and drinks with my friend from out of town. Word count met.

Saturday, I woke up early again (6:30!). I gave an hour to my novel then spent two hours editing at Starbucks then another three at the library.

My library office
I took a break for NU football and put together my costume. It was a success. But I also made a decision not to have more than one drink at the Halloween party, and I left by 11 p.m. Knowing I had an extra hour thanks to Daylight's Savings, I wrote for an hour or two before bed.

Sunday, I went to Panera for breakfast and crammed in a bit of writing for two hours. I also had a delicious breakfast and coffee while I did it. I came home to do the transcriptions, watched football, met my friend for a drink and even had time to try on about 20 different outfits my mom brought me from her toss pile.

While I was not able to put up huge word count numbers over the weekend, I stayed alive, and I was happy. It made me motivated enough to wake up early yesterday and today to write before work; to take my notebook and write during lunch; to leave my house after I got home last night and spend a couple of hours in serious writing at the library.

Lady Magnum P.I. says
you can do it.
What I am getting at with all of this is writing a novel is possible if you make the time for it. You have to know what works best for you, which will take some trial and error. Once you know your best practices, use them and find ways to keep them fresh.

With that, I'll leave you with this final thought. Today is Election Day in the U.S., and one of my first thoughts when I woke up was about how excited I am to vote. After that, I thought about the suffragettes who worked hard for years to give me the right to be excited to vote. They gave up personal time, stood their ground and most of all were incredibly brave.

If you want to make your NaNoWriMo books a success, think like the suffragettes. Be willing to give up some of your nap time. Believe in your story and its right to be told. And always be brave.

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