Manic Monday: My Experience with NaNo

Winter Wonderland from RGB stock
NaNo for those who don't know is National Novel Writing Month and November is the month where many authors including myself try to finish a novel in you guessed it, a month. I've gotten close, but I've never quite finished a novel in a month using NaNo. I love the idea of it, but staying on task when you have a day job with a lot of overtime during the holiday season makes it tough. I work in a busy hospital OR during the day and October through February tends to be our busiest time of year since most people have satisfied their deductible by this time and are trying to get any necessary surgeries out of the way before they have to start from ground zero deductible wise.

A few things that I've found to be helpful in staying on task with NaNo are the following:

1. Get up a little earlier in the morning and write 1000+ words. Or I write when I have breaks. I don't try and have great swaths of writing time. For one thing it's not realistic and for another I hate it when I have hours and hours to write and then I can't write. I do better with short bursts of writing.

2. Play some kind music softly in the background, preferably without words. Listening to music with words I understand just takes my attention away from my writing so I tend to either listen to music without words, or if it does have words, words I don't understand. That way my attention doesn't easily become focused elsewhere.

3. Just write. I don't go back and read or edit anything I've written previously. This is hard especially if you can't remember precisely where you left off. In that case, I might read a few of the previous paragraphs just to get me started, but no more.

4. I make sure I get plenty of rest. One of the things that will easily kill my ability to write effectively is not getting enough rest. I can do it once, but if it becomes consistent I make a lot more mistakes and man do my stories take weird turns when I'm sleep deprived. When I'm tired they go places I never would have taken them!

So, there you have it. What I do to stay on task during NaNo.