NaNo 11: Get Your Shit Together

Me, I’m a pantser at heart, but some preparation is key. Obviously. If you’ve been playing along at home, we’ve made a few million story bibles, we’ve got characters and badnesses and ideas and shit.

Do you know how you’re gonna write yet? Where?

Maybe this is a gimmee. You always write on the computer. First thing in the morning. Late at night. On your lunch break. On your smartphone at your kids soccer game. Sitting on the back doorstep, fag in hand, with a pen and paper.

That last one might be mine. For the Americans, a fag is a cigarette, and for those of you with class, I have none. Bite me :)

Whatever. But if you’re like me, NaNo is less about the finished product than encouraging good writing habits. Generally by the time November rolls around I’m woefully out of the habit of writing every day. NaNo serves as a bloody great kick up the bum for me. When the only writing that gets done is on the back porch on a smoke break, when I care more about my blogs than my fiction, when that dream of being a real published author fades yet again into impossibility, NaNo puts my ass back in the chair and makes me write.

To help in that goal, I need the right tools. This year I’m handwriting, so I bought a special ring binder with ‘chapter’ dividers. I have ruled, punched paper and a clipboard to press on. I’m going to buy some more cool pens with an ink colour to suit every mood.

But I also need to know when and where I’m going to be writing.

When I’m writing on the computer its generally only late at night. Last year I’d sit down at 10pm and write solid till midnight, and that netted me about 2000 words. Definitely enough to make my target. Anything I did during the day was gravy.

This year I’m aiming for a more holistic and yet casual approach. I’ll always have my clipboard with me, and as long as I fill 5 pages a day, I’ll stay on track. This will allow me to write in short bursts rather than long hauls, which really is a more natural way for me to work.

As for where… well the reason I write on the back doorstep and late at night is because I live in a very small house with two kids, an enormous puppy, and a very opinionated husband with no respect for my need for concentration :) Its a very very noisy and distracting environment! When my daughter is at school and hubby is at work I can sometimes tune out at the kitchen table because it is just Mr3, me, and the dog.

But only sometimes. Hubby works shifts, so he’s home more days than not, and my little girl is the quietest in the house next to me.

So when I am not the main child carer I plug my ears in and drown out the noise with my playlist of choice. Problem is, if I’m sitting on the couch or at the kitchen table I’m fair game for Mr3. ‘I want get up, Mummy.’

Not so good for writing ;)

So this year, to avoid smoking too much, I’m planning to spend some time in hubby’s man-shed when he can watch the kids. It’s set up with couches and a stereo, and if I rearrange some stuff I might even be able to carve out a little office space out there.

My real office, and where i wrote most of my NaNo words last year, is in the corner of our bedroom. I’ll give that a tidy up, too, for when i need to be a little more available.

What are you doing to get your shit together for NaNo?

ETA: Just to be a little different this time, I wrote this blog post on my smartphone, sitting on the back step with fag in hand. Still no class ;) Also, between writing and posting this, I went out to hubby’s man-shed and carved me out some office space. The hum of the freezer is surprisingly good for concentration O.o

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2 responses to “NaNo 11: Get Your Shit Together

  • Rachel (@Stitch_cat)

    The plan: dining room table, on the iMac while the kids are at school – I get 3 clear hours. Reality? Who the hell knows how it will pan out lol!

    I am even less classy than you – I stand at the side of the house, next to the trash cans, while smoking :D

  • Charli (Charlotte) (@CharliDenae)

    I read every word of your blog posts and thank you for all of the writing tips and tricks. Motivation is a toughie for just about every writer… there’s always so much going on that it’s really easy to get off track. I’m setting up an office for myself in the family room (since the family uses the living room) using the desk we used to use for the desktop computer (before we all got laptops) and setting aside at least 2 hours per day to write while everyone else is out or asleep. I’m crossing my fingers that it works.

    P.S. I live in the U.S. and my mom calls cigarettes ‘fags’ also… it always cracked us kids up when we were younger – before we were ‘politically correct’. As for having ‘class’, it can be vastly over-rated. :D

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